Teacher Value Added

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by darkangel, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. darkangel

    darkangel Companion

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    Dec 16, 2008

    I teach in new york and my principal is making appointments to meet with each of our teachers to explain what thier value is based on their students test scores from the past two years. I thought this got voted down. This idea of deciding how good a teacher is based on thier test scores to me seems to have so many flaws. I never thought it would go through. Does this already happen in other areas? Thoughts?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If you based my worth/value on my student's test scores I wouldn't be very effective at all (although we don't have standardized testing here like you do in the States). I base my value on the fact that my students are now asking me to help them improve their work, are making wise decisions (most of the time) about their work habits and effort, are able to be good citizens of the school, and are making academic gains.
     
  4. SouperTeach

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    I live in Texas and haven't seen this happen, yet (although it is my first year). I would be a little nervous about my value since I teach Special Ed and most of my kids have to take a grade level test. I agree that the system would have tons of flaws. Its not as if every classroom starts off with the same kids and even footing at the beginning of the year. There's no way for this kind of system to take all the variables into account.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oooh ! I have come to loathe the words "value-added" ! Added to what?

    Our district has been using this system for several years. There are complicated charts and graphs and explanations - but yes, it ultimately comes down to student test scores deciding your "value" as a teacher. I know there are many different systems- here they do track the child to see if they made progress from year to year. However that is impossible in the grade levels that do not test and certainly puts more pressure on the ones that do. Good luck with that!
     
  6. MSMath29

    MSMath29 Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2008

    Value added

    I think this topic is really a loaded gun. Non educators think its perfectly acceptable to judge a teacher by how much a student's test scores have improved. The problem is that in order to get an accurate representation students need to be evaluated using other methods than just standardized testing. Also students would need to be evaluated far more often.

    Ill be entering student teaching next semester but I worked before as an engineering/architecture recruiter where half of my pay was based on performance. My performance was evaluated every 3 months but in education they only evaluate from my experience 2 times a year but not every year which is not nearly enough. Our staffing office also had a portion of our incentives come from how we did as an office. Team based merit pay is where Id like to see education go but so far from what Ive read administrators are fixated on individual merit pay which is loaded with flaws. Number one that comes to mind is it punishes teachers who have new students who had either bad last year teachers or are new to the state,district, etc. If teachers were evaluated as a building instead of individually than teachers of non-testing years would have an incentive to go that extra mile to prepare their students for the next teacher.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I don't think it's that administrators alone are fixated on individual merit pay: I think many teachers are fixated on it, from the conviction that either their peers will drag them down otherwise or that teachers whose kids are in grades that don't get tested have no incentive to work hard and therefore have no right to any merit money. (These viewpoints have been expressed here on A to Z, though perhaps not quite so baldly.) Your proposal, therefore, will encounter a great deal of resistance. Any proposal will encounter a great deal of resistance, I think, unless someone can come up with something in which nobody totally loses and nobody totally wins. And I'm afraid I have no idea who combines enough interest in education with enough disinterestness (in the judicial sense) in the sides plus sufficient... well, "street cred" to keep all sides at the table long enough to broker such a thing.
     
  8. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    In the state of California as far as I know they can not use the test scores to evaluate the teachers. You might look into your state education codes.
     
  9. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    I teach in New York City also, and our principal had a faculty conference last week on the Value Added agenda. Its horrible. And he thinks so too.

    Superintendents and the like were given a meeting on this, and he shared the powerpoint presentation with us.

    It will get good reviews from people who are not educators, as the formula for value added "takes into account" things such as ELL status, income, race, attendance, etc.

    Its a horrible idea to judge teachers performance on their children's test scores, and any educator knows this.

    Time to find another field???
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nope. Time to live with the imperfections in this field, and try to change the things that are wrong.

    Merit Pay, like every other educational fad, will soon be replaced by the next hot new idea.
     
  11. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    Alice, I wouldn't think of leaving, in reality.

    Also, I wanted to add that another reason why the general public will look at it as a good idea is because they are touting it as something positive... a way to zero in on good teachers and their good practices... rather than a way to target bad teachers.

    But we all know that that reeks of something fishy.
     
  12. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Yes,I teach in good old NY,where the teaches test scores in reading and math over a three year period will be evaluated and compared with other teachers in their own school and schools with similar student population. A fortune has been spent on this ridiculous idea in a state which is forecasting major cuts in education for next year.Read the idea again.Does this really evaluate a teacher's ability?.Can we really compare one years class to another? What about the other subjects, or should they just be ignored?
    As union rep I mentioned this to my AP yesterday and was told that's the way it is and I just have to accept it and get rid of my bad attitude.The only one losing out in our test crazy school system are the children. Sorry this just hit a nerve that was already about to explode.
     
  13. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Actually my district in Texas has been making a "value-added" type calculation for the past 6 years. Students who miss more than 20 days are "left out" of the equation, and many other factors are used. A student who makes one years growth (norm) means the teacher is a "3." More than 12 months to 24 -- "4" for teacher and 2 or more years of growth gives the teacher a rating of a "5." Master teachers are those earning 4s adn 5s. I personally don't have a problem with the system. As a parent, I want to know if prior students in a specific teacher's classroom made growth. I certainly would want to know if students lost ground. It's interesting, the teachers in our building who were confident in their teaching all scored 3-5s, and the "weaker" teachers scored 1-2. I have a mixture of students -- special education, LEP, regular ed, and GT. My CEIs have all been 4s and 5s. I don 't worry about testing. I teach my students everyday, including the day before a holiday as it is a school day. I spend hours during the summer trying to find books and activities to engage even the most reluctant reader. I practice ongoing assessment so that I know the abilities of each student I have.

    The long and short of it is that "bad" teachers need to be out of the classroom. If they can't reach children, then they must change. I have high standards for my students and consequences for not trying. Yes, I spend time after school that isn't compensated holding "homework" detention for those students who aren't yet onboard. The beginning of school is always the roughest, because many students have gotten used to not completing assignments and just being given lower grades. I meet with parents and have students stay after -- actually until 5:00. It only takes about 4 weeks to make believers of the vast majorities of my 7th & 8th graders. The last couple of stragglers get conferences with parents, counselors, teacher, and administrators to determine how they are going to be successful. My students track their progress/profile themselves throughout the year. For many, it is the first time they have been held responsible for their own learning -- at least that is what they tell me when the year is over and they've had more success than in the past.

    Not all my students "pass" the state test. It is almost impossible to bring students up 4 years in 1 year, but they show great growth. I get the behavior students -- gang members, wannabes, students with issues, etc. I try to keep my 7th graders as they advance to 8th because it gives me two years to help reinforce they can be successful. I also follow my students' progress in high school. Most of this is on my own time -- the district doesn't compensate me, but I feel that once my student, always my student. Not all of my students have had success, but in a district with a 50% dropout rate, so far in 5 complete years of teaching, I've only "lost" about 7% to prison, pregnancy, or death.

    For those of you that don't want teachers to be judged, are you willing to put the future of your child in the hands of a teacher that is substandard?
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Amen!!!

    I don't know whether or not Merit Pay is the answer.

    But I think I'm a GOOD teacher. And I have no problems being observed, announced or unannounced... stand outside in the hall and listen to what goes on, then write it up if you want.

    I'll take whatever math test you want to throw at me, and my kids will do what they need to do as well.

    There are a LOT of teachers out there who can't seem to stand any sort of scrutiny. Some don't know their material. Some can't get the respect of a class. Some simply don't care. Some don't like kids.

    I don't want them teaching my kids, or my future doctor or lawyer or accountant. I don't want my neighbor's kids to drop out of school after having been victimized by too many bad teachers... it's bad for the neighbors, for my property values, and for the society of which I am a part.
     
  15. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    I completely agree that teachers have a big influence on how well students do. In fact some research my P showed us (I'd have to look it up if anyone is interested, but I feel confidant it is good research) shows that students with an ineffective teacher will increase their knowledge by about 10% whereas a highly effective teacher by drastically more (so even if we are awful the kids will get a bit better).

    However, I don't think merit pay and testing is the way to go. Some days I think I'm an awful teacher. It isn't because I am objectively bad. Objectively I know I am quite good for a 4th year teacher, but I know I have SOOO much to improve upon. Sometimes trying new things is scarey. It is scarier if you know that if your kids test scores are looming. I tell my P if I think I suck at something knowing that her evaluation is designed TO WORK WITH ME to MAKE ME BETTER. She will be on my side as long as my goal is to improve. I think the bad teachers leave anyway. A lot of teachers in Ontario (I think it is 20% or so) leave in their first 5 years. Most people who are bad at something don't want to keep doing something badly.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  16. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Research I've seen says that it takes three (3) school years for a student to make-up the loss from only one year of ineffective teaching. What about students who have two years of "bad/ineffective" teaching? I'd like to see research into the competency of the teachers of "drop-outs." Are some students doomed to failure because of "bad" teachers and the fact that their parent(s)/guardian(s) don't know enough to complain?

    So a "bad" teacher leaves after three years. What about the students that were unfortunate to have that individual as a teacher? In my opinion, there is too much "protection" of so-called teachers who actually cause harm to the intellect of our childfren.

    If I remember correctly, you've posted before that there are NOT many public schools in Canada. (Feel free to correct me if that wasn't your post.) That is not the case in the U.S. - private schooling is for the most part, very expensive and pulic schools abound. My husband and I made a choice to put our children in the best educational setting and in our case, that meant private school to the tune of approximately $160,000 per child for their first 12 years of education. Those are post-tax dollars and don't include the 1000's of dollars we have paid yearly paid in school taxes to support the public school system.

    I'm not saying that merit pay is the answer, but I do know that incompetent teachers need to be out of the classroom and not protected by anyone or any organization.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm haven't seen the post you are referring to, but I am in Canada as well and the public schools are the norm here. Our public school system is somewhat different as our Catholic schools are also publicly funded, so Catholic parents usually have the option of 2 local schools for their children to attend. Private schools here are also quite expensive.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    But apparently a lot don't know that they're doing it badly. They assume that every bad write up is a vendetta, and that every parental complaint is political. Competency testing is unfair and biased. Kids don't behave for them not because of a lack of control, but because of incompetant administrators or poor parenting.

    I'm not saying that none of those factors come into play, just that, perhaps sometimes it IS the teacher.
     
  19. darkangel

    darkangel Companion

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    I work at a school where we don't get very many resources and the teachers do not collaborate at all. I love my students though but if I am going to be judged this way it makes me want to work at a school that has more resources for kids, parents and teachers or at least a school that has a more team like atmosphere. I am still relatively new to New York and learning the curriculum. I work my butt off and know I would probaly grow even faster under a better working environment.
     
  20. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I got my B.S. from a NY school and after learning what a NY teacher has to go through, I knew I never wanted to teach there. In my high school setting of student teaching, I asked the teacher if I could spend 1 day doing a cool mini-lesson on something: she said no way, no time, have to stick to what the Regents want them to teach. :( I was totally bummed!

    This teacher "value" thing is crap--- testing scores honestly mean zip and a state that is so "advanced" in its Education Dept should realize that. And it makes a complete mockery of what it means to education a student.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Your cooperating teacher was an idiot.

    The bar the Regents sets is NOT all THAT high. There's time to deviate from the syllabus.

    She just chose not to.
     
  22. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Well I got the same "advice" from other NY educators--- I think what also was a pain was this was an AP biology course for freshman. She was not only preparing them for the Regent test but also the AP test.

    I'm not saying its right, but after hearing about the issues with Regents from a number of people at my University and then seeing it in action during student teaching, it left a bad taste with me.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ok, so they have high school freshmen taking a course meant for college freshmen??? Fourteen year olds taking a college class??

    Your issue wasn't with the Regents, it was with a school that thought it was appropriate for fourteen year olds to be doing college work.

    I'm not a big fan of the Regents either, because I think they set the bar too LOW.
     
  24. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Well these were the top freshman who tested into the AP biology course. I would say 98% of them were doing completely fine in it actually, which made me very happy to see since I love biology and I hope that more students persue the science in their professions.

    Like I said, it wasn't just this teacher that made me think that NY's Regents focus just on the curriculum and not truly building the mind of students. I guess put like that it does make the Regents put the bar too low and I'm sure there are teachers out there that don't follow the curriculum to the T.

    Still for me teaching in NY based on what I've seen, been told, is just not an option.
     
  25. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    I'm sorry I have seen too many students whose test scores are much higher than their actual ability.I have seen students do poorly with good teachers because neither the student nor the parent cares.I have seen too many teaching periods wasted on practice tests.I have seen too much emphasis placed on teaching for the test rather than teaching for the future needs of our children.It should not be test results that totally determine a teacher's ability and it should not take administers evaluating the test results to determine an effective teacher in the classroom.
     
  26. mrstchr

    mrstchr Rookie

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    While I am not in NY, we are not allowed to deviate from the set curriculum and pacing guides. We must be at a certain point by a certain date, no if, ands, or buts. That means there is not time to go back or to spend time on things that interest the kids.

    Also, I am not allowed to keep kids after school, there is no detention, no ISS, no real consequences for them or their parents.

    How is merit pay ok for this?

    Ps...since I am a rebel I do sometimes do alternate activities to engage my students.:eek:
     
  27. elizak83

    elizak83 Companion

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    I'm not totally opposed to some kind of merit pay..but for it to be based solely on a test is ridiculous. I have 9 kids in my 5th grade class who have IEPs. (I have 31 kids in my class total.) Out of those 9 kids 5 of them are LEP (limited english proficiency.) Admin is aware that some of those kids are not going to get great scores, but I try my best to push them to suceed. My team is setting up before/ after school tutoring for these students (unpaid.) I think merit pay should be based on your teaching career as a whole...not just test scores. There are plenty of bad teachers that I know that have alot of very bright students...so basically they would get more in merit pay even though they don't care and leave at 4 pm everyday and never have any innovative lessons. Just because those students are good at tests. :(
    Just my 2 cents:)
     
  28. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    I still think that working towards positive goals leads to much more movement in a postive direction than negative goals. Stressed out teachers who are concerend about grades as opposed to teachers who are focused on students is not going to improve education.

    I think promoting people who aren't "yes people" but who actually are willing to think outside the box on differentiated instruction, A & E, etc is what is needed to improve schools - not grading teachers.

    Also as far as that goes I think encouraging everyone to set goals and excel rather than creating a competitive environment leads to better growth within a school or a company. I also sell kitchen tools part time for fun and I do pretty well at it but my goals are always in relation to MYSELF rather than other people on my team.
     
  29. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    The "value-added" system I've seen looks at where the students were when they entered your class (last year's scores) and where they were when the left (spring testing). Over 50% of my students are LEP although they've been in the country more than 3 years, they still are acquiring academic English. The concept behind "value-added" is that the students grew while under your care/teaching.

    I'm fortunate that administration supports me in my teaching endeavors or I'd be gone. While I follow the TEKS (ideas we are to be teaching) I don't use the district supplied textbooks much, if any at all. I use literature -- these are 7th and 8th graders and shouldn't be reading basil readers. They need low readability, high interest books that encourage them to read.
    When I have "difficult" parents, they send home "Student can't return to school until you appear for a conference" letters. Boy, that gets them in the door.

    I agree, it takes the right campus environment. Teachers must support teachers and the campus leadership team must take an active role. I have one period a day that I'm in other classrooms, team teaching, observing, assisting, etc. This is not part of the teachers' formal evaluation. In fact, all the CILT team members have this "helping" period built into their schedule. I may spend one week in a specific teacher's classroom if I think assistance is needed. We do not report to the principal but to each other. My strengths are environment (think interactive word walls), criteria/rubric charts, small groups, and classroom management. Teachers needing assistance can ask for our help. We are definitely a team. We are only as strong as are weakest link.

    I'll admit that not all teacher's like having others in their room. Too bad! That is the environment on our campus. We do what is best for our students, that's the bottom line.
     
  30. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I do not work in a community that has merit pay or value added. It seems though that the quality of the school overall would effect the quality of the teaching. I also notice that merit pay is based on scores so often; yet there is no way for the lower grade teachers or teachers of children with severe disabilities to earn the extra pay. That seems unfair to me. If a person works in a wealthier area the scores are higher in general so the teachers get merit pay for working in an easier environment.
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    EMonkey, would you disagree with a system like the one DallasTeacher outlines in the first paragraph of post #28 that looks at not just a given year's scores but the kids' progress from last year to this?
     
  32. teach2nd

    teach2nd New Member

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    I think this is absolutely ridiculous! You can't base value on test scores alone. If it's anything like it is at my school (which I'm sure it is)...it's the luck of the draw. Last year I was dealt a pretty bad hand let me say...and I had students passed on to my class that shouldn't have been and you have the students that don't care about school at all. You also have the parents that don't care also. Why should this all fall on the teacher? Not to mention politics in school where teachers choose some of their own students (the best) because they want a good class. Good luck...I wouldn't settle for it. I would probably quit if it got to this point here.
     
  33. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I have mixed views on Value added-at least with how it was explained to us in our district. For an urban district, value added can be an effective tool for those students who don't perform well on tests, yet have made progress throughout the year. However, as a tool for merit pay-it is all wrong. I am a good teacher, and have no problem being observed as well. Yet, I can't MAKE a child learn. I can give them the tools, and the knowledge, but they have to want it. They have to want to absorb it. I have a very challenging class this year. They do not get along, and are so unmotivated that they actually depress me. If I knew I would be given merit pay for my class performance, I would be looking for another profession. The thought has crossed my mind.
    My biggest argument has always been-when are the parents going to be held accountable? I cannot do it all in 7 hours of the day. I have heard excuse after excuse, and being a parent myself, I know it takes work on my part to make sure my child has a good education. The phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" is overrated. The parents I work with use it as an excuse for me to do all of the work, and they can whine "but I am a working parent!" Well, what am I????
    I hope with new leadership in this country, we can straighten our priorities out.
     
  34. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Dec 27, 2008

    I am a NY teacher who has attended a few NY State Ed. meetings re. "Value Added" education/ testing. I am under the impression that this is a federal mandate that all states must eventually implement. I also see it as useful for any of us with struggling special education students because, as long as they are making progress, they are documented in a positive light (compared to the current documentation). Am I wrong?
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    This is where I think the discrepancy lies. I would also have no problem being evaluated, portfolios being evaluated, I would also take any test - that I believe, would be a measure of my teaching ability. However, taking my students' test scores, comparing them with those of other teachers on my campus and other schools - I don't believe is an accurate measure of my ability. I watch my students mark incorrect answers on things I know they have learned, simply because they are tired after 5 days of bubbling in answers for our testing that takes about 2 hours a day (they are 5 years old). This year I have a the majority of G/T kids on the campus in my class (my adminstration thinks I have innovative ideas for teaching the high kids). My scores will inevitably be better than the other teachers on my grade level - does that mean I'm a better teacher or that my students entered Kinder more prepared than the others, because my scores will be higher?

    I also work at a school with limited resources, nearly no real management or collaboration and in a low income area. If my scores are lower than the school in the same part of the district but that has more resources, better management, etc that makes me less of a teacher? I have no problem with evaluating teachers, but using only student test scores is simply not an accurate way to do it.:2cents:
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm pretty sure Alice meant that she expects her students to do acceptably on any reasonable test that's thrown at her classroom.

    One hears a great deal about all the ways in which evaluating teachers won't work. But how else can teachers be evaluated, except by the growth in knowledge that their students show during the course of the year? The trend toward more evaluation of teachers may slow, but it is unlikely to reverse significantly - there's way too much inertia behind it now, and the fact is that there ARE serious problems in schools that evaluation has helped uncover.

    I will say again what I have said before: if teachers don't like the way evaluation is trending, it's necessary to stop just claiming that it won't work. Unfortunately, that reaction is way too easy to dismiss as a copout (and the letters to the editor in my local newspaper regularly reflect precisely that dismissal). Instead, regular teachers need to work together to research, propose, and promote alternatives that are feasible and fairer. And I think the work needs to be done locally, because it's entirely possible that the alternatives that are feasible and fairer will differ from region to region or even from district to district - it is unlikely that there's a single approach that will fit every situation. Crucially, though, if teachers don't take a seat at this table, you can count on a result with which you'll be at least as unhappy as you are now.
     
  37. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Dec 29, 2008

    I have worked in situations where the teachers were trying to give insight into what would and would not work. Unfortunately the upper administration basically ignored the suggested solutions and emptied the schools of teachers (following NCLB). Please, don't suggest that teachers do not try and give suggestions and insight into more logical methods of supporting the children's learning or that teachers are not trying to "take a seat at the table".

    In California the state has been giving tests since I was a child. From my personal experience by sixth grade kids know the test means nothing so they will easily choose to take it or leave it. I stopped trying on state tests I didn't think were fun and did well on ones I liked because I realized it really didn't matter. How can a teacher be judged on something that has no buying power for the children?

    You asked if i thought Dallas' value added or whatever was better. It still has the same problem for teachers who do not give the state test. I noticed you work in California so you probably are aware the tests start in second or third grade in the majority of California school districts. I don't know what they are using to judge how the children have improved, if it is a one time test given yearly I still do not think it is reasonable. In the state of California the children tested at fifth grade level who were working at first grade level at the beginning of the year and third grade level by the end will still not show growth, the child would still be far below and have whole sections they won't be able to do at all in the test. The fifth grade math test would be too difficult for all third grade level children. So how would the child's growth be measured? It wouldn't be.
     
  38. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Dec 30, 2008

    Whatever happened to the idea of comparing a child's actual work at the begiining of the year, the middle and the end of the year..This is what a test should really measure,not compare a students progress or supposed progrress on one examination.Maybe we should use the same type of test three different times and see if the child improved from the beginning to the end.
     

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