Here in New York State, we have a new teacher evaluation plan commonly know as APPR. 20-25% of my evaluation is based on a state standardized test. We all know how well those are put together with wonderful stories of pineapples challenging hares to races. I’ve written about that before.
The next 15-20% is based on two district assessments ( pre and post) that must be approved by the state and the last 60% is based on a combination of observations and evidence provided by me.
Today, I had to administer the district assessment to my 5th grade class and yes, there was a pineapple question! Our district chose the Star Assessments provided by Renaissance Learning.
The question was based on the “Pineapple Poem” yet the answer had nothing to do with pineapples. The question was to pick what the author meant by a sleeping palm tree. The correct answer was the palm tree was drooping and swaying as it was about to fall asleep! Ever see a drooping palm tree? Do you think it would be too much trouble to include those details in the poem? Does a kid from the Northeast know what a drooping palm tree looks like? Personally all the palm trees I have ever seen, stand majestically up right.
Another question asked them, “How does the rhetorical question in the passage support the author’s purpose to persuade?” My concern is that ‘rhetorical’ is not a typical 5th grade literary term, and that it’s not in the Common Core. These are two of many poorly worded and very difficult questions my class suffered through.
Since this is a pre-test you may be thinking what I thought at first. No problem, they do poorly now and I’ll work hard and they’ll do better in the Spring when they take the post test. Growth is in the bag,, yahoo!
Well hold on cowboy!
Since most questions had only 3 answers to choose from, each question had a 33.3% probability of being correct no matter what the student chose!
Upon review of my class’ scores, my lowest student ,who receives reading support and scored “not proficient” in last Spring’s state exam, turned in one of the highest scores in my class! He was the first one done, obviously not reading the questions. Three other students also scored better than they did on the state exam, one was rated at reading at the 11+ grade level.
So since my evaluation is based on their growth as shown on these exams, it looks like I doomed!
So how do you grow this?