Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Growth scores a formula for failure

Today I’m angry, disgusted, demoralized,and frustrated. I am also firmly resolved to fight back against the tsunami of junk ideology that all good educators face these days.

I received my ‘growth score’ today from the New York State Education Department.

I know,  I really shouldn’t care what my score is. I know 100% of my students tested at or above grade level in Math and English Language Arts.  I know my class’ scores were near or at the very top of my district’s scores. I know my district is also at or nearly at the top of the region’s and states’ scores. I know I work my heart out and push my students to excel. My students always, ALWAYS  succeed.

Yet according to the NYSED my growth score is so so. I’m rated effective with a growth score of 14 out of 20. Keep in mind, my student’s mean scale in math  is 708.4 and ELA it is 678.  I’m confident both scores are well above that state mean.

So why did I get a mediocre growth score?

The state’s explanation of it’s calculation should be a eye opener for all  of us. Check out this  junk math.

Here it is in a nutshell..

They compare your students with similar students and measure how your students do to these similar students. You are then graded based on how much better your students did  or how much ‘poorer’ your students did  than these other students. They look for the gap between your students and the representative group of similar students.

Here the flaw…

If the representative sample of student all do well, your ratings will be negatively affected, because your growth is based on only how much better your students did than the group. In other words they look for a gap between your students and the group.

We all know that this year scores went up for everyone.. so as they rise, individual teachers get lower ratings, because the gap doesn’t increase.  Sounds nuts doesn’t it? Goes against all the jargon about closing the gap.

It gets worse if you happen to have some high performing students in your class as well. Not much room for growth if you’re near the top, and your group is near the top. It’s a teacher’s advantage then to not take those high performing kids, It will hurt their growth scores.

My students did great, it’s a shame that NYS thinks they did so, so. Perhaps, if my students understood pineapples and hare races a little better, they could have correctly answered just 1 more question in that 6 hour marathon of testing correct, and all would be well.

We have a choice, we could  start practicing saying, “welcome to Walmart”, for our next career or fight back. What say you?

Single Post Navigation

9 thoughts on “Growth scores a formula for failure

  1. I didn’t mention, I looped with over 50% of my class. They did great last year as well. Another indicator that hurt me.

  2. Middle school teacher on said:

    I know how hurtful this can be. Please take heart by what you know in your heart is true…your care for your students and what you have taught them will be a lasting benefit to them individually and to society as a whole.

  3. How can I find out my own growth score? I’m sure I’ll be disappointed as well — Any educator knows the formula is stacked against our success!

  4. Last year in discussions with my raters, I was asked if I’d commit to a 5% improvement in passing the state test. I told them no. They patiently explained that my refusal could be listed as insubordination. I patiently explained to them that God and Nature and Einstein were on my side, and I would not commit to the impossible. They explained every teacher had to try harder.

    I explained to them that it’s impossible to improve 5% when 100% of your students pass the test.

    I got written up for insulting their math skills.

  5. stephaniedi on said:

    It’s political pandering and the public is eating it up. http://thejoyofteachingblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/appr-the-musical/
    I am no math genius but none of this adds up to me.

  6. stephaniedi on said:

    I didn’t even check on my growth score. I expect I will see it in the newspaper one of these days.

  7. Pingback: Why? | Opine I will

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: