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?