Monday, May 13, 2013

Teachers, Targets, and Test Scores!

My stomach is in knots and I want to scream.
I want to hit something.
I look at my students' test scores, the growth they have made,and I am proud of them.
I refused to teach to the test, and they still kicked DCAS !

I looked down the AYP column on the all-glorious data chart, and saw that some of my students grew by over 100 points. Only two of my students did not show "growth".

Then I look across at the column marked "Target".
That's when I wanted to scream and hit.
The target that they had to meet in order to prove that I was an effective teacher.
Not many of them met the Target. Many of them missed by a few points.
Doesn't matter, they didn't hit the bulls-eye.

A couple of months ago, my team and I called DOE to find out how these targets were determined.
We were told someone would get back to us.
Still waiting.

So now, next week,I have to sit in front of my principal and justify whether or not I am an effective teacher.
Welcome to Component V.
What is it,and how does it work, you ask?
Truthfully, no one knows.
I am not being facetious, no one knows.
The line is, "We're learning this just like you are."
All good and well, but your salary, your reputation, is not tied to it like mine.

 Here's a sample question I will have to answer: Did your target(s) lead to strengthened professional performance and improved student learning? To what extent? What evidence do you have to support your conclusions?

How will I answer that question? Honestly. Those targets didn't have a thing to do with how and what I taught in my classroom. The only target I aimed for was the ability to teach my students to be independent, critical thinkers. And while I had my eye on the bulls-eye,  they also learned how to problem solve, gained a love of books, wrote for an authentic audience, honed their Geography skills (Mystery Skype),opened their minds, used social media as a learning tool, I can go on...

I did my job, and I hit that target dead on. And test scores didn't have a thing to do with it!


  1. Although I miss my students every day, I thank my lucky stars that I was able to retire and am no longer subject to the irrational demands and nonsensical and seemingly non-stop testing that are so prevalent in education today. My heart goes out to those incredible teachers who are are staying true to our profession and striving to provide our children the type of education they need and deserve.

  2. Thank you for following your heart. If more of us did this, the world would be a better more educated place!

  3. We get to do this in Ohio next year. I can't wait... not.

  4. We'll be getting it in FL next fall, as well. We were shown the "mathematical equation" DOE hired someone to write/use in order to determine how much gain each individual student was supposed to make. When we asked to be let in on what the individual student targets were, we were told basically by DOE "None of your business--it doesn't matter" In other words, we were to push them (students) as hard as we can to excel. We have no idea what goal we're pushing them towards, and if they don't reach this invisible goal, it goes against our annual eval.

    1. Whatever happened to transparency in assessment. We show our students the target they need to hit and how their success will be measured. Why would we not do the same thing with our teachers. The bureaucratrization of education seems to be the greatest ailment that we face. When those too long out of or having never been in a classroom attempt to micromanage the way we perform one of the most important, and difficult jobs in the world.