“The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teachers become.”

I have been hearing about the new Student Learning Objectives from teachers statewide, including this note from a teacher in central Georgia:

I was wondering what you might be able to tell me about Student Learning Objectives or SLO’s (called “Slows” by the teachers).  I teach kindergarten and have never seen anything in my life that seems to be such a waste of time.  I understand why they are “needed,” but they take up to 10 days to administer at the beginning of the year, and then up to 10 days at the end of the year.  This is a total of 20 days basically wasted administering these tests.  And it’s not just in kindergarten, but all elementary grades (Pre-K through 5) for the Teacher Keys Evaluation System (TKES).

My kids come into kindergarten hardly knowing anything, and now I have to waste up to 20 days of valuable instruction time administering these tests so that there are “valid and reliable” tests to use with TKES to be sure I’m at least a “proficient’ educator. ” I guess our kids will continue to be tested to death, and now it will begin in Pre-K.

I asked DOE to respond to that comment and others from teachers stunned at the amount of time required by these new tests and dubious that the payoff will be worth the effort:

Here is what DOE said in response:

Student learning objectives (SLOs) are one measure of student growth and achievement incorporated in the Teacher and Leader Keys Effectiveness Systems that are currently being piloted and implemented by volunteer and Race to the Top districts in Georgia.  GaDOE provides training in the development and implementation of SLOs, as well as models for SLOs and the supporting pre- and post-assessments.  Districts may choose to adopt or customize the models provided by GaDOE in implementing SLOs in their schools, using a process established by GaDOE.  The SLO pre- and post-assessments are designed to provide educators with high quality, actionable feedback on their work to effectively and positively impact student learning and growth.  Knowing how individual students grow over the duration of a course, teachers are able to adjust instruction to meet the needs of students and increase learning.

We meet with SLO contacts from the Race to the Top districts on a regular basis, and some of the development and implementation challenges that you mention have already been discussed and addressed, while others will continue to be addressed throughout this first full implementation year.  The SLO Advisory Group will be meeting soon, as well, and will review and discuss concerns from the districts to provide GaDOE with input on effective strategies moving forward.  We will certainly continue to partner with all districts to develop and implement the most effective practices for measuring teacher impact on student learning and growth in the non-tested subjects.

This is new work, not only in our state but across the nation, and we are working very hard to research, pilot, refine, and implement the most effective strategies that will enable us to have a positive impact on student learning, growth, and achievement, as well as to ascertain the teacher’s impact on the same.  The aim is to develop and refine assessment strategies to inform more effective instruction and to help all students, at all levels of achievement, attain higher levels of growth and achievement.  We will continue to work with our district partners to implement more effectively.

Please feel free to share any ideas, suggestions, or concerns that you have as we work through this learning year with student learning objectives.  We welcome your input and will take it into careful consideration.

I am delighted to know that DOE wants feedback because here is some excellent feedback from teachers at a DeKalb high school.

I hope that the state RTT team looks at this letter and takes seriously the expressed concerns, as they are the exact ones being shared with me by teachers statewide:

Dear Superintendent Barge,

As teachers dedicated to our mission of educating young people, we have grave concerns about the current plans for the SLO tests. As currently structured and implemented, we are unwilling to administer the SLO tests for the following reasons:

1. The pre-test takes valuable class time away from learning, for a test that the students know they will do poorly on, and that they have no reason to even try to do well on.

2. Since the tests have not been prepared in a timely manner, we can not pretend we are administrating a test of “pre-knowledge” when students have been learning for over a month.

3. Since teachers will be evaluated on improvement, teachers also have no interest in the students performing well on the pre-test. Wishing for our students to do poorly runs counter to our ethical and professional standards. We refuse to bet against our students.

4. The students have no reason to do well on the post-test, given that it is not part of their grade or any other sort of personal evaluation. Again, teachers will be evaluated on a test for which the students have little or no motivation.

There are also many practical difficulties with current plans to administer the SLO tests.

5. The tests require an unreasonable amount of teacher time spent on printing, grading and scanning. For one teacher with 160 students, some tests require more than 700 pages to be printed, graded, and scanned. Every teacher in the system with tests is going to have to find the time, find the resources, and learn to administer tests and record the grades under a regimen that will be going away after one use, if we understand correctly. SLOs require an enormous outlay of material resources (paper, toner, equipment usage) that we simply do not have, and of teacher time that could be better spent helping to our students.

6. The short answer portions of the SLOs require teachers to grade subjectively, even with the provided rubric. Teachers will be inclined to grade for the benefit of the teacher rather than for the student. Grading for learning will not occur on the SLOs. Further, if our job performance is to be judged on test grades, it is illogical to do any form of subjective grading.

7. While we understand that test integrity is incredibly important, current plans are ridiculously onerous for teachers and administrators. For a test on which the students have no incentive to cheat, and one where the students will already have seen the questions when they come to take the post-test, the labor involved seems unnecessary and wasteful.

As teachers, we must believe that classroom activities and content add value to our students’ learning, as well as to their futures. We believe the SLO tests as they currently exist do not meet this ethical and professional standard. With increased class sizes, reduced support staff, and reduced administrative staff, teachers’ work loads have grown significantly. All teacher work time must be efficiently utilized and contribute directly to student success. Administering the SLOs, which are only intended to measure the teacher’s effectiveness, directly conflicts with the teacher’s need to only accomplish value-added teaching tasks.

The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teachers become. We have no fear of being evaluated. But a fair evaluation system should be embedded in the system without becoming an additional burden to the system.

Cordially,

Chamblee Charter High School teachers James Demer, Andrew Milne, Shervette Miller, Deann Peterson, and Amy Branca. In addition, this letter is supported by more than 50 additional Chamblee teachers.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

71 comments Add your comment

TimeOut

September 26th, 2012
1:48 pm

The powerful and greedy have found a way to dupe the masses while they milk the cash cow of public education for all it’s worth. If the Legislature truly cared about the maximization of the state’s human potential via the pubilc education system, such nonsense would not occur. That is not the real goal. Lining the pockets of the elite while keeping the peasants in their place, complacent with their fast-food meals, in front of the tv watching mindless trash——–that is a clear picture of what the ’shakers and movers’ who are making such good use of the cash cow of public education really want. Bill Gates is not the person I want making decisions about what’s best for my child’s education. Arne Duncan is a fool, a political puppet. The Georgia State Legislature and the federal government’s department of education is replete with those who seek personal gain over public service. Let a panel of international teachers establish some ’standards’ for instruction. I don’t care what greasy politicians or educrats think should be going on in our schools.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

September 26th, 2012
1:56 pm

First of all Learning Objectives track back to Ralph Tyler’s work in the 30s and late 40s as I explained here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-standardsoutcomesobjectives-what-is-the-real-common-core/. The presence of the SLOs is yet more proof that CCSSI is actually Transformational Outcomes Based Education all over again. This time certain people fully intend to get the US in line with John Dewey’s Reconstructionist vision from so long ago.

My administering the SLOs to Kindergartners you get politically and economically useful info about what was going on in the student’s home environment. Much easier than interviewing parents and more reliable. The whole purpose of OBE and all Tyler and Benjamin Bloom’s work is always to change the student. What is the teacher doing in the classroom to change the values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings of the student. Those in turn control future behavior.

The movement is away from the historic transmission of knowledge purpose we traditionally associate with schools to a learner centered curriculum. It is laid out in a book by Bela Banathy called Systems Design of Education: A Journey to Create the Future that was written at the beginning of the last attempt at transformational ed reform in the 90s.

I explained this to someone in another state recently and have been writing about the economic, social, and political purposes behind these reforms.

Much of what is being required is a compliance assurance device to make sure educators do not just close the door and teach the content. That happened in the 1960s attempt and also as most of us remember with the related Georgia Integrated Math Initiative.

dc

September 26th, 2012
2:02 pm

People who are good at what they do have no issue with being measured. Those who aren’t (or at least who question their value/worth), will not want to be measured, and will prefer the current squishy approach where anyone who isn’t awful gets rated the same as everyone else.

As a salesman, cadence calls and quota reviews take huge amounts of my time….and guess what, no amount of griping changes the fact that they are important, and are the way sales folks get measured and evaluated. Teachers need to quit getting in the way of getting evaluated, and figure out how to help come up with the best possible approach.

And the current way it’s done……is clearly not even close to being adequate.

AlreadySheared

September 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

This is satire, right? “SLO” – slow? Followed surely by Diagnostic Universal Measurement Barometers?

Seriously, there is a concept called “cost of information”. Yes, it’s good to get information, but only if you don’t have to pay too much for it. 20 days of instruction to rate a teacher – too much to pay for effectivenes evaluation. Surely there is a better way.

teacher&mom

September 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

@dc: “People who are good at what they do have no issue with being measured.”

With all due respect, the kindergarten teacher is discussing the loss of 20 school days (the equivalent) of one month) to more testing. Testing that may or may not be useful.

Any teacher worth a grain of salt understands and implements his/her own formative assessments throughout the year.

Teacher

September 26th, 2012
3:02 pm

@dc Your comment suggests that you did not fully read the complaints about the tests. Teachers WANT to be evaluated. We WANT critical feedback in order to improve our craft. However, not only will these tests not provide that feedback, but they will also cost considerable time and money that could be used in a more efficient way. You’re a salesman, so you may understand this metaphor: Should you be fired if you can’t sell 1,000 luxury cars in a low-income area within a year? Do you think that factors other than your persuasive abilities would affect your sales?

Beverly Fraud

September 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

People who are good at what they do have no issue with being measured

WRONG!

People who are good at what they do, and are ALLOWED to do it, have no issue with being measured.

@teacher and @dc

September 26th, 2012
3:17 pm

Wait a minute – a better analogy would be “should you be fired if your manger made an increase in your paperwork load that took you 20% more of the time away from meeting clients?” Good sales people will always tell you they are up against tough factors iwth quotas, and it’s true. However, the first thing sales people will complain about is training, paperwork,and the like that prevent them from getting out and getting sales from their clients.
That’s what this situation boils down to. There is so much paperwork to document how I’m documenting my documentation on teaching. I welcome an efficient means of evaluation, but spending 20% of my time on paperwork that never reaches the students is a waste of time.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

September 26th, 2012
3:18 pm

In PubEd circles, it’s a known fact that educRATS win the rat race. But who wins “the paper chase?” Don’t tell me that the educRATS win that one, too. But, if the educRATS don’t win The Paper Chase, who does? We know that our kids and their teachers don’t stand a chance of winning “the learning game” when educRATS require their participation in “the paper chase.”.

NONPC

September 26th, 2012
3:19 pm

The Chamblee Charter High School teachers made excellent points that simply cannot be ignored. If anyone reads my posts, you know that I am all for weeding out bad teachers, and believe that teachers will never accept any attempt to evaluate their performance. Nonetheless, SLO is seriously flawed. There is a saying in computer science: “garbage in, garbage out”. SLO can easily be gamed (garbage in) , the CCHS teachers have described how, and you can expect ALL teachers using SLO will game the system else risk losing their own jobs (garbage out).

Reverie

September 26th, 2012
3:31 pm

From the time kids start Pre-K they are tested. Why not let the those tests flow with the child and allow their grades to reflect what they actually know? That way we can take a snapshot of the individual child’s educational prowess at the beginning of the year, based on the end of the previous year, then compare it to their grades at the end of the year. Assign a value to their test results. Now if we compare those test results (or grades) with those previously earned, we can arrive at a measurement of how well the student progressed in that year. Factor the advancement of time, total all the kids the teacher had, then average their beginning and end scores. Voila! No intrusive and time-consuming measurements that waste the allotted time for teaching. The kids will have a true measurement of their advancement and the teacher will have a score that reflects their ability to teach their subject(s). While I think the socio-economic circumstance of the student has some relevancy, the school and the teacher are not there to measure or improve that. I understand it is unfashionable to suggest that school really is there to exclusively impart knowledge, I see nothing that shows decades of measurement of non-scholastic factors has resulted in a measurable improvement of students understanding of their subjects. In other words, let the teachers teach, ask them to teach only the curriculum and stop expecting them to spend so much of their time trying to determine if little Snowflake had a balanced breakfast. Honestly, it isn’t the school’s responsibility to see to it that has happened. It is the parents responsibility and if they fail in that regard, the parents and not the state has failed the child.

dc

September 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

getting measured is hard….I get that. But it’s the only real way to differentiate between the very good, the good, the average, and the below average. And any measurement takes work, and distracts from the “job that needs to be done”. But the upside (being able to recognize and reward the truly good teachers) makes it worth the effort.

xxx

September 26th, 2012
3:53 pm

All I know is my daughters private school does not to have this problem. Maybe there is something to that.

Solutions

September 26th, 2012
3:55 pm

What kind of idiots do we have at the ga dept of education, 10 days to measure the beginning knowledge of a first grader? Fire them all, a one hour test should do the job nicely! Other than their ABC’s, the numbers 1 to 100, and maybe some addition and subtraction, their colors, the days of the week, months of the year, what else could be expected of a 1st grader. Ten days my behind! Fire them all with extreme prejudice, no pension, no benefits, no warning……

Student Advocate

September 26th, 2012
3:57 pm

Good comments from teachers of a great high school. I concur! Furthermore, did any of the eduCRATS seek input from some of the highest performing teachers in the state (surely includes CCHS teachers)? And to talk about an unfunded mandate, some of these tests are to be administered in computers, and I think we just have one of the least functional computer labs in the county. How about those administrators who just got raises and a scholarship for their pHDs trade computers with a school? They put the oldest and worst technology in the hands of the students, and we can all guess who has the newest, fastest, and most reliable computers. Parents, go check out your kids’ computer labs and see what I mean.

Hey Teacher

September 26th, 2012
4:00 pm

Spot on! I would write more but I must go and document that I taught something today and then document that I documented that I taught something today …

Solutions

September 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

and 10 more days for an end of the years test? Not only fire them all at the ga dept of ed, stamp their foreheads with the words “Do Not Rehire, this person is stupid.”

Ed Wynn

September 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

When you gotta document that you documented that you already documented, then it’s a certainty that public education at all levels is a theatre of the absurd.

Pride and Joy

September 26th, 2012
4:32 pm

Maureen says “The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teachers become.”
What she means is that students perform better if they get more instructional time and measuring effectiveness takes away from instructional time….
BUT….
ANY time taken away from instructional time doese the same thing. So leaving early from school so that teachers can have more “planning time” DOES the same thing…..but we don’t hear that on the Get Schooled blog.
If instructional time is so important we need to ensure the kids get the benefit of going to school the WHOLE day of all `180 days.

Old Physics Teacher

September 26th, 2012
4:46 pm

From NBC news: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/26/14101278-why-patients-dont-report-medical-errors?lite

So… as I understand it, our legislators – state and federal, have no problem with medical malpractice that probably kills approximately 15,000 people MONTHLY by incompetent doctors, but claim USA teachers (and their unions) are a disgrace to the nation (Do you hear the Star Bangled Banner playing in the background? How dare the teachers disgrace us?).

Yeah, that’s about right! The reason one is acceptable and the other one is not is because teachers belong to a union that cares more about the teachers than , sob, cry… I can’t speak because I’m crying so hard…the children. And doctors don’t belong to a union. Doctors belong to the AMA; it’s an association – that’s different!

I keep saying it, and it keeps getting ignored: “If education is so bad in the USA, why do the best students from the rest of the world COME HERE?” Ans: the “decline” in education is NOT TRUE! We teachers, like the rest of the population, have bought into a false equivalence. We’ve been made scapegoats by crooked and venal legislators who are looking for someone to blame so the public won’t rise up and tar and feather THEM!!

OK, I’m finished now. Go on back to talking about the effectiveness of moving chairs around in the classroom, changing textbooks, changing curriculums, changing teachers, promoting computers-in-the-classrooms, charter schools, etc, etc, etc. Nero fiddled while Rome burned; it’s OK if we do too. Just ignore me.

Mortimer Collins

September 26th, 2012
5:04 pm

“People who are good at what they do have no issue with being measured.”

Precisely!

mountain man

September 26th, 2012
5:08 pm

If the “pre-test” shows that the third-grader has not mastered second-grade subjects, they should be sent back to second grade! That ought to make students try harder!

Another Dekalb Teacher

September 26th, 2012
5:16 pm

Rumor has it that DeKalb’s Kindergarten SLOs are going to be thrown out! I don’t even think the teachers will have to grade it. Too bad they just spent a week administering it! They could have done a whole lot of teaching in a week. I think good teachers are already doing their own assessments and will do so throughout the year. I personally like to know how much my kiddos have learned in the first 6 weeks or so. This way I can try to do some interventions early on. Of course, with 22, 5 year olds by myself, there are only so many interventions I can do.

RealWorldEducation

September 26th, 2012
5:17 pm

Who proofread the tests? Did they contain many easily checked errors? Yep. Did it match the curriculum as laid out, did it contain ifno that had been taught or did it contain info from material not coverd until the end of the term?No and yes. Yes, it’s a pilot year, but if these are going to be used to evaluate teachers and eventually determine pay, should they not be created in a serious manner? If assessment was used as a tool rather than a stick to beat teachers with, they wouldn’t mind. If teachers put the same level of quality control and time management into our own tests as the powers that be do into the elements which are used to test teachers, we would have no teaching workforce left.

Edugator

September 26th, 2012
5:34 pm

Thank you CCHS. Test-a palooza is just getting warmed up. Ask your 7th graders about the 9 days of testing (ITBS, CogAT, Benchmarks) that they face in the first 4 weeks of October.

Ron F.

September 26th, 2012
5:41 pm

I daily assess student learning and reteach as necessary. I know my kids and can quickly identify needs and successes as related to CCGPS. It’s not brain surgery, and it doesn’t take hundreds of pages of standardized tests (which kids HATE) to tell me what I already know if I’m an involved, caring teacher. All the “data” in the world, and all the days lost to endless testing won’t improve education- they just provide a number with which to browbeat teachers once again. In all my years of teaching, I haven’t needed hundreds of pages of testing and reports to know which kids are learning successfully and which aren’t. I already know that and plan accordingly. DUH!

Tired of time wasted

September 26th, 2012
6:10 pm

DeKalb’s Kindergarten SLO was obviously created by someone with little to no experience in age-appropriate assessments. They clearly misinterpreted the Common Core standards with their test samples. Now they’re saying to just use this info for GKIDS. Thanks for wasting my time when I could actually be teaching. Oh, and rumor is that there are benchmark tests on the way too! I’m sure someone is trying to justify their job in the county office.

Tony

September 26th, 2012
6:13 pm

Your headline reminds me of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I’m certain the concept applies to teacher effectiveness, too.

Big Mama

September 26th, 2012
6:17 pm

Solutions— I am guessing it has been awhile since you’ve visited a first grade classroom. The requirements you listed are those expected of new kindergarteners. My experience as a parent of a young child is that by the end of kindergarten, students are expected to be reading, writing simple sentences, and adding/subtracting with double digits. If a child enters 1st grade with only preschool knowledge, that child is already well behind his peers.

Beatings will continue until morale improves

September 26th, 2012
6:21 pm

DeKalb teacher here. Gave my SLO(w) test today. What a joke. Whats sad is the kids know its a joke and dont take it seriously. The ones who are trying to will do well in my class. Also, they were set up for failure from the get go. Who thinks they can answer 25 short answer/essay response questions in 50 minutes? I know I cant. These SLO(w)s also have tons of errors on them. Its sad that DCSD is having to pay subs to come in, watch our classes so we can grade these tests and scan them in. The subs thing was a DCSD initiative, not our schools.

eduCRATS at their finest. Saw ours today in school doing nothing. RT3 blood money paying for her “job”.

long time educator

September 26th, 2012
6:21 pm

The Class Keys require that teachers in Georgia use research-based practices in the classroom. We are not allowed to use some half-baked idea because we think it might work, or to use the kids as guinea pigs to try out some new fad. Why is the state allowed to require pre-tests that were not finished when school began and are not “researched based”? We will be giving them 5 or 6 weeks into the school year. In my county, we have been furloughed 10 days, so add that to the non-instruction for the students on top of the testing days. No decision makers really care about educating the students. They are just carrying out some twisted agenda that does not make sense to me, but usually if you follow the money, you can figure it out.

Goodforkids

September 26th, 2012
6:56 pm

Loving these teachers for speaking up. I am not a teacher, but a mother of three so frustrated about the time away from learning for assessment by outsiders (ABO). I believe in teachers and students. I believe they are capable of demonstrating teaching and learning without ABO. The ABO serves others’ purposes, not the purposes of children and their teachers. If you want to evaluate teachers and develop or fire the ones who are not cutting it, have at it. Look at Montgomery county in Maryland for a model of what sounds like fair and thorough evaluation. But the ABO folks need to quit feigning good purpose. Their purpose is profit and privatization.

Jill cooper

September 26th, 2012
6:58 pm

Well, that’s a lot of impressive writing folks (both sides) but we already have the CRCT (I stress the part of the actonym “criterion based”) , STAR reports, research-based universal screeners e.g. EadyCBM, beginning of year inventories – ELA and math)and regularly paced benchmarks, to measure our effectiveness. I need the time to teach deeper critical thinking skills and the new Common Core’s rigor. The SLO tests were poorly written, had complicated design issues and subjective grading challenges across tested subject areas. Teachers will take 15 hours rebubbling and grading the tests twice per year. Let me teach and l will get the students to meet standards. Give me quality time with them and I’ll teach them how to thiink. Take my time away from them? I’ll end up cramming standards; which is against everything I stand for. Add four days to the school year if you want this kind of testing. I heard once, “You can’t keep weighing the pig if ya don’t feed it.” Makes me think twice.

cris

September 26th, 2012
7:05 pm

someone, somewhere is getting paid to make sure that the SLO testing goes according to plan with RttT money that won’t be making it’s way into a classroom for your students who are wondering why their teacher hasn’t returned any feedback on their most recent assignment so they can improve the student’s learning because they were too busy grading SLO’s tests that will determine if they are improving your student’s learning so the school system can receive more RttT money to pay another someone, somewhere to figure out the next “assessment” to give.

cris

September 26th, 2012
7:08 pm

LET ME TEACH! I WANT MY STUDENTS TO LEARN! I WILL HELP THEM WHEN THEY CAN’T LEARN! THIS IS A COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF TIME, ENERGY AND RESOURCES!

Thomas's Paine

September 26th, 2012
7:12 pm

Solutions, slow down before you have a stroke, son. I deal with the GADOE all the time, and they are world-class. We have a ton of podcasts, webinairs, websites, and personal correspondence at our fingertips with them.
What’s with all of these non-teachers spouting off about things they know nothing about on this blog? It’s alarming to say the least.

Jerry Eads

September 26th, 2012
9:25 pm

John, you KNOW how much a waste of time and resources CRCT/EOCT/etc.CT are. Where on green earth did this this junk (SLOWs) come from? One of the biggest reasons performance doesn’t go up (the SAT anomaly aside) is that according to some research we waste a solid month of the school year on worthless, useless, misleading, low-bid contractor developed and taxpayer wasted dollars paid for testing. How much more over the $20 million a year of taxpayer dollars spent on the minimum competency testing does THIS cost? How many hundreds of thousands of teaching hours does this take away from kids? What are the COSTS of all those hours? What evidence do you have of ANY benefit? (I know the answer to the last question: NONE whatsoever).

The worst travesty of the testing psychosis is the time lost for kids. Next worst is that all this worthless junk only exists because people who know absolutely nothing about teaching and schooling want kids’ lives reduced to simple (and totally meaningless) numbers. These are not your friends, John. Nor are they friends of schools or most importantly, kids and their futures (not to mention OUR futures). This is just yet another gambit to “teacher proof” learning. Every one of these games failed (duh) in the past. Anybody REALLY want to bet on this one?

Can assessment help kids? Of course. Teachers are assessing kids’ progress every second of every day. It’s a seamlessly integral part of teaching. They have NO need to be SLOWed down by even more meaningless testing.

There is an old saw that you can weigh a pig as much as you want but it won’t make her gain weight. Testing is worse because there’s only about 6 hours a day for a school to help kids learn or, if you will, eat. Every SECOND you take to weigh kids is time they won’t be learning. Why is that so hard for you folks to understand? Or are we, perhaps, doing it on purpose to ensure that the public schools fail by making sure teachers have no time to teach?

Ed Johnson

September 26th, 2012
9:31 pm

“The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teachers become.”

Dr. Deming once said to a gathering of school administrators meeting in Washington, DC, something along the line… “I grade my students’ papers. But I don’t grade them to grade the students. I grade them to grade me. How am I doing? What don’t they seem to understand? How can I improve?”

The point being that if teachers are measuring their own effectiveness, and all that measuring isn’t integral to teaching and learning, then it stands to reason the less effective the teachers will become.

Proof that reductionism can be a bear, yes?

Karen Russell

September 26th, 2012
9:31 pm

The CCHS teachers have provided excellent feedback to the Georgia DOE regarding the SLOs. For those of you who always look for a reason to bash teachers, be careful to get the facts before you pounce. I am a second grade teacher at a very high performing school, with some of the hardest working teaching professionals anywhere. We constantly assess our children to provide differentiated instruction so each child can meet with success. We have strong leadership and incredible parent support.

When seven year olds are given reading passages that are font size 11, single spaced, a page and a half long, with no picture support (it resembled a page from a college text book), you are setting them up to perform poorly with the inherent frustration one would expect from a seven year old. Using language like “recount the story” is foreign to most young children. Asking a young child on the constructed response writing checklist “Are your words spelled correctly?” Is developmentally inappropriate, even in a post-assessment because IT’S SECOND GRADE. And I need more space than I have here to discuss the massive amount of paperwork and time away from teaching these SLOs create.

I am not opposed to assessing children to show growth over time. I am not opposed to using those measures as a gauge of teacher effectiveness. I am opposed to the arbitrary and capricious whims of those who make edcational policies that overwhelm the time and efforts of effective teachers.

Nikole

September 26th, 2012
9:35 pm

My SLO was 10 questions. An entire year’s worth of standards measured in 10 questions.

Nikole

September 26th, 2012
9:37 pm

Also, if I am required to teach scripted reading, I take no accountability for the reading scores. Let me teach the way I want to, then hold me accountable.

Georgia and education not compatible

September 26th, 2012
9:58 pm

I want to know why didn’t they (the powers that BE-fuddled) roll out Common Core with this year’s kindergarten class and every class AFTER that? At least the data would be somewhat reliable. As it stands now, all students started the year behind…

Not to mention teachers must take pictures, scan documents, and even video lessons in order to prove that they are working. They then must upload it so that someone who needs a real job can say, “Oh, yeah, they ARE teaching.” The idiocy of all of this is stupefying.

Question: When will we demand that politicians jump through all these hoops?

Observer

September 26th, 2012
10:35 pm

SLO’s are due on Friday. I have not finished. Never was trained on how to administer or grade it. I am still required to teach and fit the testing in somehow with 25 kids… Teacher’s manual say one thing while students’ booklets say something different… lesson plans due on Fri, too. Report cards due in two weeks with no training on how to put them in the computer (school district is using computer generated report cards for the first time) … GKIDS due on the 26th of October… Fall parent conferences… No raise in 5 years… 2 furlough days… pay dates are being moved in increments until they reach the 15th and the last day of each month ( we use to get paid on the 5th and the 20th)… 11 years in this game…. I AM TIRED !!!!!!!!

Sorry I had to vent…

dekalb school watch two

September 26th, 2012
10:46 pm

[...] “The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teac… [...]

[...] “The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teac… [...]

Dekalb Teacher

September 26th, 2012
10:54 pm

Just wait until next year when Art, Music and PE are required to administer SLO’s. Try doing that with a school of 950 students!
I wonder if they will pay for subs when we need to grade 950 papers.

Jacob

September 26th, 2012
10:58 pm

Maureen,
Thanks for posting my letter. I am glad to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way, because I keep being told “We don’t like it either, but who will you tell, because no one will do anything about it.” I love what the CCHS teachers have written, because it is exactly how most of us feel. Hopefully, if we rise with one loud voice, the state will see how they are making our jobs miserable by taking us away from valuable instruction time with our students. I love teaching, but I hate to administer something that’s not going to make a bit of difference in my classroom. It’s literally “SLOwing” me down.

Middle School Man

September 26th, 2012
11:16 pm

SLOs are an attempt to have a way to evaluate teachers who don’t have a CRCT or EOCT to be “measured” by. They call them “non-tested” subject areas. The problem with the pre/post test model with the SLOs is that most kids entering most classes, don’t know anything that they would need for that class, thus the reason they are taking it. It is almost impossible, outside of math and ELA, to not show growth if teachers are doing their jobs at all. SLOs are poorly concieved by a previous administration that wrote the RT3 district, poorly constructed by the current group running it because of the time lines imposed by the previous group, and thusly poorly instituted at the district level because of the rushed time line. But remember teachers, this year the SLOs are “hold harmless”

Thomas's Paine

September 27th, 2012
6:48 am

I’m headed in for another day. I urge all teachers on this blog to do what I’ve been doing; re-write the state issued units to suit your personal style. My students have loved certain books I have done, so I re-wrote the units to match them. The DOE “Drop box” contains the original, editable editions of the units, just email the BOE to get access. I have found it personally rewarding to scrap weak EQ’s and replace them with viable ones. It looks like I will use my M.A. in Curriculum after all! Have a great day!

Cobb History Teacher

September 27th, 2012
7:57 am

Most of us feel today we spend more time documenting what we teach and do then actually teaching and doing. We get told in our evaluations that we do more than we think but then recieve avaerage evaluations because if we didn’t document it we didn’t do it. Go figure.