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February 23, 2013

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Kristin, I sure hope that bargaining ends up changing Seattle's stance... MSP and MAP are the antithesis of effective measures of progress. They may show achievement, but they cannot show progress and any effort to manipulate that data to demonstrate progress is grasping at straws...the assesments, even when called "measures of student progress" are simply not about progress. Further: Why in the world would a teacher be evaluated based on test scores that take place months before or after his/her time with students...what if I'm a lame duck but all my kids go next year to Mrs. T. who is a rock star and can undo the stagnation if not outright damage done in my classroom. Her talents then make me shine. That anyone can see logic in that is astounding. And does this mean that PE and art are off the hook--or worded more positively, that they are shut out from showing how they, too, promote student growth and progress in their own disciplines?

This is a classic case where decisions are being made because of "ease of administration" rather than logic or best practice.

Mark, in Seattle the only measurement tool is testing - the spring MAP and MSP with the next year's spring MAP and MSP - "two points in time," and "district and state assessments."

What my district fails to do is all the other things. Hopefully, that will be more clear and accurate with the upcoming bargaining.

There are many ways to show evidence of a student's progress, and classroom teachers can gather that evidence better than some entity far removed from the classroom.

The part of the evaluation law that I'm clinging to is RCW 28A.405.100 2(f): "Student growth data that is relevant to the teacher and subject matter must be a factor in the evaluation process and must be based on multiple measures that can include classroom-based, school-based, district-based, and state-based tools. Student growth data elements may include the teacher's performance as a member of a grade-level, subject matter, or other instructional team within a school when the use of this data is relevant and appropriate. Student growth data elements may also include the teacher's performance as a member of the overall instructional team of a school when use of this data is relevant and appropriate. As used in this subsection, 'student growth' means the change in student achievement between two points in time."

To me, this gives me the power to use meaningful classroom-based, student-centered assessments that can help measure progress, not just achievement. I do worry that in some districts, there will be a mandate that a certain "test" will be used to gauge progress, which may not necessarily be an accurate, authentic, or reliable measure of progress, even if the test shows "achievement."

Linda, you are absolutely right that WE need to ensure that this definition stays!

Mark, excellent points. I think we need to ensure that the progress of our students will not be defined by our evaluations as necessarily growth in points on standardized tests, across the board, the same for all students. Some of the proposed bills right now seem to be going in that direction. They say "growth", but they may or may not leave it up to the teacher to define how that growth is shown.

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