At some point -- hopefully before my grandkids enter school -- America is going to go to growth model assessments.
And once they do, watch out!
As I just blogged about yesterday, Newsweek issued a list identifying our country's best high schools... but this doesn't seem to take into account one of the most critical measures of any "teacher's effectiveness":
HOW MUCH DID THE STUDENTS GROW OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR?
People in schools like mine routinely get kids who are reading and writing at levels years below grade level yet, do we get any credit when we take a 15 year old kid who is at a 4rth/5th grade reading level and elevate them to an 8th/9th grade level (3-4 years growth in one year)? Not when they take 10th grade bubble tests we don't.
And my school gets dragged through the mud for having scores and scores of kids who don't "bubble up."
It's as if all of us working in these NCLB schools that are sinking deeper and deeper into the throes of probation are a bunch of loafers. A bunch of slackers. A bunch of preposterously over-coddled tenure-ites who live off the fat of the land and do little to nothing over the course of a year.
Newsweek thinks that if more of my kids simply took more AP tests (not performed well on them, but simply took them) and we brought in IB and a bunch of other high fallutin' acronyms, we'd deserve notoriety.
A teacher named Gary Anderson had this to say...
My school is on the list. We're 715, up from 958 last year. This is good news for the real estate market around here.
I'm actually sort of ashamed of our ranking. Yes, we're a good school, but I make that claim in spite of our AP philosophy, not because of it. We literally push kids into AP classes, even when it overwhelms them. It sure looks good when the Newsweek and US News & World Report rankings come out--which are mostly based on how many AP tests are taken (not how well the students scored)--but many, many students get roughed up in the process. Real estate agents and parents who like to brag to their relatives get very excited about these rankings, but I've seen the emotional and physical toll it takes on some kids. It's not worth it.
When students who would be better served in a regular-level class are forced into an AP class where they are in over their heads, they are not only a drag on the AP class, but the regular-level classes where they could have been stars are worse off without them.
Adults in the world of public schooling are treating education like it's a game, as if there are winners and losers and rules to learn in order to play well.
I thought the objective was to educate ALL our kids.
How naive of me.
Bring on the growth model assessments!! As my grandfather used to say, "If we can land a man on the moon..."