I teach at a good suburban elementary school. We are one of those rare districts that is not faced with severe cuts, primarily because we were able to get a referendum passed just before the economic crisis hit.
By using the correlation of family income to test scores, we do well on the state ISAT test. It varies a few points from year to year, but not enough to get anybody overly worked up.
I am at a school with a high number of Special Needs students. They make our school special and we take great pride in our work with them and how they do. We also take great pride in our efforts towards the fullest possible inclusion. This is a key measure we use to evaluate our work.
There is a lot that the system throws up as barriers to doing the fullest possible inclusion, but that is a topic for another post.
My point here is about test scores.
Teachers at our school, for the most part, don’t worry about them. We are good teachers.We do our job well. We figure that if we do our job well, the scores will take care of themselves. We don’t hold test prep rallies. No banners or buttons. And very little test prep.
When the scores are great, it means very little. The powers that be still won’t be entirely satisfied. We know their meaning is limited and the information provided to improve instruction is less than zero. We also know not to make a big deal when they go up because the next year the scores can go down a few points. We don’t get too excited by the good years or too concerned by the downturns.
Too bad for Michelle Rhee, DC Queen of the Reformers.
She decided to live by The Score. Now she has to answer for The Score.
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has a problem, and it’s not the fact that elementary school standardized test scores just went down (at a bad time for Mayor Adrian Fenty, who appointed Rhee and is seeking reelection).
The problem is that she has made rising standardized test scores a central measure for achievement — hers, students and teachers.
The fun part is watching the Rhee apologists dance.