A teacher faces the state’s new evaluation with anxiety, uncertainty, fear, and confusion. She has a great idea about how to game this invalid, meaningless, absurd and punitive system:
It’s not just in LA that teachers are afraid. VA is implementing new eval requirements that must include student progress worth 40% of a teacher’s overal eval. The plan at my former school (might be at the new school I will be working for in the fall as well) was to develop pre and post tests to show growth over the year for non-tested subjects (and first year of a subject wouldn’t count, since obviously students would be starting at zero. I wasn’t really sure about the logic there). Yet, I was unable to ever get clear answers on how they would be implented for teachers of multiple levels/preps. One idea was that only one level would count. After I pointed out that this would incentivize focusing on only the level that counted to the detriment of the non-counted levels, I was met with silence. When I asked who was picking, I was also met with confusion. Moreover, it also occurred to me how easy it would be for some teachers to game the system. I teach Latin, which is something that most people have little familiarity with. So, I could create an insanely difficult pre-test and a cake post test so that I showed awesome growth, and really who would know, except me, and maybe the kids (certainly those of my bosses who have no familiarity with the subject would not be able to figure it out). Moreover, they wouldn’t be able to break down how students do on partiular sections and what that means, nor figure out what sections represented higher level thinking and which represented rote memorization. Finally, I began to question how one evaluated the ability to translate Latin to English by only using a multiple choice test. I wondered why the ability to translate Latin to English wasn’t measured by actually having students translate Latin to English. For the first time, I felt the fear and the pressure that teachers of the core had been feeling for years. I dread these new eval requirements with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that never quite goes away.