This teacher thought she was doing a swell job. But then
ratings came out and she discovered she is the worst
cher in the state! In the past, she has won many
awards, and she loves teaching. In addition: I initiated
and continue to run the chess and drama clubs with no
remuneration. I do get a small stipend for being the
academic games coordinator, running the Mathletes team and spelling
bee for the school, along with keeping the staff and students
informed of enrichment opportunities like academic
competitions. I organize the field trips for my grade
level and a trip for 4th and
5th graders to spend three days at an
oceanographic institute in the Florida Keys.

My own 5th grade
gifted students will end this year with a full understanding of
three Shakespearean plays, as class sets of these and other texts
were secured through my Donors Choose
requests. Saturday, I’ll be the designated
representative picking up free materials for my
school. I write the full year’s lesson plans over the
summer (then tweaking as I go).
She is the victim of the ceiling
effect. Her students got such high scores last year that they can’t
get higher scores this year.
She explains:
Last year, many of my students had had the
highest scores on the state tests possible the year prior—a 5 out
of 5. That’s how they get in to my class of gifted and
high achieving students. Except, last year, they
raised the bar so that the same
5th graders who scored 5s in
4th grade were much less likely to earn
5s in math and reading in
5th grade. Some still DID
score 5s in math AND reading, yet were still deemed not to have
made sufficient progress because they did not score as high within
the 5 category as they had the year before.

It’s like expecting the members of an Olympic
pole vaulting team to all individually earn gold medals every time
the Olympics come around, regardless of any other factors affecting
their lives, with the bar raised another five inches each go
around. In a state where 40% of students pass the
5th grade science test, 100% of my
students passed; but no one (at the state level) cares about
science scores.
Therefore, I suck.
How nutty is this? Why does the
U.S. Department of Education insist that states must adopt flawed
measures? Does anyone at the U.S. Department of Education consider
the consequences of their policies? Do they know anything about
research or evidence? Do they care how many people lives or
reputations they carelessly ruin with their dumb ideas?
Just wondering.