Thursday, September 26, 2013

Well, that was out of the blue

I want to believe that I am a good teacher. I know I love my job (most days) and I know I love watching students learn (all days).  It's been a rough year and I haven't felt super supported at school.  I know we took a hit last year in terms of standardized assessments and test scores, but I truly didn't think mine were that bad.  In fact, they weren't bad at all.  My students made growth and did all of them reach their goals? No.  But did they all show improvement? Yes. 

I've been a little frustrated with hearing about how fifth grade's scores went down drastically (19%).  It wasn't my class.  It wasn't 2 of my fabulous neighbor's classes because they worked just as hard and provided some amazing learning opportunities for their students.  I learned so much from them last year and I continue to learn from them now.

Today, out of the blue I got an email from a researcher.  He has a PhD so I'm going to assume he knows what he's doing in terms of assessments.  Here was the gist of his email:

"In my analysis, your students did exceptionall well, including the ELL and special education students. I would like to talk about your experiences and see what resources you used."
Bam.  I want to gloat about this to those that have been a tad harsh this year, but instead I'll just share my excitement here.  I know I did my job as a teacher. I know they all learned and made growth.  More importantly, I know I got them excited about inquiry and learning.

He wants to specifically discuss Discovery Education and the resources I used since I'm a DENstar and he's looking at the Discovery Launch into Teaching assessments.

Honestly, I used Discovery's resources mostly for science which wasn't reflected on those assessments.  We did a lot of video streaming and discussion prior to the CRTs and my students did awesome on their science tests.  (In addition to reading and math!)

So I hope this means I can stop hearing about test scores and negativity.  Fifth grade may have gone down drastically, but that was not my data.  I will be accountable to my test scores and students' growth.  

Do I believe that one test determines what a student learned in one year? No, absolutely not. But it's what we have and what I have to use, so I will take an honest look at the data.  My data looks pretty solid and I'm proud of my students' growth.  Numbers don't lie.

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