Proof That A Student’s Well-Being Is What Makes Them Smarter; Not A Horrible Balanced Assessment

Emerging studies presented recently at the American Educational Research Association national conference suggest new ways to emotionally support students during transitions—and how badly things can go wrong when students don’t feel supported. 2,119 students in 10 middle schools were interviewed across the country, with about 60 percent of students in poverty. Students who frequently distracted themselves, […]

https://kavips.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/proof-that-a-students-well-being-is-what-makes-them-smarter-not-a-horrible-balanced-assessment/

Delaware Professional Appraisal System 101: Part 2 of 6

DPAS II: Additional Information

Delaware’s teacher evaluation system is based on the work of Charlotte Danielson.  This system is divided into 5 components, each evaluated on a 4.0 scale; distinguished, proficient, basic, and unsatisfactory.  All components are weighted and add up to a final score; satisfactory or unsatisfactory on the summative evaluation. Interesting to note, some districts do not allow for any rating above proficient…not sure why.

Component One: Planning and Preparation

This component is featured on pages 8-15 of the teacher guide.  It starts with an overview and a copy of the component rubric.  If you are new to this evaluation system you would think, “If I follow this I will be good,” but no.  There is another rubric, the criterion rubric. You can find it on the DOE website or click here.  This rubric is found in the appendix of the guide, not in the reading.  Wonder why?

On the criterion rubric, used by most administrators, component 1 is divided into 5 criterion; 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, and 1e, all of which are listed on the component rubric.  Some of these criterion are optional and not used by all districts,  But wait, I thought this system has, “consistent educator and student performance expectations and outcomes across all schools.”  How is this possible if districts can pick and choose what to use?  Why not chuck the whole thing?

*On the criterion rubric, 1a: Selecting Instructional Goals is divided again into 4 elements: value, sequence, and alignment, clarity, balance, and suitability for diverse learners.

VALUE, SEQUENCE, AND ALIGNMENT: I read this part of the guide and looked at this part of the criterion rubric.  The guide talks about goals and the rubric focuses on outcomes… I assume (you know what that means :)) goals and outcomes are the same, but you would think that the makers would have ALIGNED their terminology.  Especially since the this element has the word alignment in it. 🙂  This element is really dictated by your curriculum, so a teacher can blame issues on their district curriculum writers.  Now, an art teacher is a curriculum writer as well as a teacher.  We tend to be protective of our curriculum because it is a part of who we are.  If we love to paint, then our curriculum will have a lot of painting included.  Our standards are written to accommodate our chosen medium and style of art making.  Administrators do not completely realize this and can put a teacher on the defensive with one or two words or questions.

CLARITY: This speaks to your lesson plan.  The more detailed the better. There should be goals or outcomes, objectives, assessments, student activities, and teaching strategies.  Administrators can only assess what they see or what you write, so write it down just in case you do not do it during your observation.  This element is weird for an art teacher because most administrators do not teach art. We find ourselves teaching our administrators or arguing with them, trying to defend why we did what we did during the observation.  If you do not know what a collagraph is, then how can you assess if the teacher taught it effectively or not?

BALANCE: Talks about multiple-intelligence/different learning styles and coordination with other content areas.  Again, write it in your lesson plan.  Administrators cannot assess your thoughts.

SUITABILITY FOR DIVERSE LEARNERS: I love this one!  Art levels the playing field of education naturally and art is personalized for each student already.  An elementary art teacher cannot be distinguish here DOE!!!  Example, the average elementary art teacher teaches 500 or more students in a week.  They have 25 to 35 students at a time, for 40-50 minutes once a week. This is a lot of kids and too many individual medical and educational needs to remember.  They teach about 100 different kids each day of the week!  Think about that….  But this criterion rubric wants teachers to individualize everything from activities to assessments to be distinguished.  What person can write 500 lesson, with 2-3 individualized activities, and 500 different assessments to go with them? Teachers are being set up to fail.  That sounds familiar…. On a side note, student surveys are listed as “potential evidence,” so I would give them often.

*On the criterion rubric, 1b: Designing Coherent Instruction is divided into 4 elements: learning activities, instructional materials and resources, instructional groups, lesson and unit structure.  I will not discuss all of them because this is taking forever and my Adult ADD is kicking in….  I think this is how our students feel….

LEARNING ACTIVITIES: I think that activities is not a good term anymore.  Administrators want to see strategies that can be assessed for merit.  An activity is just that, an activity, but a strategy can be used during an activity and then reflected on for effectiveness.  Focus on strategies.  What strategies are best for art education?  That article is on my to do list.

INSTRUCTIONAL GROUPS: This one is great too, sarcastically speaking.  Art teachers do not create instructional groups.  We do have students grouped at tables. We do pair student up based on knowledge or ability.  But we do not have reading groups that rotate around the room.  This element is not observable in the average art classroom, so why is it on my rubric?

*On the criterion rubric, 1c: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedogogy is divided into 3 elements: knowledge of content and the structure of the discipline, knowledge of prerequisite relationships, and knowledge of content-related pedagogy.  This element is by far my favorite in component 1:).  I am an expert in the field of art education and I pride myself on going to as many conferences and consume as much professional development as I can in the field of art education. One thing an art teacher hates more an anything is when an administrator tries to tell us how to teach art, when they NEVER have.  Yes, many things are important in all classrooms, but some things are needed just in an art room.  For example, organized chaos is an art room hallmark.  Students have to get their materials and put them away in some fashion.  Whether a teacher calls students one by one, table by table, or you say,”5 minutes, clean up;” this is a fact that must happen.  I was told by an administrator, that it took away from instructional time and I should find another way.

*On the criterion rubric, 1d: Demonstrating Knowledge of Students is divided into 5 elements: knowledge of child and adolescent development, knowledge of the learning process, knowledge of students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency, knowledge of students’ interests and cultural heritage, and knowledge of students’ special needs.  Okay, I am freaked out already!  This element is all about CYA, and it freaks me out because there is no way that I can know all of the above for each and every one of my students!  It’s crazy, but an expectation.

*Last one, 1e is divided into 4 elements: congruence with instructional outcomes, criteria and standards, design of formative assessments, use for planning.  This element with many of the others focuses on the individual student being distinguished, groups of students proficient, and whole class being basic.   Art teachers want to be as individualized as we can, but again with the amount of students we teach, individual assessments for most students is a dream.  There is also the argument of process vs. product in this element.  Which is more important?  This is an age old question in art education with both answers being correct.  Let’s hope you agree with your admin because if you value process and your administrator values produce… you have a problem…

I AM DONE WITH COMPONENT ONE!

Can you see what is going on?  I have written so much that I do not know what I wrote.  Component 1 is divided into 20 different elements.  I have written over 1200 words and didn’t even talk about all of them!  There comes a point when something is broken down so much that all true, usable information with meaning is lost…..  I think we are there, and this is only component one….. Stay tuned!

Another One Bites The Dust…

 An end to another school year, but this school year is a little different.  I have resigned and taken another teaching position in another school district.  Change is good.  I know the landscape of education in Delaware isn’t the best, but different grass is what I need.  Change; with a renewed sense of excitement and promise for a better future.

Testing=Data=C.Y.A (Cover your a#@!)

This is a simple matter-of-fact way to look at the reasons for testing currently being used in Delaware.  It is a domino effect.

dominoes

1. DOE buys the Smarter Balance Assessment.  (First set of tests.) Reports and media stories are written.  BAD test, HARD test, most kids will FAIL!

2. School Districts FREAK!  Then think, “We can’t pass those tests, sooooo we will create our own and still show growth.  (Second set of tests.)

3. Building Administrators FREAK!  Then think, “We can’t pass the district tests, sooooo we will create our own and still show growth.  (Third set of tests.)

4. @#$%@#__^%$# Words coming from the grade level teacher’s thoughts, but only a smile is visible to others.  Then they think, “I have to give all the assessments I usually do that show growth, can be reviewed with students and parents as early as needed, and directly impact student grades increasing the accountability for students, parents, and myself.  THEN I MUST give the building tests 2-3 times a year to show growth for the building, and the district tests 2-3 times a year to show growth for the district, and the state tests once a year for too many days to show growth for the state.”   What the @#$%*!!

I thought I was a teacher, not a full time test administrator…

AND all of this because of NCLB and it’s crazy mandate of 100% of students will meet the standard.  All of this to C.Y.A.

The Tragedy

IMG_3005

Today in one of my art classes we were discussing the above art work by Pablo Picasso entilted “The Tragedy”.  We discussed the subject matter, elements of art and principles of design.  We turned to our partners, asked the questions why and what if the image was red instead of blue.  Student gave me specific evidence from the image (text) to support their opinions and/or reasons.  We used all the common core like language required.  Finally, I asked students to think about their life and create an image of something sad.  It could be a global issue like hunger, homeless (referred to by Picasso), or something personal in their own lives.

They started working and then I thought about the same question as I walked around the class.  Some students were working quietly focusing on the assignment at hand.  Most were talking more than creating, whining and complaining about how they “can’t draw.”  I encourage them as much as I could and then finally for the last 5 minutes of independent practice, class is nice.  Students are working and I could think again about the assignment.

A tragedy in my life…. I have had many and I know there are many more to come considering I am only 33 years old.  I focused on my students, observing them, remembering those 5 minutes….   Then they shared with their partner and shared out to the class.  I ask them, “what tragedy did you create in your artwork?”  Answers were mostly personal; divorce, fighting, death of beloved pets.  Students line up and left calmer then when they arrived, maybe due to the topic of class…  I love teaching art and I love to see student openly experiment and create.  To see them push beyond what they know and create.  So many students do not have confidence in themselves and they give up so fast.  They don’t want to try and it is easier to say “I can’t.”   A tragedy in my life….

Then it hit me, I will create my own artwork of a tragedy I live everyday. (I did only spend about 10 minutes on this.)

the tragedy of delaware educationHere is a tragedy I have seen everyday for the last month.  Beautiful spring weather and students chained to a desk and a laptop.  They cannot get to the finish line, the promise land of fun, playtime, creation and imagination, UNTIL they finish their tests.  This is the modern tragedy of Delaware education and it effects every other part of our children’s lives.

I hope that brighter times are just over that horizon and replace the blue of sadness with the pink of joy.

Teacher evaluations in Delaware, a waste of paper? You decide.

I am organizing my teacher evaluations for the past 11 years, my whole teaching career.  As you can see, white tab from down are years 2011-2012  to 2003-2004.  The top section is 2012-2013, the first year for component 5 and data, data, data….

  This photo includes 2013-2014….. I need a new binder.  I wonder how thick this year will be? 

And funny thing is for the past two years we have used Bloomboard, an online computer evaluation system.  I thought technology saved trees?