Monday, July 15, 2013

Multiple Measures Trade Day

My district offers something we call Summer Trade Days. By attending a summer professional development day we get to trade off a work day during this school year. This year we could trade up to three days during the school year by spending two days working on planning for our new Common Core based curricula and spending one day learning about Pennsylvania's new teacher evaluation system.

It's called "Multiple Measures" and it's based on Charlotte Danielson's framework for teaching. While I'd love to stick a little link in right about here so that you can go and learn a little bit more about it, I can't because the state really hasn't released any official information about it yet. So... yes... I'm going to be evaluated using a new system starting at the end of August, I was trained in this new system today, but the state really hasn't officially made all of the decisions it needs to make in order to fully implement the system or release official information about it. And they may still change some of the details I learned about today. I know, I know, I was shaking my head, too. So here's what I learned today:

  • Next year 85% of my evaluation will be based on observations, and 15% of my evaluation will be based upon my school's PVAAS scores
  • During the 2013-2014 school year my district will need to determine the elective data we'll be using starting the following school year. This might be local assessments, DIBELS, portfolios and projects (my vote!!!) or nationally recognized standardized tests. 
  • During the 2014-2015 school year, 65% of my evaluation will be based on observations, 15% will be based on the school's PVAAS scores, and 20% will be based up on whatever we decide to use as elective data. 
  • After three school years I will receive an average of my students' PVAAS scores. My evaluation will then be 50% observation, 15% school data, 15% my teacher specific data, and 20% elective data.
  • A teacher cannot be considered failing solely upon school or student test scores.
  • If teachers, like me and my partners, co-teach subjects then our teacher specific data will somehow be determined using a special, yet-to-be-developed formula that will be able to exactly identify which student learning belongs to each of us. (??????)
And after soaking all of that in, here's what I think:
  • I can't change any of these items so I'm not going to waste time complaining or pouting. It is what it is.
  • While I want my students to do well on their PSSAs (that's our state tests) I really could care less about their one score in terms of my teaching. I am so much more worried about the effort and the strategies they use every single day, I'm not going to stress myself or my kids out about one stupid test.
  • I am excited about the fact that I may have the opportunity to use portfolios and projects as part of my evaluation. My two teammates and I were thinking about how what we already do could be adjusted to be better evidence. (And we were already thinking about changing up a few things anyway so this will be perfect!)

There were two big points that I thought of today that are my biggest concerns. "Your evaluation is not based upon one observation," was a statement I heard several times today from our presenter. My concern with that is that I have not had a formal observation in about 5 years, and I may have had 1 or 2 ten minute drop-ins per year during those same five years. Yet my evaluations have given very detailed information about my teaching. Where has that information come from, and where will my administrators get the detailed information they need to complete the new year-end evaluation forms? This line of thinking made me realize that I need to be much better about "tooting my own horn" or providing evidence to show my students' learning. This is not something I've done in the past for my evaluation, but it's going to be very important in the coming years. The positive thing is that I know I will be able to use my class blog and student blogs to help with this.

There was another point, which I expressed on my end of day survey, but with my happiness project in mind I'm not going to mention it here. If my teammates and I continued to be singled out or if students are not receiving what they need, then it will be time to speak up publicly. But for right now I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and hope to see some change this year.

In keeping with my whole happiness project I really tried to remain positive about the day today even though it was entirely sit-n-git and I really didn't receive any new information. I'm not going to let myself stress over things I can't change, I'm going to continue to focus on my students, and I need to let go of my worries about others. My hope is that this new evaluation system will get more people into my classroom so that I can get more constructive suggestions about how to meet the needs of my students.

How about you? What types of changes are you seeing in your teacher evaluation systems? How are you and your coworkers dealing with these changes?


L. Hilt said...

I find it shocking you've not been formally observed in five years. They're absolutely going to have to do that now.
There are some benefits to this plan, but the way it's being rolled out is unprofessional. Don't come to us with a system that's incomplete. It's caused waves of hysteria among teachers and causing admin to stress in plenty of districts.
Not cool.

Becky Bair said...

I refuse to get caught up in the ridiculous hype. I'm going with the mindset that if I just do what is right by my kids it will all work out in the end.

Or I'll just have to figure out what else I can do when I grow up! ;)