Making sure to Stay Positive in the Land of APPR

Administrators in NY State received an email from our assisant deputy commissioner, Ken Wagner stating the public release of the 2012-2013 ELA and Math tests for grades 3-8 will be posted on August 7, 2013.  Within the email, an attached memo from our state education commissioner, Dr. John B. King was attached.  Here is the majority of his memo “to the field”:

As you know, those scores are expected to be significantly lower than the 2011-12 scores. This change in scores — which will effectively create a new baseline measurement of student learning — is largely the result of the shift to assessments that measure the Common Core Learning Standards, which more accurately reflect students’ progress toward college and career readiness. 

Because the State provided growth scores to be used in teacher and principal evaluations are based on year-to-year comparisons for similar students, all of whom took New York’s Common Core assessments for the first time in 2012-13, these growth scores will result in similar proportions of educators earning each rating category (Highly Effective, Effective, Developing and Ineffective) in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12 on the State subcomponent rating category. New York’s state-provided growth scores will not identify a larger proportion of teachers and principals at lower rating categories in their growth scores as a result of the anticipated lower student proficiency levels.

We recognize, however, that some districts negotiated use of the 3-8 State tests in other parts of the evaluation. For those districts whose 2012-13 annual professional performance reviews (APPR) plans did not anticipate the proficiency rates on the new State tests, the Department is developing a methodology that could be used in the 2012-13 school year to compare rigor across the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.

The teacher and principal evaluation system established in Section 3012-c of the Education Law involves multiple measures of teacher and principal performance to ensure an accurate assessment of a teacher and principal. In light of the new baseline in student scores set with the 2012-13 state tests, it is even more important for school district officials to consider all aspects of a teacher’s or principal’s evaluation when making employment decisions using the 2012-13 composite evaluations. 

Already, I have shared incomplete scores with some of my teachers.  They cried, because they landed in the “developing” section since we did not have a complete tally due to 3-8 scores not being released.  I stopped sharing because the morale started to go downard fast during the end of school.  

I am being optimistic.  I am of the belief that my staff is the best of the best, no matter what the results show.  We will continue to do what is best for our students in school.  

Our school will once again work together to get through this, support each other, and spin positivity in our day-to-day functions.  I challenge all to do the same, even though some days, it may feel it is impossible.  Just remember what we are there for, not for a score, but to teach our future!  Don’t let this define what you do!

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