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Ameri Ameri is offline
 
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Shame over Benchmark Scores
Old 10-14-2019, 04:32 AM
 
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Seeking compassion and empathy here.....

Do you ever dread your administrators looking at your class's quarterly benchmark scores?

I teach 2nd grade and we give quarterly benchmark tests that are made up of typical standardized questions.

Often they are developmentally inappropriate for 7 year olds and I know this when I administer the test.

I do my best to teach test taking skills and practice mock questions that are similar to the ones the kids will find on the test.

I feel shame when students in my class test into that "standard not met" category.

I have 26 students in my class. 15 of them either met or exceeded the standard. 11 of them "did not meet".

The average score for my class as a whole is 68%.

I guess the shame here is that I have tried my best and still have students not score well enough on this test to meet the standard.

This makes me feel like I lack the teaching skills necessary to help my students be successful.

Does anyone else struggle with this feeling of "I'm not good enough at teaching this content" feeling?

It makes me feel shame!


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Test scores
Old 10-14-2019, 06:50 AM
 
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Do not let anyone shame you over this. Remember, child learn at varying speeds. Benchmarks are supposed to be suggestions. In the good old days, it was generally accepted that children had until 3rd grade to learn to read. Now, every gets in a tizzy if they canít read Harry Potter in kindergarten.

You have said you do the very best you can. Remember, too, you are not the only teacher these children will have so you are not 100% responsible for getting every single child to highly proficient.
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I never worried about my P or VP
Old 10-14-2019, 07:07 AM
 
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Looking at the scores. However, I always got emotional about talking about the student according to a their score on a standardized test. I teach the individual child. They are all different and a test does not even approach the reality of what they have actually learned. It does give me a few bits of information. It doesn't define me or my teaching effectiveness. If it does then why does one year's class excel and the next class not? Did I forget how to teach over the summer?
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Another thing to consider
Old 10-14-2019, 10:04 AM
 
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Since you know test is developmentally inappropriate and in my experience, those benchmark tests poorly written, and confusing, that they're not a particularly good judge of what your students know and how effective a teacher you are.

I always made myself feel better by looking at my scores in comparison to the district scores. We used to have to do data meetings where we discussed our benchmark test scores as a grade level. It was discouraging and shaming.

Then, I discovered that our 68% was 8 points above the district average and the 4th highest score across the district for our grade level. That felt a lot better.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:07 AM
 
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I would not be ashamed of my test scores knowing I taught the best I could. Children are expected to be so high these days its ridiculous. You need to remember they are 2nd graders LEARNING. Testing kids as often as we do is stupid and I believe harms our students.

Be proud of your work and what your students have accomplished.


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So much more than a number...
Old 10-14-2019, 12:15 PM
 
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I hate that we perceive our successes with our students as quantified by numbers these days. With the over-emphasis on data, it is hard to focus on other areas of growth that might not be so easily identifiable. Love and enthusiasm for learning or the ability to work well with others would be two such areas. I had a principal much earlier in my career who would give each grade level a printed summary of the standardized test scores for each class. The teachers were not named, but it was easy to figure out who was who. If your class went up in something, she circled that place in blue. If they went down, she circled that in red. I don't know how she could have thought such shared information was empowering or helpful, but after I became tenure, I did go to her and tell her that I did not need to know my colleagues' scores and they did not need to know mine. She stopped the practice. This same principal also gave roses at a staff meeting to those teachers whose classes had good test scores. Guess who did not get a rose? So many factors go into a test score, and remember, it is only a snapshot in time.
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Test scores
Old 10-14-2019, 02:31 PM
 
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We are teaching children that their value consists of what they score on a test, many of which are very poorly written. It is ridiculous and wrong that teachers are shamed when their students don't progress according to arbitrary standards decided upon by arbitrary "experts."

And these tests only measure a tiny portion of learning. I was one of those students who was a natural test taker. But ask me to do anything mechanical, and I am lost. Even a sewing machine looks complicated to me. Why should students or their teachers be judged solely on a narrow range of academics?
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Itís all relative
Old 10-14-2019, 07:13 PM
 
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There are teachers that would kill for 68 percent.

(Well, probably not KILL, but you know what I mean!)
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Ameri
Old 10-14-2019, 08:07 PM
 
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Right there with you. Last years ELA scores were the lowest I'd ever gotten in 18 years. We found out early in the summer. I felt like crap the whole summer. Still do. Everyone who responded to your post is correct, except when the superintendent believes it's only about test scores, it's only about test scores.
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Bechmarks
Old 10-14-2019, 08:42 PM
 
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Benchmarks are kinda silly. I care about the progress my students are making, not their raw scores. At the end of last year, I had one kid (in kindergarten) still reading at a level 1. And sure, that looks bad. I mean, I've not had any other kids below a level 6 by the end of k before. BUT- the kid had made incredible progress! He'd gone from

+ Not being able to hear separate words in a sentence
+ Not able to identify beginning, end or medial sounds
+ Not able to count the syllables in a word
+ Not able to comprehend and follow one or two step instructions
+ Not recognising any letters or sounds:


To being able to do ALL of that and more! I also had him set up with plenty of support- speech and OT- by the end of the year. He needed those things badly, but they took time to organise. I wish his benchmark scores had reflected his AMAZING progress, determination, and curiosity for learning. Now, his year 1 teacher tells me that he is reading chapter books already. I could feel bad about that, but I know that it is the foundational skills he mastered in kinder that set him up to soar. Benchmark schmenchmark! Most of these assessments are inappropriate for children under 9 anyhow.
7 years old is young for a traditional pen and paper test. Try not to stress!

Focus on progress- academic, emotional, social, all of it! I bet there's a lot to feel proud of


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