Monday, October 01, 2007

Natural Selection

The theory of natural selection presumes that the favorable traits become more common from one generation to the next. As theories go, it makes some sense, until you attend a staff meeting, or look at the decision making skill of some people, who we will refer to from this point on as, The Idiots.

For instance, a group of teachers are asked to collect data to drive instruction--wherever the instruction needs to go, like 7-11. These teachers are told to select a skill set, develop and proctor an assessment, anaylze the data, instruct students, and then develop and proctor a second assessment. The information will be used for Data Walls.
But, as the process begins, these teachers are told that the assessment doesn't have to be a common assessment because this is a dry run, a practice, if you will. So, these teachers are spending four or more hours a month until January gathering data that is not controlled and therefore not valid for anything. Data Walls?, or Data Walls of Jericho? Natural selection should have eliminated such unfavorable traits from education.
As if that isn't enough, during the meeting that these teachers attended in their content groups, one teacher pointed out that they'd might as well do the data collection correctly. Meaning, choose a skill set that needs teacher attention, create a common assessment that uses the same reading level as the state exam--it is precisely because their students aren't meeting proficiency that caused the need for such assessments--and then teach the skill set to see if any real progress is made towards getting students at standard.
One teacher disagrees because some students, like Special Education or ESL/ELL or whatever it is called, won't be able to pass the baseline exam. Really? So, because students won't pass it, we should not include them in the data? Sounds a little shady to me. Sure, I get it; some students we know are really quite far behind. But don't we have the task of finding out exactly where they are now, relative to the state standard, and getting them closer to that standard? Again, unfavorable traits are supposed to be weeded out.


At 2:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most articles on the internet are written with horrible grammar but you are a teacher.You wrote,.. "that they'd might as well"...


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