It's amazing what students can do with support from community, school board, administrators, teachers, and parents. I'm so proud of the students in our community for giving their best on the test.
The M.A.P. is one measure of achievement, but it's THE measure that makes the paper. In fact, some areas publish individual teacher scores -- which is only fair if they document growth -- proficiency at the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year.
Last year, I was proud of my students' scores. What made the difference? Was it small-group teaching, whole-group teaching, this program, or that program?
The difference was made because students had the FOUNDATION necessary to build upon from their parents and former teachers -- whether they scored proficient or advanced the year before or not. Using research-based best practices such as giving descriptive feedback helped too along with teaching and assessing the written curriculum.
Robert Marzano's research indicates schools can make gains even without parental support, but we all know it's much easier with it.
The Director of Elementary Education stopped by to observe a lesson in my classroom this week and said something like this upon leaving, "You may not know you do this, but you set the expectation that ALL students will be able to do the task by the end of the year."
Eric Jensen, brain-based author and expert, says giving kids HOPE is important for achievement -- that they NEED someone to believe in them. I thought back to Dr. Kopp's words.
I had told the students that it's not important that they can do this task now. It's important they improve each time they take this assessment and that by the end of the year, they will all be able to complete the task proficiently.
What will my scores be next year? I don't know, and I'm not going to worry about it.
I will continue to teach and assess the written curriculum with current best practices focusing on power standards -- ones the state department deems most important like R2C, R3C, R1H, and Goal Process Standard 2.2 in Communication Arts. I'll look at my data to see if there are areas students scored low in and reflect upon my teaching and assessment practices in those areas. I'll also look at data they scored high in and do the same. I'll continue to communicate with parents and give students hope that they will learn.
I won't talk about the assessment much until the few weeks before the test, and I won't teach to the test. If I'm teaching the written curriculum, students should score well on the test. If they don't, I will be able to look in the mirror and know that I did my best.
I truly hope that Missouri doesn't go to merit pay. I would be ok on pay this year, but who knows about next year. It's simply not fair to teachers.