Sunday, August 23, 2009

Test up, Obama.

Do you think if tell the world my test scores that Arnie Duncan (Sec of Education under Obama) will shift some of that new teacher accountability money my way?  Probably not, but since this blog is about real world teaching, I might as well throw out my first experience with that wonderful piece of engineering, the STAR test.  Since I taught U.S. History for the first time last year, I was responsible for over 90 students taking the U.S. History portion of the STAR test. 

First let me note that our department made significant improvement in our test scores.  I won't give specifics because I don't want to speak for anyone in my department.  However, I will say that our scores jumped 17 points.  We are above the state average and above our growth target.  Personally, here's how my scores break down.

44.5% Advanced

28% Proficient

11% Basic

5.5% Below Basic

11% Far Below Basic

62 passed

29 did not

Now, I don't know how I'm supposed to treat the numbers.  Are those good or bad?  Obviously, we don't like the whole 11% FBB (Far Below Basic), but upon looking at the students that were in that range, I can tell you that extra efficient energy on my part was not going to change their test scores.  I could have poll danced and sang the material to those students, and it wasn't going to make a difference (mostly because they wouldn't be there to watch).  I think that another year might have helped move the basic students to proficient, although I looked at some of the students that scored Basic, and I'm at a loss.  My class is tough, and some students that got good grades could not get better than Basic on the test.  That bothers me.  These are kids that nailed my tests, which are harder than the STAR (not that I would know), and showed some serious knowledge, except when it came to the test that "really mattered".  It is really bizarre.   

Oh well, I'm not going to be able to really find out if the year would make a difference since I'm teaching APUSH this year, and my numbers will be unfairly skewed. 

Let's also remember that I had an 85% pass rate for AP Comp Gov this year as well, with over twice as many people taking it.  That should be worth some extra dough.

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