Good evening Dr. Queen, Superintendent Arvon, members of the board, senior staff and guests.
Our local results on the A-F grading system were discussed in brief at the last superintendent’s teacher advisory meeting and we teachers were asked our opinion about keeping this system or fighting for its removal. I would like to clarify my and WVEA’s position on the A-F grading system.
The data on which the grades are based is not the foundation for what teaching, education or our schools are about. Nor does it give parents an accurate description of what occurs each day in that school.
These grades are based on a snapshot in time of how students are performing that day on a standardized test. The test itself was never intended to be used for the purpose of grading our schools but was designed to be a diagnostic guide to help inform instruction and curriculum.
For that reason, the use of the tests as a diagnostic guide, I gave my support for continuing to use the current tests. It makes absolutely no sense to change to a new test after such a short time and then start over trying to match instruction to any new tests being given.
What I would further support is a change in the scoring of the A-F grade given by the state. One change in particular would be to place more accountability with students as far as these score are concerned. However, this is a double edged sword-Too many factors compete for the students’ time and energy that needs to be devoted to performing well on the tests. Many students also do not realize that their performance is being used to measure not just themselves and their peers but the school as a whole. This makes it hard to produce test scores which show the learning that is occurring – and which their grades show is occurring- in the classroom.
Another change might be to add other, practical measures, from points throughout the year which could show other forms of growth in abilities and skills. This would automatically lessen the disproportionate impact of high stakes tests and yet still allow their use more for their intended purpose.
Our schools and our educators are not afraid of accountability. They are accountable each day for what occurs in their classrooms and are proud of what goes on in their classrooms.
I can assure you that the employees in all of our schools are working hard every day to ensure that all students succeed. Our teachers are mindful of the impact of poverty and other family issues on many students’ lives and they work to mitigate that impact as much as possible on a daily basis.
They also understand that all students do not learn the same way or at the same pace but they are working to adapt their instruction to make sure that every student is achieving to their potential.
Our schools are exemplary and our students, our employees, our parents and our communities should be proud of them and the learning that takes place within them.
Our students come each day to learn and they learn so much more than the math and English measured on those tests on that given day.