A teacher report card in action, via the teacher it graded

Elizabeth reported last week that the Department of Education plans to extend the new initiative that grades teachers according to their students’ test scores. By law, the report cards may not be taken into account when principals make tenure decisions about their teachers. So what are the reports being used for?

For Bronx teacher Ruben, who blogs at Is Our Children Learning, his first report card, while disappointing, helped him set expectations for his second year of teaching. He writes:

At the end of the meeting I was handed a packet. It was my report card. This is part of a new initiative to hold teachers accountable through the use of reports of “value added” to their students. Groups of students are given predicted performance scores. These scores are compared to their actual results, and the teacher is rated on the basis of these scores. Now I only have one year of teaching experience, and as anyone who’s been reading since the beginning knows, that first year was, ahem, rocky. So, I wasn’t really expecting a great report. What I didn’t expect was how low my percentile score would be, even after my rating was adjusted for years of experience. And while it was a blow to my self-esteem, it was also a way to focus my expectations for this year. I know I’ve come a long way since last year, so I expect a big improvement on the next report card I see.