Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Creating A List Of The Bizarre, Covoluted Ways NY State Evaluates Non-Test Subject Teachers

A reader at Perdido Street School blog has the following idea for how to combat the insanity that is the APPR test component (now 20% state + 20% local, but soon to be 40% local if Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Tisch have their way):

It'd be REALLY interesting if teachers all over could be encouraged to send in descriptions of the bizarre, contorted ways districts have been forced to throw together exams to evaluate teachers who have no actual state tests. NYSUT could do this or......?? Then maybe the whole list could be published, without mentioning specific districts. The whole thing has been so rushed and half-assed. It's shameful.

Unfortunately  the union leaders at NYSUT have already signaled that they won't be taking Cuomo and Tisch on over the evaluation system, so we're going to have to develop the list and try and get it out to the public on our own.

Let's start the effort in the comments section of this post.

What are some of the bizarre, convoluted ways teachers who teach non-test subjects are being evaluated over the state?

And, if Cuomo and Tisch get the "reforms" to the evaluation system that they want (40% of the evaluation based on stat tests) coupled with the law they already have (if a teacher comes up "ineffective" on the test components, he/she has to be declared "ineffective" overall), just how many teachers are going to be deemed "ineffective" based on test scores for tests in subjects they don't teach?


  1. It's equivalent to Cuomo getting fired because Christy is a corrupt doucher. I don't see how this will hold up to all the lawsuits. The correct answer to the question they haven't posed is not everyone can be evaluated on test scores, so nobody should be. But instead they go the opposite route and come up with the worst possible solution that absolutely not one person can defend.

  2. In my school, they are talking about non-tested areas receiving a score based on average math/ ELA scores in the building... so they will be graded on 2 subjects they don't teach, not one. I, as an ELA teacher, may do worse on this 20 percent section than the grade I get based on my own students' scores, which doesn't make sense- my kids do well, but I am ineffective because other teachers' students did poorly on ELA and math? And, to top it off, this process is still murky with the test oh only about 21/2 months away. Sounds great.

  3. At my high school 20% of all teachers' APPR score is ELA passing rate. Now, the vast majority of the teachers do not know (much less have never taught) these students but apparently it does not matter. If you teach an unusual subject (art, music, guidance, elective-heavy, no state final, etc) than that 20% becomes 40% of your score is based on the ELA results of students you have not taught and have not met. Over half of our teachers fall in this category. On some planet this makes sense - but not on planet earth.

  4. I'll type it to a minimum
    Music teacher here at a high school in Bronx. Scored 54 out of 60 points on observations last year. Received a 17 on state (linked to Science) and a 17 on local (whatever that means). Total was 88. Seemed fine by me as it's equal to an "effective" but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much the other 40 points or 49% meant nothing towards my teaching or even any of my exact students.
    My principal in September of 2014 decided to connect me to Science for whatever reason. I never met with the Science team, never spoke to any Science teachers, or had any input directed to anything related to Science or helping with curriculum, etc.
    This year I linked to angelfish regents. Again, I don't meet with Englush team or have input, etc. The English regents pass rates are very good. Last year the ELA teachers got 19's instead if my 17's. That's 4 extra points, however that's decided.
    It's a total joke. Seriously, I know the state 20% is linked to regents scores but I have no clue what the 20% local means and how they arrived at a number out of 20. Insane. Makes a great lawsuit for a music teacher that scores 54 out of 60 and then can get screwed by state/local measures.

    1. Sorry, there's a few typos. I meant 40%, not 49%. I also meant September 2013, not 2014.

  5. During the first year of the new APPR process we needed an "outside assessment" to measure the "VAM" of 12th grade Economics students. In New York State, the economics course is a half year class. A significant number of my students finished the class in JANUARY. But an "outside assessment" (thrown together at the county BOCES) was not available until JUNE. So....students were out of the economics class for FIVE MONTHS. Then, on their very last day in high school, the so-called "outside assessment" in economics was foisted on them. Of course, my 20% in that category tanked. And, it was a ridiculous test including outdated questions.

    Although this sort of lunatic situation has not been repeated, there is still no structured system to develop an "outside assessment" for these students. This year is somewhat year could be insane again.

    Understand: there has NEVER been anything valid and reliable about any of these "outside assessments".....since the APPR process started to be used. Not then......not now. And, EVERYONE is going along with this craziness because the idiots in Albany say we have to.

    Some schools are using crappy questions taken off of Castle Learning.

    It's been my experience that some teachers are very honest about talking -off the record- about what is going on. Others are trying to keep their cards close to the vest, so to speak.

    I am keeping detailed records of EVERYTHING connected to this ongoing sham in the event I ever lose my position due to it.

    Will NYSUT lawyers be defending us in court?

  6. Every teacher should drop his or her Vote/Cope contribution to $0 to send NYSUT a message (I did a couple years ago). Maybe then they'd fight against the proposed changes to APPR Cuomo and Tisch are proposing.

  7. Reality, I'd answer the question but I still don't truly understand what MOSL is supposed to identify, how it's calculated, what the local assessment is supposed to identify and how that is calculated.

  8. Nobody understands the MOSL, not even those who created it. The state has stalled the Great Neck lawsuit claiming they don't yet have the data to provide the judge. . . How can they not have data when they released the VAM scores in October?

    The NYCDOE is just as unhelpful. If you call the Advance helpline, they respond with "I don't know," to any substantive question about how the scores were tabulated. To be fair, the people on the phone seem like they genuinely want to help teachers understand their scores. But, they admit that they, themselves, are not privy to how the calculations are done. Best I could get is a vague promise that technical details will be released "sometime in January." Wow. Again, scores were released in October. Why the delay? B/C they are a sham.

  9. I teach music in NYC and opted for the default on MOSEl, which amounted to 40% of my score being based on State English and Math tests. Our schools scores went down. My observations were found to be effective. With Coumo's 'Safety Net' I was rated effective, but because he vetoed his own bill I am now developing. I see my students once a week for 50 min's. I calculated its about 2.7% of their yearly classroom time spent with me, yet 40% of my score is based on their state tests in subjects I don't teach. How am I supposed to 'develop' their scores? What power do I realistically have to increase their english and math scores when I'm teaching music for 2.7% of their classroom time? Arbitrary and capricious!

  10. Currently we are 20% local and 20% state, with those not in tested grades/subjects writing SLOs. I teach third grade, which means I have to use state scores for the state 20, even though there is no state score in second grade from which to show growth. The APPR is written in such a way that I get 0 points from the state. The whole thing is CRAP! I'm sickened that our state and national unions aren't screaming bloody murder, as they should have been all along.

  11. EVERY non-tested subject area teacher in NYS MUST be a part of a class action suit brought against NY-SED and the idiot governor for this lame-brained and unfair method of evaluating teacher performance. Not only is it insulting to many outstanding teachers; it points to a higher level of ignorance and obvious "I could give a flying fuck" attitude on the part of the assholes who invent this crap. Also, shame on the SED "curriculum associates" in the non-tested subject areas who sit silently and essentially condone this ridiculous policy. It is TIME to push back, NYSUT. When are you going to wake-up?

  12. I teach in the arts in NYC but had Math scores used for 20% state and 20% local. I teach in a high needs school that was in it's first year. The portion based on Common Core math scores was so low, it took my otherwise Effective rating down to Developing.

    I spoke to NYSED about the unfairness and they said NYC had flexibility to create performance-based-assessments for any subject, but they apparently did not, instead encouraging teachers to use team-based teaching so all subjects somehow help raise Math/ELA scores.

    There was also mention of individual schools' MOSL committees having options to use assessments in different subjects, but the manpower-hours involved in creating this from scratch seem like a budget breaker. Remember, this out-of-subject policy was only announced to teachers on the first day of school, a busy time indeed.

    So it's a huge unfunded federal and state mandate with an absurd implementation (but we also have to mention this does not mean the metrics for Math/ELA teachers are not also based on junk science).

    Try this when you talk to people - ask them if they know how teachers of other subjects are evaluated. Almost nobody even knows this policy is in place already, for over 60% of teachers, making it a far greater piece of the puzzle than the evaluations for Math/ELA teachers.

    They might say VAM is valid for ELA/Math but they cannot even claim this for everyone else. Finally someone made mention of this in the mainstream press, Emma Brown of WaPo: