Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NYSED Can't Come Up With The Data To Show Why Sheri Lederman Is "Ineffective" On The APPR Test Component

The Times-Union covers the Sheri Lederman story:

In Sheri Lederman's 18 years of teaching, failing her students has never been a concern.

Her employers consider her to be an "extraordinary teacher" and her students' parents refer to her as "one of the most influential educators" their children have ever had. Her students, years after they sat in her fourth-grade classroom, cite her as an integral part in their strong academic careers.

But when the State Education Department's teacher ratings rolled out in September, the Great Neck public school teacher was found to have scored only one point out of 20 — deeming her ineffective — in the Office of Assessment's Growth Score and Rating system. Lederman's students, however, met or exceeded test standards at more than twice the state's average scores since the new testing standards were implemented two years ago, according to State Education Department data.

Lederman is suing NYSED over the "ineffective" test growth score, but NYSED is trying to have the suit dismissed:

Lederman was told by the State Education Department that she can't appeal her growth rating score, because it is a subcomponent of her composite score of "effective" for the 2013-2014 school year. Lederman was told her only option was to sue, so that's what she has done, with the aid of her husband who is serving as her attorney.

Now, the state is attempting to dismiss Lederman's suit, which claims the evaluation system and Lederman's rating is "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion," according to documents filed with the state Supreme Court in Albany. The state argues that Lederman's concern about parents finding out her low score is unfounded, as the information can't be accessed through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Additionally, the state argues her other evaluation scores are high enough that her low growth rating does not bring her overall composite score to the level requiring disciplinary action, according to court documents.

The State Education Department declined comment on the case, citing the pending litigation.

Okay, they're arguing "No harm, no foul," since Lederman was rated "effective" overall and she faces no disciplinary action as a result of the "ineffective" sub-component rating, but if Cuomo gets his education reform agenda that will make test scores 50% of the APPR rating, this kind of sub-component evaluation will have a major effect on teachers in the near future.

So it's interestin to see that NYSED can't come up with the data to show why Lederman is "ineffective" on her state test sub-component - but they can't:

Neither Lederman nor the district administration has been provided any data to support why she received only one out of 20 points.

NYSED is going the coward's route, looking to have the suit dismissed on the "No harm, No foul" rule, and for all I know, that just may work in this case.

But eventually they're going to have show cause for why teachers are being rated "ineffective" on the state test sub-component - especially if and when Cuomo ups the state test sub-component to 40% or 50% of APPR overall - and then they WON'T be able to argue the "No harm No foul" rule.


  1. I discuss this teacher's case whenever I see a young person who is considering the profession. I feel it is a moral imperative to caution young people who are thinking about entering the teaching profession right now.

  2. Lots of us on the high school level missed highly effective by just a few points. Funny thing is, lots of us (like me) had a very high test pass rate even at a Title I school. As it turns out, the overal state growth measure for high school teachers is the raw average of the pass rate of ALL teachers who teach to the same test (just the average and of all the same test teachers in a given school). The state score is going to be almost the same for any teacher teaching the same test in any school (exception last year ELA).

    Now if merit pay were on the table, and the "state growth" prevented us from getting those "bonuses" because the state couldn't come up with a VAM formula and rated ME based on how well the guy NEXT TO ME "performed" then I'd be calling Bryan Glass looking for absuit based on loss wages.

    Pardon the rant, I'm just trying to point out that THATS how close we are to getting a successful suit to get rid of this thing -lost wages due to an faulty formula. It's just that close from being thrown out.

  3. In the boondocks of Newark, having the highest test scores in the building did not result in a highly effective rating for that teacher. Merit pay was instead doled out to those massaged the ego of the principal.

  4. Last year the New York agency that created the "outside assessment" for my APPR score had language basically saying it was not responsible for the reliability and validity of the test. It was just a phrase tacked on at the end of a lot of mumbo jumbo but, hmmm. So, who IS responsible?

    You can see how someone or some group was already trying to legally distance themselves from the APPR train wreck that has been happening since 2012 Wait until Train Wreck 2.0 leaves the station! (If it even makes it that far down the tracks.)

    If someone took our children on a train and deliberately tried to forced a derailment that person would be taken away in handcuffs and/or a straight jacket. But that's what Cuomo is doing to the public schools in New York.....and so far he's getting away with it!

  5. I'm a phys Ed teacher in a high school. This year I'm linked with Science. Well, we'll see. Has nothing to do with me as I don't even know the kids. I'm sure I have an argument. Who in the world agreed to link non regents teachers to a subject in HS. ?

  6. The judge in the Lederman case ordered the state to provide the data to prove Ms. Lederman's rating was not arbitrary. Despite having made the rating long ago, the state did not immediately produce the data. Instead, the state asked for extra time to comply, but then filed a motion to dismiss the whole case. Most lawyers believe the motion will be denied, but, it will slow down the case.

    Why slow down the case? Perhaps to allow time for Cuomo's plan to get voted on? Not sure I understand how that helps, but, the timing seems right.

    Additionally, it's interesting that NYCDOE was supposed to release "technicals" on our MOSLs at the end of January. They have not done so. The latest ETA is in two weeks. But, why the delay? I mean, they gave us our scores in October.

    1. Expect the ususal NYSED pattern of Motion to Dismiss, inadequate discovery exchanges, and mammoth Motion for Summary Judgement. NY Teacher (below) has two very good tips.

    2. Hmm. So , this strategy is just pro-forma? Couldn't judge hold NYSED on contempt for inadequate discovery? What is a Summary Judgement?

  7. NYSED has a legal vulnerability regarding testing that could easily bring down the use of scores for teacher evaluation.

    Two simple and related questions to ask the Pearson test developers:

    1) What evidence can you present that the Pearson math and ELA tests were developed for the purpose of accurately and reliably measuring "teacher effectiveness"?

    2) Please explain how the Pearson math and ELA tests feature "instructional sensitivity". Provide evidence to show that all outside influences (such as prior knowledge or pre-requisite skill deficiencies) were nullified through proper item development, so as to insure each and every test item related to the specifics of individual teacher/grade level instruction.

    The bottom line is that these tests were never intended to measure teacher effectiveness and Pearson has zero evidence to present in such a defense. In fact, Pearson would have to admit that NYSED did not request "instructionally sensitive" tests.

    1. It should be relatively easy to sue Pearson and win in Federal court assuming there is a fair trial. The US government and legal system is so political and ideologically driven , that it is impossible to predict that outcome is fair. It depends on who is the judge more than the obvious merits of the case.

    2. Would be gratifying to sue Pearson. But, IMO suing the state seems like direct approach to stopping this garbage.

  8. RBE

    If a teacher was rated Ineffective last year is their salary frozen?
    That is if 60% was Effective and State and Local we're Ineffective
    No seems to know

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  10. These are some of the little exams which does used to provide something good to our own and we would almost feel more reliable with some other evident results.