Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 07 2010

Relatively Worse

I’ve been told it was obvious from yesterday’s post, but I’ve been feeling like a terrible teacher lately and it really has me down.

It really started when I got back our latest standardized test scores. My scores were terrible. Lower than this time last year, lower than the previous test with these kids. I haven’t seen the district scores to compare, but I have a bad feeling that mine are lower than they should be there too. My management is better (isn’t it?) and my lessons are better (aren’t they?), but my test scores are worse? What does that mean? How is that happening?

Unfortunately, I do believe that you can judge teachers by their students’ test scores. I obviously think you should take scores in context and not expect every teacher to get perfect scores on every test with every kid, but I also think you should expect teachers make their students do at least relatively better. If my kids are suddenly doing relatively worse in my care, what exactly does that say about me?

3 Responses

  1. TX2011

    I’m a 2011 CM and obviously have no experience in what you’re going through right now, but if it helps you any, I’ve followed this blog for a while and you really seem to have the right attitude and to be taking the importance of your teaching to heart, even when it feels like crap to do it. I just want to let you know that your ownership of your kids’ success should make all of us very proud.

  2. Dave

    If the same kids tested lower than they did previously, I’d be pretty sure there were some extenuating factors. Either the tests were markedly different in difficulty, or some environmental problem: the building’s heat or A/C wasn’t working, they were tested at different times of day, there was a big game on TV the night before that half the kids parents watched until 1am, blurry copies of the test, etc.

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