Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 07 2011

Does it take more learning to pass math than reading?

AIMS scores are out. I can’t really write about mine yet because I just don’t know what to say. They’re definitely bad, but I’m not sure if I should tear myself apart for them or start making excuses. I’m such a better teacher this year than last year, I know my kids learned dramatically more, and yet my scores are worse. What am I supposed to do with that?

What I will share is one interesting thing I learned in the “Is it harder to be a math teacher?” wars. (READ THIS, which is a double-dose of blogger awesomeness from both Ms. Math and Kool-Aid.) I’ve been on the fence up until this point, but I think my school has some data that helps support the “yes” side.

I’m looking at scores for two middle school teachers who left mid-year, one who taught reading and one who taught math. Given the amount of time each teacher or substitute taught and the amount of time each class was wildly out of control, I’d say the kids received roughly equal amounts of learning time. (I have other teachers from my school agreeing with that claim.) It was WAY less learning time than any child should receive over the course of an entire year, but it was at least about the same for both groups.

In the group with an absent reading teacher, 70% of the kids passed reading.

In the group with an absent math teacher, 10% of the kids passed math.

Does that say something about comparing math and reading teachers? (Or am I overanalyzing to defend my own scores?)

3 Responses

  1. AH

    Hmm, I would say that it’s hard to use that data to compare teachers unless you’ve looked at the rigor of the assessment. In my experience, reading assessments don’t actually assess what we want kids to be able to do with texts/ literature.

    Sorry to hear about your scores – do you get a breakdown by standard or learning goal or anything to further analyze?

  2. Ms. L

    I’m not making excuses, I’m giving you a data point. My reading scores were phenomenally better than my math scores. And we all know what I’m better at. So, I support your theory.

  3. G

    I’m in a non-testing grade, and also teach bilingual. My class math scores/averages were WAAAAAY better than the reading scores (in my grade, reading is taught in Spanish). I could be stating the obvious, but does language have something to do with it?

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