January 14, 2004
Teachers Give First Round of Assessments Low Marks
The results of our survey on the first 9 Week Assessments more than support what the adm
inistration is saying about the tests: that they are a "work in progress" and need a lot of work. Nearly two hundred teachers responded to the survey. The Assessments are designed to test studentsí knowledge of the curriculum as prescribed in pacing guides in each of the four major academic areas. Although half of the teachers surveyed agreed that the use of a pacing guide could be an effective instructional tool, 65% of them said they were unable to keep up with the guide over the nine week period, and 89% said they had no time to re-teach skills kids didn't get the first time around. The assessments were sharply criticized; slightly more than one-half of the respondents indicated that there were questions on the test not covered in the pacing guide, and a whopping 70% said test items were worded in a manner that kids could not understand.
Composite Results (All Subjects)
Item % Strongly Agree % Agree % Disagree % Strongly Disagree
|Questions covered the curriculum in the pacing guide||12.5||36.2||32.2||19.1|
|I was able to keep up with the pacing guide||7.2||
|The pacing guide left me no time to re-teach skills||58.7||30.0||7.3||4.0|
|I had sufficient materials to teach the curriculum||5.9||39.7||28.5||25.8|
|Amount of curriculum matched my studentsí abilities||1.3||15.3||43.4||40.0|
|Test questions were worded in a way students understood||3.3||26.2||46.3||24.0|
|I am aware of the purpose for giving the assessments||18.2||54.7||18.2||8.9|
|Rubrics too subjective to compare student performance||28.7||44.1||23.1||4.1|
|Pacing guide and assessments are effective instructional strategies||15.1||34.2||32.9||17.8|
|Time spent on grading the assessments||2 hrs. or less
|7 or more hrs.
Teacher responses were consistent across the four subject areas on six of the ten survey questions. On four questions, they differed drastically. 79% and 57% of science and math teachers respectively said that the assessment questions were covered in the pacing guide. However, only 35% of the Language Arts teachers and a scant 29% of the Social Studies teachers agreed that test questions matched the curriculum! Social Studies teachers were the least satisfied with instructional materials. 77% of them said they did not have sufficient materials to teach the curriculum. Math teachers (67%) were the most satisfied, but less than half of the Language Arts teachers (45%) and Science teachers (44%) believed they had adequate teaching materials. On the critical question about the wording of assessment questions, only 6% of the Social Studies teachers who responded felt their kids understood the questions. Although not good, responses from the other subject areas to this question were higher (Science, 21%; Language Arts, 32%; and Math, 58%). It took Science teachers the longest to grade the assessments. Half of them spent more than four hours on the job. 32% of Language Arts teachers, 21% of Social Studies teachers and 19% of Math teachers spent more than four hours grading the tests.
We will continue asking for teacher feedback on the 9 Weeks Assessments as the year goes on. Based on the first round of testing, it appears the only way to go is up.
Finally, a Public School-Friendly Candidate!
Former Superintendent BrIan Williams Seeks Ohio Legislature Seat
Former APS Superintendent BrIan Williams is a candidate for the 41st District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. Williams retired from his position with APS two years ago. He will face two opponents in the March Democratic primary election.
The AEA Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed BrIan at its January 14 meeting. This is a tremendous opportunity for teachers to help take back the 41st District seat that is currently occupied by the "other" BrYan Williams, who most recently waged an ugly campaign in an effort to unseat Mayor Plusquellic. BrYan Williams is being term-limited out of the position. If BrIan can prevail in both the primary and general elections, the 41st District will go from being one of the most anti-public school seats to one of the most pro public school seats in the Ohio House. The 41st District includes much of Akronís Ward 8, parts of Ward 8 in Cuyahoga Falls, Copley Township, Fairlawn, Norton and most of the villages and townships in northern Summit County.
We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines during this campaign. Please refer to the box at the right to learn how you can help BrIan win the primary.