Since I share pretty much everything about teaching that I can legally blog about, I figured I would go ahead and blog about my students’ STAAR scores. I don’t like to use numbers because we are all in very different situations and I don’t like teachers to compare themselves to other teachers who are in different situations. I also don’t like to be too specific to protect students’ privacy.
I happened to be staying home the day that scores were due to arrive. The first email we received only had the percentage of students that passed for each subject and the change from 2013 to 2014. I looked at the number and burst into tears. The passing percentage had gone down 1 percent.
Adam heard me crying.
Adam: What is going on?
Me: Scores are in.
Adam: It can’t be that bad.
Me: It’s awful. I’m a fraud. __% passed.
Adam: I’ve seen those kids’ writing. I’m surprised they could even read the test.
Me: Great, thanks. I had them for writing last year!!!!!
Adam walked away. I took a shower.
I checked the computer and got the individual scores for each student. It turns out my students didn’t do as badly as I thought once I matched the faces with the scores. I was very proud of how hard they worked and how it really had paid off for them. Some passed their very first STAAR test.
About an hour later, emails started rolling in from my Penguin Friends. They were thrilled with their scores and so thankful they used my materials this year. They saw significant increases in students’ scores. I love hearing good news, but I started comparing myself. I started crying again.
I moved on to making my spreadsheets. All is well in the world when I have a spreadsheet.
I changed the raw score to a percent score. I included all 3 STAAR scores, their beginning of year benchmark score, and March benchmark score. Some students had growth by over 60 points. Many increased by over 40 points! My inclusion kids did amazing.
The students I met with in small group for the few weeks between the benchmark and STAAR increased their score by an average of 16 points.
After focusing on progress rather than points, I felt a lot better. I am positive that there’s nothing more I could have done. Most of the students were pretty happy about their scores and I’m glad. Since I got a handle on myself (and had a spreadsheet), I told them how many points they had gained since the first assessment. A lot of them thought it was funny when they saw how much their scores had increased.
Can a test show everything that happened during a year? No.
Did most students enjoy my class? Yes.
Do most students like science? Yes.
Am I a crappy teacher? No.
Does anyone know less now than the they did on the first day of school? No.
Do I feel confident sending them to 6th grade science? Yes.
Everything is okay.