Friday, January 15, 2016

How Do I Measure Growth?

In the next couple of days, I will receive data on my students from their standardized online reading assessment. This test has the power to prove they are gifted in reading, that they have made adequate growth over the past few months, and determine if they are on track to meet year-end targets. According to the state, my students' scores will reflect how well I do my job. These scores will be plotted and recorded and used for future planning, and will not know nearly as much about the children as I do.

The scores will not reflect the child who raised his hand, asked if he had to read the entire passage, then complained that it was too long and said he didn't feel like it, so he clicked on an answer and moved on to see if he could find a question with less reading. It will not show the kid who got frustrated after the first five minutes because every time she asked for help, I couldn't offer help so she just clicked away until finally the torture was over. The data will not mention that the test text is not engaging and there are no pictures, yet in an effective classroom real books with those very components will be used on a daily basis. It will not take into consideration the number of students who are comfortable reading on a screen and using a laptop vs. the students who have had considerably less time using technology.

So when the scores are revealed, a lot will be "discovered" about my students and me, and I'll let others dissect it. I have data that is far more valuable. I have students that at the beginning of the year wouldn't pick up a book, and today, they come up to me and say,"I just finished this book! What should I read next?!!" There are students that at the beginning of the year wouldn't engage in read-alouds that now raise their hands to share their thoughts, and students that wave their hands madly in the middle of a story because they have a connection or insight that they have to share before I turn the page and read further. I have students that come up to me first thing in the morning and ask if they can share with the class the book they read last night because others might want to read it. Every. Single. Day. Kids eager to read. Eager to share. That is how I measure growth.