Monday, August 19, 2013

SLOs (not to be mispronounced "slow") and other things to prove I'm teaching

Today, I officially began writing my SLO (Student Learning Objectives).  I have been in meetings since March about these looming documents.  I've grappled with student growth measures, data, and how to best assess my students for this state mandated, district run teacher evaluation quality.
These SLOs are a lot of paperwork to prove that my students are growing in their learning. We are required to choose a standard, create a pre-test over that standard, analyze the data from the pre-test, create a tiered growth measure to show how much students should learn in the next few months, and then in March give a post test where students hopefully show the adequate growth you predicted in your growth measure tiers.  I love all the pieces to this and it is what I'm trying to do in my classroom all year when my students track their learning with pre assessments and post assessments.   In theory, SLOs are great; however, no one can agree on how it will work and the state keeps giving districts new information. Basically, as my district curriculum director put it, "They are building the plane while flying it."

Needless to say, this has been a lot of stress on districts and teachers.  I have a two inch binder billowing with papers on SLOs. (Maybe all the paperwork is why no one can agree on all the qualities that make up an SLO).  I walked into my meetings today in a bundle of stress - I literally could not stop shaking.  It might have been the extra strength coffee, though.  I spent my morning creating a pre-assessment and my short afternoon creating the SLO itself.  Creating the SLO itself was not difficult and the pre-assessment just required some mulling and collaborating by my colleagues and me.  Overall, the amount of stress and paperwork applied to the SLO process made it much more daunting than it was.... however, it's not done yet!

What is your state and/or district doing to evaluate its teachers and analyze its students with the new Common Core Standards and imminent PARCC exams??

Tomorrow I'm off to district and staff meetings and students arrive Wednesday!  Tomorrow, in leu of Tech Tuesday - I will have a tour of my classroom including how I'm integrating technology into my beginning days! :)

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