I am sorry for my silence over the past day or so. It is that time of year when I am buried under final exams and grades.
We base our finals on the Regents Exams, New York State’s long-time standardized tests. As I grade these exams, I see more and more proof that “value added” will wreak havoc on the teaching profession here in NYC.
Most of my students are bombing their essays. At least a third of that group wrote excellent pieces that did not directly relate to the question being asked. The essay required an examination of two separate presidential decisions, including its reasons and impacts on history.
One student wrote a wonderful piece about Thomas Jefferson, tracing his career from the Declaration of Independence to his death on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was historically accurate and rich in detail learned from the class. Unfortunately, it missed the point of the essay and I had to grade it low as per the rubric.
But as I read these essays, I saw the true value added. They all know more than what they did before, much more. Many students who received low grades obviously retained tons of information. One student who is an English Language Learner and never wrote a full essay wrote 2 pages of decent history. The value added fundamentalists would disregard these inspiring signs of intellectual growth just so they can have an excuse to fire veteran teachers.
Well, it is 11pm on Sunday night and I still have around 90 essays to grade. These lazy teachers and their cushy schedules.
Enjoy the new week everybody. Things will be back to normal here in a day or two.