New Evaluation System Has Flaws for AP Students

During Pre-school days and every LTM since, teachers have been training in the effectual use of the new Marzano system. The Learning goals, Rubrics, and Teacher evaluations are all signs of this new learning system.

All School districts in Florida are required to have a system of evaluation this year. Our system was created by Dr. Marzano. It is a perfectly designed system, if used for kindergarten. Many teachers who pop up in our minds as being the absolute best would not score well or at all on this system, because it is irrelevant for most high school classes.

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The 4.0 is classified as the level of “Innovating,” and it states that in order to receive this rating “in addition to scoring a 3.0 the teacher adapts and creates strategies for unique student needs and situations.” In high school, kids don’t take their parents to school anymore, but obviously they now want our teachers to be our parents, catering to the needs of each of their 150 students and making sure that everyone is where they need to be. Apparently they are also going to have students go to school twenty four seven, because if teachers have to do this, there will not be any time left for learning. The level 3.

0 on the scale asks that the teacher provide a “clearly stated learning goal accompanied by a scale (rubric),” and for the teacher to monitor “the students understanding of the learning goal and the levels of performance.” This rule was implemented with the thought that normally when a teacher teaches something, students are unsure as to whether or not they are expected to learn it, the learning goal is a perfect tool for rectifying this issue. It is also expected that all teachers take time to explain the learning goal and to refer back to it during the lesson. Dr. Marzano apparently thought it would be conducive to learning to stop the lesson and refer back to the learning goal and scale to tell students “where we are, and where we should be,” instead of actually getting there. Imagine the scenario of a Class Discussion, which is a tool often used by AP teachers to promote the involvement of all students and to encourage them to analyze the concept being studied.

Often times a Class discussion will take the whole period and one comment may provoke ten more people to come up with ideas. In an environment that is so deeply intellectual and where thoughts are flowing abundantly, it would be rather inopportune for the teacher to stop the discussion at different times to refer back to the learning goal of the day. A 2.0 requires that the teacher has provided the learning goal and scale to all students. In addition to a daily learning goal, evaluators must see that teachers have detailed weekly, chapter, or unit learning goals with a rubric for performance printed for every student.

They expected teachers to do this and also gave them less paper this year because of budget cuts. That’s right, because this system finds it more important that the students are told what they are supposed to learn instead of them learning it. A 1.0 will be the score given if the teacher does not monitor student performance, or uses the system incorrectly. To me “does not monitor students performance” means that a teacher did not speak to her students other than to teach the material, and that the teacher did not give any assessments, quizzes, tests, class work or activities.

To me, whenever a teacher asks if anyone has questions, or when they walk around and assist during a lab, or when they give any kind of grade at all, this is assessing student performance. To this date, there are no teachers who conduct their class without answering questions or giving grades. Despite this, there have been teachers who have received zeros on the scale, so obviously there is a new definition of ‘assessing performance”. There is also a score 0.0 which means that the teacher did not implement the system at all.

It is not taken into account that the students of teachers who receive a 0.0 probably learned the most because the teacher was not wasting time. Overall, the Marzano system can be applied to remedial classes quite well. In these classes, the students did not pass the FCAT in either math or Reading. The teacher gets an entire year to teach them how to pass one test.

Many times the students in these classes do need special attention and the small number of students in the class makes this possible. So clearly, the lowest level classes benefit the most, while the higher level classes cannot possibly function on a system like this. For any class that has a lot of information to be covered, or where analysis is a common aspect of class, this system doesn’t work. It is too time consuming, it is inconvenient, and it expects teachers to baby their students, but they should be able to do things on their own if they are getting ready for college. However irrelevant the scale may be, teachers are required to follow it.

If teachers don’t do all of this their sore will suffer, and along with it; their paycheck. What this means is a massive loss in teacher morale. The whole system is a joke, so everything the teacher talks about in regards to it is a waste of time. That month of Instruction time that AP students already lose because of the time of exams has been intensified, because now teachers lose instruction tome to the various tasks they have to do for this system. Teachers use more paper on rubrics and have to ask for donations or make students print out their own notes. Classes are interrupted by Evaluators, which supposedly are not supposed to disrupt class, but realistically, when the principal walks in the room, nobody is paying attention to the teacher anymore.

So, if you are a student, and you are not in remedial classes, you will notice your teachers being increasingly agitated at this new system. In addition, you will not learn as much because you won’t have time and you will have to permanently alter your mind to realize that “assignments” are anything that takes longer than a day, and “activities” are done only in class. Your right to free speech has been limited further, go figure. All we can hope for is that the school board will realize what a joke this system is, but student performance on AP exams, end of the year exams, and overall intelligence might have to decline before they realize it.