Teacher growth score “capricious” and “arbitrary”, judge rules
Holy crap, peoples! I’m feeling extremely corroborated this week, what with the ProPublica report on Monday and also the recent judge’s ruling on a teacher’s growth score. OK, so technically the article actually came out last week (hat tip Chris Wiggins), but I only found out about it yesterday.
Here’s what happened. A teacher named Sheri Lederman in Great Neck, New York got a growth score of 14 one year and 1 the next, even though her students did pretty well on state tests in both years.
Lederman decided to sue New York State for her “ineffective rating”, saying it was a problem of the scoring system, not her teaching. Albany Supreme Court justice Roger McDonough got the case and ruled last week.
McDonough decided to vacate her score, describing it as “arbitrary and capricious”. Here are more details on the ruling, taken from the article:
In his ruling, McDonough cited evidence that the statistical method unfairly penalizes teachers with either very high-performing students or very low-performing students. He found that Lederman’s small class size made the growth model less reliable.
He found an inability of high-performing students to show the same growth using current tests as lower-performing students.
He was troubled by the state’s inability to explain the wide swing in Lederman’s score from year to year, even though her students performed at similar levels.
He was perplexed that the growth model rules define a fixed percentage of teachers as ineffective each year, regardless of whether student performance across the state rose or fell.
This is a great start, hopefully we’ll see less growth models being used in the future.
Update: here’s the text of the decision.