If you thought Eric’s Story was the last word in the saga that is this year’s Kindergarten portfolio evaluation, you’d be wrong.
True to form, the Tennessee Department of Education has created another mess in the ongoing quest to catch and eliminate all those “bad teachers.”
In our previous visit to Kindergarten, here’s a bit of what we saw:
Moving on to the scoring process, each teacher self-scores the submitted portfolio. Then, another teacher evaluates. If the scores are more than two levels apart, an “expert” receives the portfolio to make a determination.
What do those experts have that the initial teacher evaluating did not? First, a willingness to assess even more portfolios. Second, “guidance” from the Tennessee Department of Education.
The initial portfolios were to be evaluated by May 15th. Then, the portfolios with score disputes go on to the “experts.”
Here’s the latest challenge: Portfolio evaluators were to evaluate 40 collections (10 portfolios) in order to complete their paid assignment. These teachers were paid $500 from the state for what was estimated to be 15 hours of work. Kindergarten teachers who are evaluators indicate the process takes more like 40-45 hours of work. At the end of May, as school years ended around the state, many portfolio evaluators had also completed their assessment of a minimum of 40 collections. Or so they thought.
Here’s an email a number of evaluators recently received (I have a copy of one sent June 1st):
Dear Peer Reviewer,
Based on the most current Educopia reports, you have not made progress in completing your commitment of 40 collections (=10 portfolios). Not completing this commitment may affect your stipend and/or future leadership opportunities in the portfolio work.
If you have questions and/or concerns, please let us know how we can assist you. If you are no longer able to review, you must notify your district point of contact.
Here’s an earlier email noting the expectations (sent April 25th):
Dear Peer Reviewer,
Thank you so much for your contribution to the peer review process! As some of you have already started live scoring, you may have noticed that you are able to keep track of the number of your scored submissions (collections). As stated in the Peer Review General Training Overview, the workload expectation is that reviewers score 40 submissions (collections). In the event that collections continue to be sent to your rater que after you have met this expectation, please know that these will be recirculated to other peer reviewers for scoring.
Here’s the problem:
Evaluators receiving the first email (indicating they had not completed the required minimum number of evaluations) were provided information via Educopia (the online platform for submitting/evaluating portfolios) saying they had completed evaluation of at least 40 collections.
Why are these same evaluators being told they have more work to do and also told the state is coming for their money?
Further investigation indicates that Educopia counted “practice” evaluations toward the initial total of 40. So, teachers conducting evaluations believed they had completed the process when some had as many as six actual portfolios remaining.
Now, the Department of Education is left with a number of unrated portfolios while evaluating teachers believe they are finished (and most likely have been paid).
Imagine that… the Tennessee Department of Education utilizing an online assessment platform that fails to deliver expected results!
Now, the question is: Will they come after teachers to claw back the meager stipends? How will the remaining portfolios be evaluated, or will they be evaluated at all?
Stay tuned…it’s still early this summer and the deadline for completion of this portfolio assessment has been extended until June 30th.
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I just found this as I was researching the Educopia platform to see if I could log in to retrieve my peer reviewed scores. I was also a peer reviewer. The entire system is flawed and the $500 stipend does not even begin to compensate anyone for the hours spent on reviewing these portfolios. This portfolio is not even a true measurement of our student’s overall growth or our ability to teach. (In contrast, I work for an educational company and we score educator portfolios in various content areas, including administrator portfolios. They take 30-45 min each. We are paid around $22 per hour!) The author of this article stated that it was likely we’d been paid the stipend already….not only have I not received the PD points that were promised to reviewers for last SY, I have yet to receive the stipend promised this year and the points for this year!!!!! I inquired about it and was told that they have not completed scoring! SMH SAD