One Knox County school board member described the Tennessee Department of Education as an “abject failure” when it comes to measuring student outcomes and teacher effectiveness while another suggested there was “plenty of incompetence” to go around at the Department.
Sandra Clark in KnoxTNToday.com reported on a School Board meeting in which board members expressed frustration with the Tennessee Department of Education’s implementation of Pre-K and Kindergarten portfolios.
According to Clark’s story, members of the Knox County School Board directed Director of Schools Bob Thomas to send a strongly-worded letter to Commissioner McQueen about the problems with this year’s portfolio evaluation.
The Knox County meeting came as the DOE was putting out information casting blame on teachers for the portfolio problems.
While the state DOE repeatedly misses deadlines and frequently changes portfolio and testing vendors due to a range of issues, whenever a problem occurs with testing or evaluation, everyone is to blame EXCEPT leaders at the Department.
Now, with a new vendor coming on-board by August 24th, teachers are starting the year without guidance on portfolios. In fact,
Of course, teachers will be trained — but the training will happen during the school year and be on the teacher’s own time.
According to the document titled “TEAM Portfolio: Implementation Survey Action Brief” provided by the DOE:
Regional Teacher Trainings for Early Grades Portfolios Fall 2018 Fall trainings will provide teachers an opportunity to network and learn more about the portfolio platform, purposeful sampling, and developmentally-appropriate use of scoring rubrics.
Content-specific Webinars Ongoing
Throughout the year, the department will provide teacher-led, content-specific webinars that showcase exemplars and improve practice. •
Math Standards Guidance Document Spring 2019
To support teachers in developing in-depth, conceptual understanding of math standards, this guidance document will highlight the standards and scoring rubrics included in the early grades portfolios.
Yes, you read that correctly — the Math Standards Guidance Document will be available sometime in Spring 2019. That’s after the teachers have had students in class for months and well after the recommended time for collecting evidence for “Point A” of a portfolio.
Also, while it sounds nice that DOE is offering this (uncompensated) training, it should be pointed out that the portfolio is moving to a new platform AND that the DOE has a track record of missing deadlines.
Will teachers receive relevant, useful training in time to actually help them meet portfolio requirements? Unfortunately, that’s unclear. The evidence from this past year suggests that answer is NO.
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