For the past few years, teachers of reading and math at grades 4-8 have received value-added ratings based on the collective performance of their classes of students, with those ratings being used as a key part of their individual evaluation ratings under the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System for the past two.  While most people understand that the ratings are generated from calculations based on state test results, the exact process by which teachers obtain these ratings is often misunderstood.

Teachers are supposed to participate in an online process called “Roster Verification” or “Linkage” each spring.  Through Roster Verification, teachers are given the opportunity to ensure that the list of students that they taught over the course of the year is accurate, identifying when students might have entered or left their class and what percentage of the instruction they provided to each student in that subject area (e.g., if two teachers provided reading instruction for a student for an equal time throughout the year, each teacher would record that they provided “50%” of the instruction).  The process of Roster Verification is intended to allow teachers to receive the most accurate value-added rating as possible by setting up an accurate record of the students they taught over the course of the school year instead of simply following the school/district model that may not reflect students who switched districts or schools throughout the year (maybe even just before testing).

This year, while the tests are switching from the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) over to PARCC, the process of Roster Verification and subsequent assignment of teacher-level value-added ratings is expanding to include more subjects and more teachers, so we felt it was important to bring to light the apparent option that school districts have been given to leave teachers out of this process.

First, the additional tests.  In addition to the traditional linking of reading and math grades 4-8, the following courses (i.e., tests) are also being administered and linked for the purposes of assigning the teachers a value-added rating (if the PARCC results ever come back next year):

  • Grades 5 and 8 Science
  • Grade 6 Social Studies
  • English I for high school credit
  • Algebra I for high school credit
  • Integrated Math I for high school credit
  • Physical Science for high school credit

It is important that teachers of these subjects are aware of the Roster Verification process that is typically led by the building principal, whose part begins on March 23 when initial rosters are set up (teachers and the classes they teach).  On April 15, teachers then have approximately four weeks to make sure their roster of students reflects who they taught over the course of the year.  Finally, the principal then is supposed to clean up any errors and submit the final rosters for the entire building (if the system is set up properly, teachers should receive a notification of any changes to their rosters).  This process existed well before value-added results were used for evaluation purposes and is intended to be a collaborative effort between administration and teaching staff to ensure the most accurate data possible.

This year, however, it appears as though ODE is explicitly giving superintendents a “choice” about participating in the Roster Verification process (and not for the good of teachers).

From the ODE website:

RV_Option

The linked Word document is shown below.  Look at the section we have highlighted in red at the bottom of the page.

INTENT-TO-PARTICIPATE-FORM_2015

That last sentence is very important for teachers whose students are in these tested grades/subjects.  In order for these teachers to have the opportunity to confirm their accurate rosters of students, the district superintendent (or Community School or ESC administrator) must submit this document to ODE by March 6.

In years past, if schools/teachers neglected to complete the Roster Verification, teachers received ratings not based on an accurate picture of their class as it might have changed over the course of the school year (teachers in high-mobility schools can attest to a drastically evolving list of students), but instead based on student enrollment data submitted by the school/district at one point in time.  In this scenario, teachers lose their right to confirm an accurate roster and receive a skewed value-added rating that could be up to 50% of their overall evaluation!

In other cases in the past – and this is even weirder – a school that didn’t do ANY part of the Roster Verification process ended up without a single value-added rating for teachers who taught the tested grades and subjects.  While many teachers might like to gamble that this would occur in their case, most teachers deserve the opportunity to have the chance to at least confirm that the students whose test results are being used to form up to half of their overall evaluation rating are actually the students they taught over the course of the school year.

Those teachers being assigned a rating based on shared attribution, well, you’re SOL at the moment and still being evaluated wrongly.  If HB64 passes as is, however, you’ll have a lot more company soon.

If you’re a teacher whose students will be taking one of the new tests — Elementary and Middle School Tests: Grades 4-8 – English Language Arts and Mathematics; Grade 5 and 8 – Science; Grade 6 – Social Studies; High School Credit End-of-Course Tests: Algebra I, Integrated Mathematics I, English I and Physical Science — then we suggest you contact your school or district leadership to make sure that they have replied appropriately to ODE to allow you the opportunity to confirm your roster.

After all, it’s YOUR evaluation (mostly).

 

 

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