Two Northeast Ohio teachers whose valued-added scores are among the top 25 statewide say they don’t consciously aim to score well.
“It just happens by doing my job,” said Carrie Marochino, a fifth-grade math teacher at the intermediate school in the Green School District. “I worry about students doing well.”
Her colleague and fellow fifth-grade math teacher, Adam Hartman, said that although he reviews detailed state reports about each of his students at the start of every school year to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, he doesn’t do it to beef up his value-added rating.
This series about valued-added, a new way that Ohio is using to measure whether teachers provide a year’s worth of learning to their students, is the result of a partnership between The Cleveland Plain Dealer and StateImpact Ohio. StateImpact reporters Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkovszky worked with Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O’Donnell and Plain Dealer data analysis editor Rich Exner to produce these stories.
- Overview: Using Data To Evaluate Teachers
- Pay vs. Value-Added Performance
- Secrets Of Two “Most Effective” Teachers
- Value-Added’s Poverty Factor
- How is Value-Added Calculated?
- Audio: Measuring Performance Through Growth
- Audio: Push for Performance Pay
- Video: Guide to Ohio’s New Way of Evaluating Teachers
That often means staying behind on breaks and lunch hours or after school to work with students who are struggling.
Both teachers note that the advanced math classes they teach cover material well beyond the standard fifth-grade curriculum.
Their principal at Green Intermediate School, Mark Booth, said he thinks some of the teachers’ success in value-added rankings is because they teach math in 90-minute blocks, teach a single subject instead of multiple ones from fourth grade on and don’t often have to switch grades or subjects.
“We keep teachers in the areas where they can thrive and become experts for longer periods of time,” Booth said.
Hartman, for example, has taught fifth-grade math each of his nine years in the district.
“Teaching the same grade level has really allowed me to familiarize myself with the standards and indicators of what kids are learning,” he said. “If I had been flip-flopping from one grade level to the next or from math one year to reading the next, it would be more difficult.”
Marochino taught multiple subjects for 10 years but has spent the last four teaching only fifth-grade math.
Both teachers see advantages and drawbacks of using value-added in teacher ratings.
Hartman thinks it can motivate teachers to try to do better but worries that out-of-class issues can make a teacher look bad.
“I can control the things that go on in my classroom, but when there are things that go on at home, I can’t control those,” he said.
Marochino thinks teachers need to be evaluated, just like other professionals. But she said she worries that basing so much of a teacher’s evaluation on students’ performance on state tests is unfair, especially when some students don’t try hard on those tests.