Beginning proficiency level: 11th Grade English

Stephanie’s big goal is: 100% of my students will pass the Regents exam with a score of 80% or higher.

Support materials:
Audio clip #219 or Transcript
Conversation With Observer (Excerpt)

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Two BP strands equal an overall BP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The Big Goal’s appropriateness for all students, reasoned ambitiousness, and sources.

Adopts a broad, generic goal that aspires to be ambitious and feasible for the entire class and achieves that balance for at least half of the teacher’s students

Designs a goal that is both ambitious and feasible for most students, based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals

Designs feasible, highly ambitious goals that require intense work from each and every student, based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals

Strand 2: The teacher’s understanding of how accomplishing goals will demonstrate mastery of standards and increase students’ opportunities in life.

Describes how the goal is aligned to key standards and identifies a basic tool of measuring achievement of the goal.

Describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards, explains broadly what students should know, understand or be able to do in order to achieve the goal, and cites the necessary assessment tools (e.g. achievement tests, performance-based assessments, etc.) that will be most meaningful to students’ lives when measuring the different facets of the goal

Describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards, explains the specific and prioritized knowledge and skills that each student will need to master in order to reach the goal – including pre-requisites – and cites a specific set of balanced measurement tools to measure different facets of the goal that will be most meaningful to students’ lives


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: BPStrand 1: The Big Goal’s appropriateness for all students, reasoned ambitiousness, and sources.

Why BP?

The teacher "adopts a broad, generic goal that aspires to be ambitious and feasible for the entire class and achieves that balance for at least half of the teacher’s students." The teacher’s goal is "100% of my students will pass the Regents exam with a score of 80% or higher." This goal is a combination of the school's goal that students in 11th grade pass the Regents exam in order to graduate and Teach For America's definition of significant gains for high school students of 80% mastery of grade-level content. Given students’ standardized test scores from the previous year indicate that "half of students were within a year and a half to two years behind," it can be inferred that mastering 11th grade content would be ambitious and feasible for at least half of the class.

Why not AP?

The teacher does not determine her goal "based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals." Although the teacher uses several data sources to determine her goal including grades, standardized test scores from the previous year, and writing samples, the teacher has not administered a diagnostic and has not used any of these sources to differentiate her goal for sub-groups in her class. Given that "another quarter of students were three to four years behind, the rest were farther" according to last years' standardized test scores, it is likely that diagnostics would have indicated the need for different mastery targets for different sub-groups of students.

Rating: BPStrand 2: The teacher’s understanding of how accomplishing goals will demonstrate mastery of standards and increase students’ opportunities in life.

Why BP?

The teacher "describes how the goal is aligned to key standards." In the audio clip, she explains that the New York State Regents exam covers almost all of the 11th grade English standards; therefore students passing the regents exam with an 80% or better would represent mastery of most standards (i.e., "My students are 11th graders, and that means they have to take the 11th grade State Test, which is the NY State English Regent. This test encompasses almost all of the NY State English standards, which means that they will be writing essays, they will be responding to literature, they will be responding to fiction and non-fiction, and a listening passage.")

The teacher "identifies a basic tool of measuring achievement of the goal," the NY State Regents exam.

Why not AP?

Some of the evidence in this example does meet the AP bar. The teacher takes into account which "tools of assessment will be most meaningful to students’ lives" in selecting her tool of measurement. The teacher selects passage of the NY State Regents exam as her class goal because she recognizes the urgency of having her 11th graders pass this exam so that they may graduate from high school. This will clearly increase their life opportunities (i.e., "Well, my goal, my big goal is that 100% of my students will pass the Regents. It's extremely important that they do this because they can't graduate unless they pass this exam. And they're reaching the point, at the end of the 11th grade, where they don't have very much time to do this, if they don't do it by the time they finish my class. So the goal is to get all of them to go ahead and pass early on so they don't have to worry about it the next year.").

However, other evidence indicates that this big goal is not AP. The teacher does not explain "broadly what students should know, understand, or be able to do in order to achieve the goal." She describes the knowledge and skills her students will need to master in order to pass the Regents exam as follows, "I need my students to be analyzing literature, they need to be reading and responding to all kinds of passages, listening and responding and writing amazing essays." Skills such as "analyzing literature" are overly broad and vague to meet the AP bar. The teacher would need to describe more specific skills her students would need to master and how mastery of these skills will look different than non-mastery.

In addition, the teacher does not cite "the necessary tools to measure different facets of the goal (e.g. achievement tests, performance-based assessments, etc.)." While the teacher does identify several assessments that she will use to track students progress toward the goal of passing the Regents exam, ultimately all the tools she cites to assess mastery evaluate only the skills assessed on the Regents exam, despite the fact that she states that the Regents exam "encompasses almost all of the NY State English standards," but not all. There is insufficient evidence that the teacher has a plan for how she will assess the standards not covered on the exam.