Beginning proficiency level: 7th Grade Math

The following is a mid-year post-observation conversation between Jeff and his PD.

Support materials:

Conversation Between PD and CM

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Three BP ratings equal an overall BP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The alignment between role models’ messages and the ideals of persistence and academic success.

Ensures that role model conveys message of persistence or academic success

Ensures that role model conveys message of persistence and academic success

Ensures that role model conveys messages of extraordinary persistence and academic success

Strand 2: The extent to which students are able to interact with role models and extract meaning and inspiration from their stories.

Enables students to learn role models' stories through occasional exposure

Enables students to gain frequent and meaningful exposure to role models

Generates opportunities for students to work directly with role models

Strand 3: The number of students who have relevant role models.

Uses reasonably appropriate and relevant role models with whom at least some students can identify

Ensures almost all students have appropriate role models with whom they identify, based on an understanding of student sub-groups

Monitors individual students and ensures all have effective role models with whom they deeply identify


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: BPStrand 1: The alignment between role models’ messages and the ideals of persistence and academic success.

Why BP?

Jeff's role models both conveyed a message of academic success and the importance of school, but did not emphasize the persistence and hard work it took to achieve that success.

Why not AP?

The role models that Jeff invited did not convey messages of persistence. To achieve AP rank, he should have prepped his guest speakers on the messages he wanted them to emphasize, and explicitly mentioned that he wanted them to make a connection between their professional and financial success, and the hard work that made that success possible.

Rating: BPStrand 2: The extent to which students are able to interact with role models and extract meaning and inspiration from their stories.

Why BP?

  • Jeff only invites role models into the classroom occasionally (two in the first semester, with plans for two or three more the rest of the year). Since his students only get to interact with each speaker for 20 minutes, in a whole-group setting, their engagement is limited. He uses role models in an isolated, self-contained way.
  • His speakers seemed to focus more on giving an introduction to their professions, rather than on making meaningful connections with his students or to serve as inspiring examples of success.

Why not AP?

To elevate his guest lecture series to AP caliber, Jeff would need to both engage his role models in a deeper way, and/or infuse the classroom with examples of different types of role models. He could do this by finding math professionals willing to return to the classroom regularly and/or to share their work in a more in-depth and meaningful way (either by teaching math as a guest lecturer, by more explicitly teaching the math they use in their jobs rather than just describing the benefits of their professions, or by volunteering to work in the classroom or tutor so that students could develop meaningful relationships with them personally.)

Rating: BPStrand 3: The number of students who have relevant role models.

Why BP?

Jeff selects reasonably appropriate role models with whom some students can identify. He puts limited consideration into his students’ perspective on the role models. For example, it occurs to him to strive to include minorities, but he doesn't place enough importance on it to follow-through and ensure that he finds racially appropriate role models. Ultimately he doesn't seem to recognize the inherent limitations of using all male and mostly white role models. He chooses a venture capitalist because he thinks his students will be impressed by the large sums of money involved, but it doesn't occur to him that his students might not be that interested in the work of a pharmacist or an accountant.

Why not AP?

  • Jeff does not pay sufficient attention to selecting role models with whom several student subgroups can identify, as AP requires. By only selecting men, Jeff perpetuates the stereotype that girls aren't good in math, instead of actively choosing women who work in math-related fields who could serve as role models for his female students. By relying on mainly white math professionals, he risks alienating his mostly minority Latino students, who may already see math as a field that is less open to minorities. He also, perhaps problematically, assumes that an African-American will be inspiring to Latino students since they both represent minority subgroups.
  • Jeff does not sufficiently take student interests into account in selecting the role models to feature. In order to do so, he might have used a student interest survey with a list of 10 or 15 professions that require math skills, and allow students the option to choose the five that interest them the most.