Advanced proficiency level: 10th Grade Math

Support materials:
Email exchange with Evaluator and Article

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Two AP ratings plus one E rating equal an overall AP 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: APStrand 1: The alignment between role models’ messages and the ideals of persistence and academic success.

Why AP?

  • Dana's college role models convey messages of persistence and academic success, largely because Dana explicitly trains them to emphasize these messages. (According to one tutor, "Dana insisted that we make it really clear how hard we studied to get into Rice, how hard we have to work once we're there, and to make constant connections to the payoffs that come from that hard work.") As students at a highly competitive college, the role models themselves embody academic success.
  • Dana's role models "reinforce students’ belief that they can and want to succeed academically," as evidenced by the two students quoted in the article ("I thought you had to be just ridiculously super smart and upper class to go to Rice, but now that I've gotten to know some of them I understand that they just worked really hard. It makes me think I can do it too." And ""I never really thought that a college like Rice was an option for someone like me. But now, I totally feel like I could do it").

Why not E?

  • While some of the role models may indeed have extraordinary messages of persistence and academic success, there is no evidence that these messages are specifically highlighted or sought after. The purpose of her program rather, seems to highlight how attainable academic success is and how ordinary (not extraordinary) it is for African-American students to achieve at the highest levels. Dana relies on role models who, for the most part, implicitly and explicitly convey strong message of persistence and academic success, but do not necessarily convey extraordinary messages.

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

Why E?

Dana's tutoring program enables a third of her students to work directly with role models, in small groups of three students. They receive consistent and ongoing exposure to the role model mentors who visit the classroom regularly.

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

Why AP?

Dana's program ensures that almost all students have appropriate and relevant role models with whom they identify, and pays particular attention to student sub-groups. One-third of her students have tutors that are specifically matched for them based on gender, background and general interest. The remaining two-thirds are exposed to both Josie Washington (who conducts regular PSAT math prep sessions), and the assortment of other Rice in-class tutors and guest lecturers of varying backgrounds. It seems safe to assume that amongst this variety almost all of her students would have someone with whom they identify. Furthermore, Dana goes out of her way to find role models who share her students’ African-American racial identity and culture.

Why not E?

Dana ensures that one-third of her students have role models with whom they deeply identify. In order to earn an E rank for this Strand, she would need to ensure that all of her students are provided with role models that resonate for each of them individually.