Standardization

Selection_005I’ve had a lot on my mind to post about. I’ve just been too busy to actually post anything. A lot of exciting things are happening right now. However, I wanted to discuss a little bit of the opposite of that.

I just finished the Resident Educator Summative Assessment, or RESA for short (I love how this stupid buzzword “summative” still gets caught by my spell check).  In Ohio newly licensed teachers are required to go through a residency program. During this time the “resident educator” is paired up with a mentor teacher who helps guide the new and inexperienced teacher.

It’s a great idea… except it doesn’t work. The Ohio Department of Education is a bureaucracy. Therefore, in place of having a guiding figure to help and support new teachers, they get a standardized “test”. While it’s not a test per se, it’s the closest equivalent there is to having a teacher take a Common Core test. We’re required to record our classrooms, reflect on the lessons taught in the recording, submit evidence about our marking, and submit evidence that we communicate with parents, among other things. This, of course, is without any sort of feedback– which is quite hypocritical to say the least.

There is no evidence submitted, however, that a mentor has actually helped me out. In fact, in the 3 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve met my 3 different mentors only a handful of times (one of them I don’t want to ever meet again).

I’m not really complaining about all the work that I have to do (well I am, but it’s not the main point), I’m complaining about the system. This “system” that has been plaguing students and parents since NCLB was passed- the system which is only getting worse with Common Core- is now creeping its way up to assessing the teachers too. This “Summative Assessment” (seriously try spell checking it!) is just another hoop to jump through that doesn’t truly assess the quality of the educator.

Going through this process has made me wonder what’s next. Will something else come up in the future that will require even more of me and my peers? I don’t know, but I’ve seen people get dissuaded from the profession because of RESA, and although I don’t see myself actually leaving the profession anytime soon, I can’t deny that RESA has made me think about it.

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