Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Welcome to SLO World

I guess I have to come to the conclusion that I am not a blogger.  I had good intentions and high hopes when I first started this blog, but, although the spirit was willing, the flesh
was weak.  Along with that, I have entered an alternate reality that I call "SLO world."

In Ohio, we have been frantically trying to implement this process known as Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).  Ironically, the process is not really about students or learning or even objectives.  It's about measuring teachers because, apparently, we need to quantify teachers by some number that is supposed to magically inform us on whether the teacher is Most Effective or, God forbid, Least Effective.  The way we do this is to have the teacher select or create an assessment with other "content experts," decide what score our students will attain on the assessment at the end of the year (note:  we have no idea), and then give the test in April to see the percentage of students who hit our arbitrary target.  I'm not kidding.  That's how we tell if a teacher is "most effective" in Ohio.  This randomly chosen target becomes 50% of a teacher's evaluation and so the stakes are pretty high to guess correctly.

All along the path for this process, we have become accustomed to receiving the training to do the work well after the work is expected to be done.  Last year, all teachers were advised to write at least one SLO, but the training to even have an idea what an SLO was didn't start until January (train the trainer) with training for general staff running in February through May.  Kind of hard to write an SLO when you aren't told what one is until it's due.  For another example, common assessments had to be administered early this fall so that we could develop the targets and have them approved by November.  And yet the training for how to build good assessments is just now rolling out.  All SLOs should have been completed by now because the date they are all supposed to be written and approved is November 30 and yet the training for how to actually write an SLO for special education teachers is next month.

The internet has several satirical sites that used to be funny.  Remember Mad Magazine back in the day?  Today on the internet, we have the Onion, Call the Cops, and the Duffle Blog - sites that humorously lampoon real news events with satirical pieces.  The trouble today is that one legitimately can't tell the difference between satire and reality. Welcome to "SLO world."



  2. Ha! Or building the plane in air: