These graphs show a teacher's "value-added" rating based on his or her students' progress on the California Standards Tests in math and English. The Times’ analysis used all valid student scores available for this teacher from the 2003-04 through 2009-10 academic years. The value-added scores reflect a teacher's effectiveness at raising standardized test scores and, as such, capture only one aspect of a teacher's work.
The red lines show The Times’ value-added estimates for this teacher. Barger falls within the “least effective” category of district teachers in math and within the “least effective” category in English. These ratings were calculated based on test scores from 19 students.
Because this is a statistical measure, each score has a degree of uncertainty. The shading represents the range of values within which Barger’s actual effectiveness score is most likely to fall. The score is most likely to be in the center of the shaded area, near the red line, and less likely in the lightly shaded area. Teachers with ratings based on a small number of student test scores will a have wider shaded range.
The beige area shows how the district's 11,500 elementary school teachers are distributed across the categories.
These are not my scores. These 19 students are from a 3rd grade class at Alta Loma Elementary School. I was a substitute teacher in this class. I arrived as a substitute two weeks prior to state testing. Their teacher had become sick early in the year. This began a string of at least 50 substitutes for this class.
When I arrived just before state testing, there was total chaos. Almost no work had been completed in any of the workbooks. My take on it was that the entire school year had been lost for these students. I’m sure many tried, but when there is a new substitute every day for months on end, the class falls apart. When that happens, no one will stay. (One day and… no way!)
Because I am a credentialed teacher, they made me the teacher of record so that I could administer the state testing. I was still in a substitute position. Obviously, I never would I have dreamed that this situation would come back to reflect on me… and publically.
When the principal, Ms. Manzanera, asked me how I thought the testing had gone I replied, “Look… from what I saw the whole year had been lost. I got them calm and focused for testing; however it takes a year’s worth of learning and hard work to show a year’s worth of growth.” There was no other way to put it.
I had taught many years, and my scores always went up. Betty Castaneda, my principal for seven years at Los Feliz Elementary School wrote this on my letter of recommendation, “He always met the anticipated benchmarks for his students in their ongoing assessment and the test results for State Testing always showed that each student progressed from the previous year.”
Working hard and getting results has always been important to me. I was a business major in college. It makes sense to me that I should be able to see growth and success on state testing. If I don’t, I need to change something.
I also know that in two weeks, you cannot make up for a lost year. (It takes more than two weeks just to turn chaos into a real learning environment.)
Here is the letter Lisa Manzanera (Principal of Alta Loma in 2007) wrote me:
June 29, 2007
Thank you again for taking on this third grade class and so determinedly teaching them! I really honor and appreciate how much you care and how skillfully you teach! Their academic progress proves the point! Thanks again –
Entering this class, I immediately gathered work samples and documented what I saw. Two months later as school ended, I demanded that Liza Manzanera take home the before-and-after work samples. My success in that classroom was well documented.
I doubt I ever had a year where my State Testing results were not at least average. I care about them. They are important to me. (Even average can be hard when following excellent teachers!)
How could I not have thought about the consequences of being named the teacher of record for state testing in a classroom that had experienced at least 50 substitutes before I arrived? I had two weeks with these 19 students before state testing. I still have all the documentation. (Two months later, at the end of the year, I was still a substitute in that position; however I had become their teacher. The calmness of the class and their progress proved that. Ms. Manzanera, the principal, was witness to this.)