Joseph John Matthews

A 4th / 5th split teacher at State Street Elementary in 2009

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 2002-03 through 2008-09 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.

Overall value-added effectiveness

Math effectiveness

English effectiveness

Compared with other Los Angeles Unified teachers on the value-added measure of test score improvement, Matthews ranked:

  • Most effective overall.
  • Most effective in math. Students of teachers in this category, on average, gained about 11 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
  • More effective than average in English. Students of teachers in this category, on average, gained about 2 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.

Matthews' LAUSD teaching history

2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years

Joseph Matthews's Response:

According to your statistics I am in the top 5 to 10 percent of 3rd to 5th grade teachers in LAUSD.

However, I am the exactly the problem with test driven systems. I teach to the test. I do NOT teach music, art, health, computers, social skills, or literature. My students do not get to attend chorus. My students do not get to do projects. My classroom is ugly. There is no creativity in my classroom.

I knew this day was coming. The day that someone would take the mountain of test data we produce and start pointing fingers at teachers and summing up the totality of their professional career with a cute little chart like this one. Never mind I can see flaws in the numbers you quote in your article. The fact that you use wildly different and unrealistic numbers from example to example really makes me question the validity of your interpretations. Contrary to your inferences, teachers have been looking at this data for years, we do use it to guide instruction, and based on my years of experience, the numbers you quote in your article don't make sense.

Unfortunately, when you base the entire education system by judging schools, school districts, students, and teachers on one test a year; you create teachers like me: Teachers that do NOTHING other that teach to the test. My homework is xeroxed pages from test prep books and the month before the CST is me grinding students through pages of test release questions. Welcome to modern education. All hail the CST score. Welcome to the machine.

Yet somehow, I think America needs leaders and thinkers and not the drones my classroom produces. However, as long as my professional competency will be judged by the numbers on a single test, I will warp my entire curriculum to scratch and crawl for a few points gain, because that's what matters...right?

The Times gave LAUSD elementary school teachers rated in this database the opportunity to preview their value-added evaluations and publicly respond. Some issues raised by teachers may be addressed in the FAQ. Teachers who have not commented may do so by contacting The Times.

Do the ratings in this database reflect your experience or your child's experience in the teacher's classroom? Do you believe this is a helpful tool for parents?
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Los Angeles Teacher Ratings, the Los Angeles Times' database of value-added scores for Los Angeles Unified elementary schools and teachers.

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