Marie Elena Berry
A 5th grade teacher at Lemay 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.
Compared with other Los Angeles Unified teachers on the value-added measure of test score improvement, Berry ranked:
- More effective than average 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.
- Average in English. Students of teachers in this category, on average, did not gain or lose significantly on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
Berry's LAUSD teaching history
2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years
- Lemay Street Elementary, 2009 - 2006, 2004 - 2003
Marie Berry's Response:
Most of your readers who check on this score will never read nor understand limitations involved with this study. You admit there is an inherent rate of error, but the average citizen will not read the entire article once they see a chart. Charts, diagrams, percentages and averages are highly misleading and never tell the entire story of each student. I would like more information on how you analyzed differences in a student's family life, whether they come from a single family home or have both parents around. There are economic differences which can greatly impact student performances. If the child comes from the home of an alcoholic or abusive parent, that can impact student performance at any time. A more involved parent will result in higher performance and your evaluations from the student's work and notes from parent/teacher conferences. Your chart assumes that every student who enters my classroom are all of the same skill level in regards to command of the
English language, knowledge of science and mathematics, and possessed of the same mental and age-appropriate faculties. No two students who enter my classroom are identical and thus not all will learn at the same rate. Identical twins are never identical and they were birthed by the same mother and father. Your article also assumes that the teachers who had the students before me were 100% effective in making sure the students reached the educational goals necessary for that grade level.
This is just a few of the many factors that affect student performance in education, almost all of which are beyond my control. All I can do with each incoming class is assess each student's individual level, determine what needs to be done to improve that level, and hope that when the students leave my classroom at the end of each day, they will continue at home to build on the lessons I have given them. If they don't do the work necessary, I cannot guarantee their success. Value-added may have a place in evaluation, but that should be between the teacher and the administrator. Please also know that all the teachers that I know already use test scores to evaluate their own methods and prepare for the new students coming in to their classrooms at the beginning of each year.
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.