Nam Phuong Pho
A 5th grade teacher at Arlington Heights 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, Pho ranked:
- Less effective than average overall.
- Less effective than average in math. Students of teachers in this category, on average, lost about 4 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
- Less effective than average in English. Students of teachers in this category, on average, lost about 3 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
Pho's LAUSD teaching history
2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years
- Arlington Heights Elementary, 2009 - 2004
Nam Pho's Response:
I taught in a school, in a system, where social promotion almost always supersedes standards-based promotion. Consequently, every year my class was composed of students with an overwhelmingly wide range of abilities. Even though I was assigned one grade level, I felt obligated to cover previous grade-level standards, while introducing new grade-level content and skills, modifying for those behind, and adding complexity for those few advanced.
The results for the last two years I taught are thus: In 2008, my class came in with a mean scaled score of 355 on the 4th grade English test and 370 on the 4th grade math test. After a year with me, the class had a mean scaled score of 354 on the 5th grade English test and 383 on the 5th grade math test. In 2009, my class came in with a mean scaled score of 330 on the 4th grade English test and 304 on the 4th grade math test. After a year with me, the class had a mean scaled score of 324 on the 5th grade English test and 341 on the 5th grade math test. Even though I don’t have the data readily available for the previous years, the trend is similar: students hover in English and increase slightly in math.
I can accept that I may not have been as effective as other LAUSD teachers, whose class compositions may or may not have been similar to mine, in preparing my students for the 5th grade state tests. However, I DO NOT appreciate the LA Times implying, with their “less effective” ranking, that I was in negligent in tending to my students’ education. While essentially teaching a multi-grade-level class, I worked hard and long hours (much longer than my contracted time) to meet my students’ learning needs. The standardized test scores, on which my label is based, represent one snapshot of a narrow set of standards covered in my classroom.
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.