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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Say, can you CEI?

Carol at Bellringers is hosting this week's Carnival of Education, the Loosey-Goosey Edition of the Carnival, and it looks like a REALLY good one, full of great posts. My post about unreasonableness is there, holding its own, compared to other posts by comparable bloggers using similar online resources.

If you thought THAT was strangely worded, you should look into CEIs sometime.

For those of you sane people outside of the Dallas ISD, CEIs are Classroom Effectiveness Indices, and they are ostensibly used to measure a student's growth over the course of a school year.

However, they are currently being used for evil in several instances, and being used as the highest, if not sole, evaluation of some teachers.

Check out this article at the DMN blog today, and read some of the comments. It talks about the dreaded letter that many teachers have received or will receive, telling them that their CEIs show improvement in performance next school year, or your contract may be subject to non-were low last year, and that therefore, they are under close watch. "You will be expected to renewal at the end of the contract term."

Not unreasonably, many teachers are seeing this as a threat to their livelihood -- Shape up, or ship out!

Nevermind that this letter is being sent out NOW, with 6 weeks left in the current school year, despite the fact that last year's CEIs were published within the first 6 weeks of the year.

Nevermind that, according to the letter, THIS year's CEIs don't seem to matter.

Here's the really bothersome thing. Nobody can understand how these blasted things are computed! The guy who wrote the "formula" for calculating CEIs is long gone, probably laughing at the foolish people still using it, and nobody in the district can explain exactly how they are calculated. The only thing we hear is vague and generic.

"It's a measure of student growth, using data from previous years."

That's like someone asking about how nuclear reactors work and being told, "It involves energy, molecules, and the cosine."

For anyone who really wants a headache, follow this link to the explanation of how CEIs are computed. I consider myself a mathie, yet I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

Furthermore, it's pretty darn outrageous that we would be evaluated on this scale anyway. Student growth, predicted from one or two tests that they have taken, is the sole measure of how effective we are as teachers? Not to mention that the kids don't even take the same test in the 2nd and 3 grades! Let's just predict how many oranges Farmer Brown can grow this year, based on how many apples he grew last year!!

My understanding is that CEIs are only used in Dallas. Anybody outside of Dallas have anything similar to share?


Ben in TN said...

I wonder if the formula is similar to the one used in the NFL to calculate a quarterback's rating?

Ed U. Cater said...

C.E.I's S.U.K.

Mister Teacher said...

Ben, I think it's a LOT more convoluted...

Ed, just glad you don't teach spelling, buddy. :)