Buyer’s Remorse

Schools around the valley are analyzing their long awaited AIMS results. For the past two years I have had a positive experience analyzing our results. We have seen steady growth in all grade levels in math and reading for two years in a row. Why would this year be any different?

All year we have tracked our common formative assessments, and analyzed our benchmark data. We’ve run Intervention Alerts, Developmental Profiles, and the king of all reports-the Aggregate Multi Test Report.We’ve administered pre-tests, post tests, quarterly, mid-year, and summative tests. In addition, we have administered formative tests that span every 5 to 7 days to ensure that students are demonstrating proficiency. All guide posts showed that our trajectory was on track for improvement. Why would our AIMS results paint a different picture?

And so the moment arrived, and the numbers were in front of me. Hard cold numbers. No room for excuses. No need to question. Double digit decreases…losses…stunned.

As my mind quickly advanced to the idea of school grades, I wondered how far our grade would drop. An “A” last year, may be a “C” this year. How might a fall from grace impact our reputation? Our teachers? Our focus on continuous improvement? Data and grades do not define us, or do they?

During all of the questions, I stopped. How can you be on track all year and then fail? The answer to my question spoke volumes. There is a disconnect. A disconnect in the system that we have been sold to believe is the way to managing and monitoring student learning. Once I realized that my product was a defect I knew that I must return the product. I began to search for my receipt to check the return policy-I came up short. I looked for a customer service number to call-I failed.

The reality is our system is not sound, nor are the products that we are assured are wise investments. Today I pledge to go back to basics. The actions of students and teachers will paint the picture of teaching and learning for my school, not the hard cold numbers. And when I am ready to buy the latest product, I will inquire into the validity of the product, the warranty, and the return policy.


Daniela A. Robles

Daniela A. Robles

Phoenix, Arizona

I am a teacher and beginning my fourteenth year of teaching in Arizona’s public schools. The greatest lessons I learned were from teaching first grade for ten years. My inspirations stem from these past few years where my classroom has ranged from the Intervention Room to the Coaches’ Room.

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