Bartlett High School teachers have improved significantly over the past year, according to a scale that relates to student performance on state assessment tests.
Of the 42 teachers whose students took the exam, 11 of them are rated at a Level 5 based on their students’ scores during the 2012-2013 school year. That’s up from only two Level 5 teachers in 2011-2012, according to data released in July from the Tennessee Department of Education.
Bartlett principal Ken Demetriou said he’s pleased with the rise in the number of Level 5 teachers at the high school, but that the percentage of teachers at that level still isn’t high enough.
“I think it’s great that there’s a 550 percent gain from the year before,” said Demetriou. But, he said, “It’s not acceptable.”
The levels are based in part on scores earned from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. High school students across the state take those exams in what are called End of Course classes: Algebra I and II, biology, English 9, 10 and 11 and U.S. History. Students take the benchmark exams to evaluate how well they’ve grasped the concepts in those areas.
For the most recent numbers, a one-year snapshot is not always indicative of how well a teacher is performing. For example, one teacher who was a Level 5 in 2011-2012 was reported to be a Level 2 in 2012-2013.
“Sometimes it’s the make up of the students,” said Demetriou. “The problem is when you see a pattern.”
Only two of the 42 teachers had the lowest-possible score of a Level 1. Demetriou said one of those teachers resigned last year.
The principal said his goal is to see 40 percent of the teachers reach a Level 5 in the current school year. The most recent numbers show only 26 percent of teachers accomplished that.
To reach that goal, teachers are involved in professional learning communities during the day. All the teachers who instruct a given subject will have the same class period off to have common planning time. In that way, teachers who are presenting concepts effectively can work with teachers who are struggling to present the same concept.
It’s an idea that Demetriou, who was an athletic coach for 20 years, said coaches have used since the 1970s.
“I firmly believe PLCs are extremely beneficial,” said Demetriou. “As coaches spend time watching other teams play, watching film, watching other coaches, the quality of coaches increases.”
Meanwhile, Demetriou also pointed out that Advanced Placement students do not take tests. The high school offers a number of AP classes and many of the students participate in those. In that way, he believes the scores could be lower than they otherwise would be with that larger sample.
Still, the principal said the students in general at Bartlett High School were good students. He said he believes with the proper growth effort, the scores can go up.
“We’re excited about these scores, and we look for Level 5 scores to increase,” said Demetriou.