Why I love ARIS (not!)

Thanks, techies, for making a student database that doesn’t work on my mac. I didn’t realize that owning a PC was a prerequisite for teaching in NYC. And yes, my school has PC’s but still, I think compatibility with multiple platforms should be a basic component of anything done on this large a scale and with this much drumroll.

But then again, never mind. ARIS can certainly provide some interesting data sets and analysis tools for those of us who like numbers (for example: How do our students who entered in sixth grade compare to our students who entered in seventh grade in terms of test scores & growth? Are we educating students equally well regardless of their race or gender? Exactly how great is the impact of poor attendance on students’ scores? How do the gains made by our level-1 kids compare to the gains made by our level-2, -3, and -4 kids? And so forth…), however, as usual, science and social studies do not get any data. So while it is mildly interesting to me to know about my students’ performance in ELA and Math, I would say that ARIS adds very little to my life as a science teacher because I don’t even have access to things like my students’ 4th grade science scores or, for that matter, their 8th grade scores after they leave (though supposedly this information is available in some other part of the vast NYC DOE IT world, no one has been able to achieve the unique combination of internet access, access to the site itself, and correct formatting, and therefore I have not been able to see said information). Let alone any kind of item analysis.

I keep telling myself to be careful what I wish for, what with the rumors flying that pretty soon we’ll be hired, fired, and paid differentially based on the performance of students linked to our names, so perhaps it is for the best that because of what I teach, I am invisible to the system. But invisibility feels kinda crappy. 8 years of invisibility feels really crappy.

So, yeah, thanks a lot. ARIS is certainly a revolution in student data.

(Wow, sarcastic and bitter!  It’s been a ROUGH day for reasons that have everything to do with adults and leadership and trying to chart the right course through waters where there is NO right course, and nothing to do with the kids, who are pretty great and very excited to be making comic strip illustrations of a poem about pulleys from our Science Stories book.  And now I left my cell phone at school and can’t figure out what the plan is with my friend who is visiting from out of town but never gets to see me because I spend so much time attending PTA meetings and basically being put on the spot by parents who want me to speak for teachers whose actions I can’t explain or justify… so yeah, maybe I’m a little bitter).


1 Comment

Filed under education, New York, politics, science, teaching

One response to “Why I love ARIS (not!)

  1. bitter and annoyed are valid feelings! embrace them. 🙂 sounds like you’re dealing with a lot of crap, and of course it takes a toll.
    thank goodness for the upcoming long weekend! hope you get lots of rest and relaxation.

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