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Measures of Student Learning

Classroom circle

Students enter our classes at different levels of learning. That’s why teachers are evaluated on their students’ progress, rather than on passing rates, which cannot capture the good work we do with students. To measure student growth using growth models, for example, prior achievement scores, as well as factors such as disability, ELL status and other factors are combined to create a baseline student profile from which growth is measured. Teacher results are based upon how well students perform at the end of the year compared to students with a similar baseline profile. The growth measures used by New York City are carefully monitored and reviewed annually for accuracy and fairness by a panel of external experts as well as by the UFT.

School-level MOSL committees

At the start of the school year, your principal and UFT chapter leader will create a committee that will select the assessments your school will use and make other decisions as well. The committee is composed of the chapter leader and the principal (or designee), who each select three staff members to serve as well. How will measures be assigned to you? Broadly speaking, there are two steps. First, the MOSL committee makes selections for every grade and subject. Once the grade/subject selections are finalized, the committee assigns the measures to individual teachers based on what they teach. Because many teachers teach more than one subject and/or grade, there are opportunities for teachers to have more than one assessment result used in their MOSL. If the principal does not accept the full slate of recommendations from the committee, then the schoolwide default measure is applied to all grades and subjects that do not end in a state exam. The MOSL for courses that end in state exams must be the state exam (except for grade 3-8 ELA and math, which are currently prohibited through a statewide moratorium).

See the 2018–19 MOSL selections guide »

Assessment options

For each grade and subject, the MOSL committee may select the measures that are right for their school from a range of options. Schools may also use schoolwide or gradewide measures (also called group measures), which are based on the progress of students across classrooms and in different subjects. Classes that end in state exams must use the state exam as the MOSL assessment (except for grades 3-8 ELA and math, which are covered by the moratorium).

Measures of Student Learning have been designed to minimize standardized testing in our schools. The menu options fall into four categories. All MOSLs are aligned to grade- and subject-level standards and curriculum.

  1. Performance-Based Assessments look at how well a student performs on a specific task.
  2. Progress Monitoring Assessments are third-party assessments that allow teachers to assess academic performance. Examples include Degrees of Reading Power and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
  3. Project-Based Learning Assessments are determined by evaluating the work a student does over time in conjunction with a specific project-based learning unit. These projects and/or units must allow a student to demonstrate standards-based academic growth.
  4. Student Learning Inventories are collections of student work that include both DOE-developed components as well as classroom artifacts (student work) that capture student growth.

Options for measuring growth

The growth model: Using a statistical model, the DOE determines how well each student performs at the end of the school year compared to similar students. The result is the student’s growth percentile, and these growth percentiles are averaged together to determine the teacher’s MOSL rating.

Goal-setting: In this model, goals are set at the start of the year for each student. The teacher’s MOSL rating is determined by the extent to which his or her students have met their goals.