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Gary Miller, Wyoming Indian High School, Ethete, WY

TEACHER REACTIONS TO THE BODY OF EVIDENCE

Problem  At the district and state level, there is considerable concern about the Body of Evidence content and process. A variety of issues related to Body of Evidence arose at the state, district, and building levels.
Research Question  What are high school teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes about the Body of Evidence process and content?
Methods 
  •  Individual interviews· 
  • Field notes recorded during:· 
    • Regular WIHS staff meetings,· 
    • School Improvement Team meetings,· 
    • WIHS staff inservice days, and ADAPT (All District Accreditation and Planning Team) meetings.
Findings 
  • Responses to the content, design, and implementation of the Fremont County School District #14 Body of Evidence plan were cautiously skeptical. 
  • Example: “If developing a BOE plan is a District and WDE requirement, shouldn’t our process be implemented into and coordinated with our Professional Development Team, ADAPT(All District Accreditation and Planning Team), and School Improvement Committee?”
  • Issues raised focused on four separate but interrelated themes:
    • Body of Evidence content and process.
      Example: “How does the BOE requirement improve quality of classroom instruction and student learning? Why not trust teachers to deliver quality instruction within the District staff development and evaluation structure?”

    • Wyoming Department of Education and Fremont County School District #14 Performance Standards.Example: “Standards are useful as guidelines for teachers; however, WDE is attempting to extend its influence too far into the classroom by creating time-consuming requirements that may (and probably will) change in a few months.”

    • Assessment and alignment.
      Example: “Accountability is too narrowly defined as reportable numbers; true authentic assessments don’t necessarily lend themselves to a neat set of rubrics or test percentages. Classroom teachers know better. Evaluation of students goes beyond standards. Assessment is much more complicated and is as complex as the differences between students.”

    • Wyoming Department of Education and Fremont County School District #14 policies and procedures.
      Example: “Accountability definitions need to be revisited: e.g. How is WDE being accountable to classroom teachers and students? Doesn’t accountability mean mainly that our school and community trust teachers to do their best?”

  • Teachers expressed a need to be more included and involved in the Body of Evidence process.
  • Teachers suggested that communication needs to be improved at the Wyoming Department of Education, Fremont County School District #14, and building levels.
Policy Recommendations  Recommendation #1: Action plan for the district and building levels: 
  • Improve communication with buildings, district, and Wyoming Department of Education;
  • Clarify Wyoming Department of Education and district requirements and compliance issues;
  • Assure staff involvement in Body of Evidence design;
  • Activate District Body of Evidence Planning Team;§ Design official Body of Evidence plan;
  • Present Body of Evidence plan to high school staff and district Planning Team;
  • Inform and survey community of reactions to district Body of Evidence plan; and
  • Present final Body of Evidence plan to Board of Directors.

Recommendation #2: Action plan for WDE:§

  • Clarify Body of Evidence requirements and timelines, and
  • Schedule a review with district Body of Evidence Planning Team.

 

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