As it is, I am still not sure what is causing my students to do so poorly. I know of the barriers we have that might affect their performance; students not engaging with the content, test anxiety, students tired of taking all of these assessments (one per class, 2 times in 10 weeks), the weakness of multiple-choice questions to assess project-based learning, home environment, test questions with confusing wording, and a lack of effort to name a few. I have gone through many days of discouragement this week, feeling like everything I have learned about education is wrong and all the compliments about my teaching methods have been lies.
But then, I started to look at the data more closely. I began to see students growing by leaps and bounds! Some of my weakest performers have grown by the highest percentage. I even have students who have scored 100% on my post-test. When I was inputting the data of one of my students with special needs and saw that he not only hit his growth target but surpassed it, I jumped for joy! I was reminded why I am a teacher. It is not about crunching the numbers and hitting this arbitrary goal. It is about teaching each individual student and helping each of them grow. Maybe the data isn't showing it, but the students who have actively engaged in learning in my classroom have a wealth of new knowledge. I know this from talking to them, and from watching their work improve every single week.
I will continue to troubleshoot my assessments for my SLO and how I can overcome these barriers so the data starts to really reflect more of what is going on in my classroom. But, there are just some things that you can't quantify.
Am I a least-effective teacher? I certainly don't feel like one.