As teachers start gearing up for the first day of classes next week, many are logging in to ARIS, the city’s online school data warehouse. But some are finding that despite all that ARIS offers, it still isn’t in sync with what teachers really need.
Miss Brave, a second-grade teacher, writes on her blog:
Now, I am all about the lists and charts and organizational tools, but I’m already frustrated by ARIS. Maybe it’s because I’ve got second graders, so there’s not exactly that much data to go on, but almost every single data field on my students was blank, and the ones that were there are cryptic. My new student from another school has an IEP, but I can’t tell what’s on it. Several of my students have “health alerts,” but I don’t know what they are. And a handful have “closed 407s,” which (because I am a huge dork) I had to research to find out what exactly that meant. (As far as I can tell, it means they were absent a lot, and the DOE investigated.) This is my third year in the system, and I don’t see how I’ll ever keep pace with all the acronyms and numbered abbreviations.
But all the tools we use at my school to measure student progress —running records and Everyday Math assessments and checklists and such — don’t factor into ARIS. So pretty much all I get out of it is a list of 27 names and a record of how many days they were absent. Which doesn’t do much to help ease my anxiety of what it will be like when those 27 squirmy bodies are filling my new classroom.