Lives hanging from a keystroke

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(I have deleted the backstory here for the time being, at least until the issue in this post has been finally resolved.)

My colleague’s evaluation may have been a typo. Our district has been entering numbers into a weighted-average formula to get final, summative evaluation scores. If the formula is right, then any errors in that final number almost have to be typos. A scarier possibility would be a flaw in the algorithm used to find that final summative number. Could the formula be wrong? I doubt that, but I don’t know that anyone has been checking their numbers. In fact, I sat with a veteran teacher friend today discussing the issue and discovered that she had been too scared to look at her evaluation.

“I was afraid it might be bad, so I decided not to look,” she said.

I laughed hard. I haven’t looked at mine, either, although I plan to look shortly.

Eduhonesty: I don’t believe in just one math mistake. If one evaluation is wrong, all evaluations are suspect. I plan to be done this year, so I don’t much care for myself, but I am seized with a desire to make sure that other injustices are not underway. As I said in the staff room today, “These are the same people who screwed up the paychecks this year.” (Another story.) “Anyone who is unhappy had better check their numbers.”

I want to check the math in my evaluation. I’d like to check everyone’s numbers, good or bad. I want to know the extent of this problem.

As the line from the old Jackson Browne song goes, “There are lives in the balance.”