The Point System Revealed

Dave read my post yesterday and told me that I need to explain the AECP point system.  It’s a system for evaluation of the teachers in AECP (not ASU in general; just my department).  Each term lasts 8 weeks.  During that time, each of the lowest level instructors (like me) are observed.  It is a very formal observation worth 60 points.  The observer will look for very specific things in my lesson and will award points depending on how well I do those things.  For example, when I give instructions to students, I’m not supposed to say “Do you understand?”  I’m supposed to make sure that students understand my instructions by asking them to repeat my instructions.  The evaluation sheet is a very long list of elements they hope to see in my teaching.  I’m told that no one has ever earned 60 points on an observation.  Instead, we’re shooting for the minimum score needed to be hired on for another term: 45 points. 

At the end of the term, we all have to submit a report that details all of the AECP activities and professional development stuff we did.  For each activity, we receive 1 point.  These points are added to the points earned from the observation as well as points earned from student evaluations.  The administration adds up everyone’s points and ranks the instructors.  If enrollment is down and someone needs to be let go, the lowest level instructor with the fewest points will not have his or her contract renewed.

The weird thing about the points system is that time-intensive activities are not given more weight than other activities.  For example, at the end of September, we’re taking the students for a day trip to the Grand Canyon.  We’ll leave early in the morning and come home around 11 pm.  If I go, I’ll earn 1 point–the same as if I had attended a 1-hour meeting about computer programs.  I’ll also earn just 1 point if I publish an article, write a textbook and have it published, or attend a week-long conference.

I feel nervous about the point system.  I love teaching at ASU, and I feel that I’m doing my very best.  I just hope that my future employment at ASU isn’t jeopardized my the fact that I didn’t attend that football game yesterday….

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