Friday, August 28, 2009

ARIS this

I'm willing to take bets that I am the only NYC public school teacher out there who logged into ARIS (that's the New York City Department of Education’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System to you) before the school year started. As I was very diligently logging in to my DOE e-mail (which I have also very diligently checked over the summer, only to be sent into panicky tailspins by the missives of my principal), I was informed I had to reset my password (which the DOE makes us do practically biweekly, as if anyone is really trying to hack into my e-mail and find out which exciting coverage I'll be made to do next), and on the default home page I happened to log into ARIS out of curiosity -- at least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sure enough, my class list is up and running, and there are changes: I lost one sweet girl and gained one (different) sweet girl, one boy I am not excited about unless he's matured a heck of a lot over the summer, and one unknown boy from another school.

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.


12 more years said...

No no no- you are not the only NYC public school teacher to log onto ARIS. Last week, I did and found my class lists. Later that day, I was at a party with some friends and casually mentioned that I saw my classes on ARIS.

Needless to say, we accessed somebody's unsecured wireless network, and spent the rest of the evening drinking and taking turns logging onto ARIS - in the dark- by the pool.

How lame is that?

Anonymous said...

Heck, at least you have your class list! I don't even have that!

Those of us geeky enough to follow ed blogs are likely geeky enough to check ARIS before school starts. :)

Anonymous said...

You are not the only one - however my system (or school) is so messed up that I apparently have no students! (I am the sole US history teacher in my HS so this is unlikely). As for accuracy of information, even at the HS level there are enormous errors in the ARIS information on our students.

Teacher said...

I've also been logging onto ARIS this summer. I have more information on my kiddos since I teach at the point where they've been through many tests already. I do like having the personal contact information available there. I already know who to call when I need to contact parents/guardians. It may not be the most up-to-date, but it's nice to have a start.

I've also been exploring the communities. It might be a good thing to look into creating a grade level community where your team can share documents and all kinds of other information!

Anonymous said...

aris currently lists each of my classes as having 80+ students in them (max possible 34), many classes have the same students as others, and many students listed i have never heard of. some of my students have regents grades that are still not reflected on the site. i have been corresponding with them for weeks and still nothing has been done about it. yet, still my school is so "data driven" that my superiors insist that i use aris to inform my instructional decisions (guaranteed first question in post observations is how i used it), despite my protests and explanations.

Anonymous said...

Nope, you're not the only one who did. ARIS had incorrect information on it. I have better information about my class than what ARIS had.