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06 Dec 2006 - 22:55
The problems with AYP are clearly evident in .... schools whose students are meeting their AYP goals, but little growth is occurring. Most such schools are found in affluent communities, where high test scores go hand in hand with high family income. These schools can be referred to as “slideand- glide” schools because they rest easily on the laurels of their students. It is important to understand that NCLB does nothing to hold these schools accountable for providing their students with the annual growth to which they are entitled. In a global economy characterized by fierce competition for demanding jobs that pay high salaries and benefits, this is a highly significant shortcoming. Value-Added Assessment and Systemic Reform: A Response to the Challenge of Human Capital Development
The KIPP Academy is in the lower right-hand corner.
slide and glide in Seattle
The Seattle Times requested the district's data for all schools from 2002-04 and shared its findings with district officials, who agreed with the trends The Times identified. The analysis revealed: • High WASL scores don't automatically mean students learned more: For example, in reading, six elementary schools — all of them in affluent neighborhoods — with above-average WASL scores gave the average student less than a year's growth. • Districtwide, the average student in grades four and seven is gaining more than a year's growth in math and reading; in grades six, nine and 10, normal growth. But there is wide variation among schools, with high-poverty schools tending to show the most robust gains. • High schools vary greatly: In 2004 the average 10th-grade student at three schools fell behind in reading, and at five other schools grew more than a year. Passing the WASL is a graduation requirement starting with the Class of 2008. • The average student falls behind the year after taking the WASL, which has been given in grades four, seven and 10. In half the schools, eighth-graders didn't show a year's gain in reading and math, and in more than half the schools, fifth-graders didn't show a year's gain in math. Those trends raise many questions: Are advanced students in some schools being challenged enough? Why are students advancing their skills in some grades and falling behind in others? Why is one high school more successful than another in taking its slowest students' skills to the next level? And does this measuring tool simply allow schools to shift the focus off low test scores?
slide and glide Those are the words I've been missing. Unfortunately, "slide and glide" doesn't solve the issue of factoring out the tutors and parent reteachers. Unless Sanders has something to say about that, too. Which I imagine he may.
Clowes: Is there any reason why students in schools with high concentrations of poverty should learn any less than students in an affluent district? Sanders: Interestingly, I've caught the most political heat from some of the schools in affluent areas, where we've exposed what I call "slide and glide." One of the top-dollar districts in the state had always bragged about its test scores, but our measurements showed that their average second-grader was in the 72nd percentile. By the time those children were sixth-graders, they were in the 44th percentile. Under our value-added scheme, the district was profiled in the bottom 10 percent of districts in state. They were not happy. You'd think I had nuked the place. With our value-added approach, we can demonstrate that our measure of school effectiveness is totally unrelated to traditional socioeconomic indicators. We have more than 1,300 elementary schools in this state; their effectiveness is totally unrelated to the racial composition of the school or the percentage of children in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program. That's looking at measures of progress, not at raw test scores. You shouldn't hold teachers and principals of school districts accountable for things over which they have no control. You should hold them accountable for those things they do have control over. Schools and teachers don't have control over the achievement level when children walk in the door, but they do have control over how much that level is raised during the year. If that is sustained over time, it becomes like compound interest, and what you see is populations of children constantly rising to higher and higher levels of achievement in later grades, regardless of where they started. interview, William Sanders
interview William Sanders
slide and glide
statement of Kati Haycock
value-added assessment in PDK
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Catherine, this sounds a lot like what Florida proposes to do -- follow individual students and track their progress specifically. It's an interesting proposal. Florida Growth Model Proposal -- LynnGuelzow - 07 Dec 2006
Pennsylvania is doing that too, calling it "value added assessments." However, the problem I see is that everything is still based on one test, here in PA given in late March. The timing isn't so important if you're looking at year to year growth, but our schools go into mid-June, that means there are 2+ months of that grade left after the test has been administered. Not sure what else I'd like to look at -- another big test -- but something just to get past the fact that you're trying to assess a year's "growth" using multiple choice, read a passage, answer the questions sort of test. Has anyone read the NAEP sample questions for reading at the 4th grade level? The passages nearly bored me, a 42 yo, who loves to look at tests to death, I can't imagine the strength of character it takes a 9 yo to read them! -- JenL - 07 Dec 2006
Test quality is a huge issue that I haven't seen much attention to in the main stream media. I guess I don't have a problem with AYP being measured by a single test, if it is a good test. In fact, I like the idea of a single test for AYP. I'd like that test to be given earlier, mostly because it seems like most of the real learning in the class begins after the state tests are over. The idea of "growth" or "value added" is intriguing. There is a tremendous amount of movement within each class. Some classes grew as much as 10%, one year to the next. If you grade a school in a lump, without looking at each child's growth, schools with a significant influx or outflow of students will have skewed results. I've asked our Dir of Curriculum to tease out statistics controlling for these fluctuations. She is unwilling to do that. And I can't blame her, there is a cost to it (not great as we have highly disaggregated data to work with). But the bigger problem is truly one of "ignorance is bliss" I believe. The incoming students seem to be of a high SES bent. As new people move in, census data consistently shows our town growing "richer." If we controlled for these new, wealthier kids, we might not have such impressive results. But that's the cynic in me. -- LynnGuelzow - 07 Dec 2006
Lynn yup, FL is one of the states -- CatherineJohnson - 07 Dec 2006
Jen I think you get around that issue by testing the last two months of the year's content in the next school year. That's what NY state does (we don't have value-added testing). The ITBS works that way. I sent Christopher's test back in yesterday. I had to tell them his exact point in 7th grade: 7th grade, 3 months. -- CatherineJohnson - 07 Dec 2006
Districts are going to have to become responsible for individual student growth. Period. I would bet the ranch Scarsdale is a major slide and glide school. The way their principal talked, the blah-blah, the not saying what he means - he's cruising on the parents and tutors. -- CatherineJohnson - 07 Dec 2006
My question is: how do you factor out the parent reteaching and the tutors. That is the HUGE question here. Did you notice Tex said on another thread that her School Board, I believe, has actually alluded to other districts having higher scores because of all the tutors? I'm pretty sure Tex said she lives in Westchester. -- CatherineJohnson - 07 Dec 2006
yup Westchester -- CatherineJohnson - 07 Dec 2006
Is there any data on tutors and reteaching ... anywhere? Has anybody ever compared rates of tutoring to see if it goes up with reform math? Supporters of reform math claim there is a mountain of research supporting their programs --- but in this mountain, is there a single study that addresses the issue of tutoring? -- RobynW - 07 Dec 2006
Our state gives ratings for performance level and improvement. Our public middle school is "High Performing" and "Improving", but it only offers CMP plus a little bit of algebra for all students in 8th grade. You can't let the fox guard the hen house. NCLB allows states to define the standards. Choice allows the parents to define the standards. Perhaps. As for parental influence, I will see soon how well that works when my son's private school selects a new math curriculum. They will be moving away from Everyday Math to either Saxon or Sadlier-Oxford "Progress in Mathematics". Apparently, Singapore Math is not on the list of choices. I'm not sure why. At least both of the choices meet California standards. I prefer Saxon, and just the name will send a clear message to parents and other schools. -- SteveH - 07 Dec 2006
I saw that thread. It all comes together eventually. I would like to see our district take a proactive approach to tutors and reteaching. How about an extremely short questionaire handed out to parents directly at November/December conferences. I'd have 3 questions on it: * Do you use an outside tutor? yes or no * Do you help your child with homework? yes or no * If yes, estimate how much time per week you help your child with homework? That would be a start. Ask parents to check the boxes and drop it off anonymously at the door. At least you could start to gather some data. Cheap, easy, just need photocopying and someone to tally. -- LynnGuelzow - 07 Dec 2006
"Do you help your child with homework? yes or no * If yes, estimate how much time per week you help your child with homework?" Boy, I'm cynical. They want and EXPECT this. That's why we parents get the messages that tell us to work with our kids on things like learning the times table. It's amazing that they don't see what happens when parents can't or won't do the work. As for tutors, I remember seeing an article that said something about asking your child's teacher about tutors if they are having problems. Schools don't see tutoring as an indication of anything - except that your child needs EXTRA help. They will never see it as an indication that they aren't doing enough or that their curriculum is bad. We're trying to come up with arguments to get them to change their opinions. We're trying to get them to do what they don't want to do. I think you have to get much more leverage than that. Parents have to really organize - a Parent Organization (no teachers, or baking cookies, allowed). This is the only way to force any change. It won't be pretty and it may not work, especially in time for your own child. School choice is another method, but it may take a long time before there is real choice. Until then, it's the kitchen table. We just have to help get the new parents off to a running start. -- SteveH - 07 Dec 2006
I agree. The schools are actively training parents to assist with homework, but then deny that parents are reteaching the curriculum at home. For example, last night I had to help my daughter identify the name of the president that is on a U.S. dime. Obviously, this is not homework that a 6 year old can be expected to accomplish on her own. (Oh, this is math homework, thank you EM). If you've ever looked closely at the dime, you'll notice that it doesn't actually have the president's name on it. If you don't know that it is Roosevelt on the dime, then the instructions to parents tells you who it is. Nonetheless, we parents dutifully tell our kids that it is Roosevelt and help them spell it out for their 1st grade homework. After a year of this, how many parents are going to be surprised when they discover that their help is still needed every year after this? I would organize a parent group if I thought it would help. I've been involved in 2 parent groups, both highly motivated and dedicated. Both failed miserably. -- LynnGuelzow - 08 Dec 2006
We had the same EM homework about the dime earlier this week too! I just circle the answer in the parent note (tails has a torch, laurel, and oak!) and tell Emily to copy it. -- KathyIggy - 09 Dec 2006
Textbook Evaluator has a good post on asinine EM homework. -- KDeRosa - 09 Dec 2006
Is there any data on tutors and reteaching ... anywhere? Has anybody ever compared rates of tutoring to see if it goes up with reform math? Supporters of reform math claim there is a mountain of research supporting their programs --- but in this mountain, is there a single study that addresses the issue of tutoring? This is the HUGE lurking Top Secret issue. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Finally I found something on tutoring data. The Weekly Standard reports that Brookline, Massachusetts uses a reform math program. 26% of children between ages five and ten get outside tutoring. (November 6, 2006 issue). Apparently, this is based on a school survey. -- RobynW - 09 Dec 2006
The big problem I see with measuring AYP on one (state) test each year is that every year's test is different enough that I'm not sure you can really tell what was retained from previous years or what the gain really was. I would love to see a state come up with something that was a long-range test, basically one test that covered all 12-13 years. I'm sure they attempt to look at this somehow, but I don't think it's a focus. It would seem useful to start a kid at a section he was comfortable with/scoring well on the year before and see how far they could get after that year's instruction. If your kid is scoring in the "advanced" level every year, you really have no idea how much they've learned or if they're still coasting on material they understood years before. Similarly, a kid scoring below basic...well, how below? Where are they really, so that you can start there and move them upwards and not just keep adding the next year's more difficult work on top of concepts they don't have from 2 years before. To have a test that really will provide a measurement of "value added" by a year of school, it's got to have a gradation that can be used by the school/teacher to really get at the high and low ends of scoring. My point about the 2 months of instructional time after the testing is that the kids take that test and feel like they should be done for the year. It's definitely true that at that point the field trips pick up again, etc. I would guess that the kids' motivation level for learning new hard material and for practicing it is about 70% reduced after the PSSAs (here in PA). -- JenL - 09 Dec 2006
I've been involved in 2 parent groups, both highly motivated and dedicated. Both failed miserably. What did you work on? Why did you fail? -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
My point about the 2 months of instructional time after the testing is that the kids take that test and feel like they should be done for the year. It's definitely true that at that point the field trips pick up again, etc. oh! I see. Our ELA test is in Jan; then the math test is in March, I believe. I didn't notice a big drop-off in effort after the tests for that reason, I'm sure. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
If your kid is scoring in the "advanced" level every year, you really have no idea how much they've learned or if they're still coasting on material they understood years before. absolutely these tests tell me nothing; they tell me less than nothing they're outrageous as far as we can tell, the school is furious, too they have no idea what's going on; they're calling the state to find out what everything means; they've got parents hassling them to find out what happened - it's a nightmare of course, this is the first year we've had tests at this point, though, I'd scrap the whole thing and just mandate that the school give a real test (i.e. a longstanding, validated test like ITBS, Stanford 9, etc.) I'm pretty sure that's what Hirsch advises The state standards are so stupid, they may as well let the ITBS set the standards -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
a Parent Organization (no teachers, or baking cookies, allowed) Bronxdale has one They purposely worked outside the PTSA & never met in any school buildings So far they've managed to get foreign language instruction in the school We may be (finally) forming one.... I hope -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Jen Just read your entire comment - I agree with the whole thing. You should take a look at our "state standards" (actually, it won't improve your day, so don't); the whole project is ludicrous. We have skill-and-process standards; when a skill is too specific - i.e. it's something a parent could understand - we have standards like "understand" and "appreciate." There's no way a parent (or a teacher, I'll wager) can comprehend these standards, and there's no way a parent (or a teacher?) can comprehend whether a state test that "tests" these standards has anything to tell them. ITBS for us. From now on. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
I think another possible creative solution would be simply to give your child whatever good practice tests there are out there each year (either from online, or from practice books). I think the three states that are supposed to have good state standards are CA, MA, and IN. I suspect you could gain quite a lot of info using their tests and/or the test prep books. I also bought an ISEE prep book with sample tests. The ISEE is the test private schools use, and I believe it's probably more advanced than public school tests. Haven't really looked at it yet. I'm thinking that a makeshift annual test would be simply to choose one of these things, then stick with it year to year. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
ITBS costs $36 to administer. I did have to get myself qualified as an administrator; I had to have a B.A. for that, and had to submit my transcript (another $10, I think). Then I paid for overnight express....I've probably spent something like $60 all told. Next year it will be just the $40. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
As new people move in, census data consistently shows our town growing "richer." If we controlled for these new, wealthier kids, we might not have such impressive results. We have the same thing and people say so openly. Parents who've lived here awhile will tell you "the school is improving," "the scores are higher, because wealthier people have moved in." Everyone believes this. Everyone believes that if the scores are higher because wealthier people have moved in, that means the school is better. Of course, in a way that's correct, since school quality is heavily dependent on peer quality when you don't have a good curriculum. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Is there any data on tutors and reteaching ... anywhere? Has anybody ever compared rates of tutoring to see if it goes up with reform math? ok, let's see A Congressman in .... Washington state (?) made them do a study (I probably have the link)... I'm trying to rustle up the same data, assuming it exists. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
We need to do a time-diary study with parents logging in every 5 minutes... -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
I would now be logging in a huge amount of nagging time. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
The Weekly Standard reports that Brookline, Massachusetts uses a reform math program. 26% of children between ages five and ten get outside tutoring. (November 6, 2006 issue). Is this the recent article on reform math? I'll get it. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
In Brookline, Massachusetts, which has used Reform Math programs Innovations and MathScape, 26 percent of students aged five to ten get outside tutoring, according to a school-system report.
Down for the Count? ($)
The misbegotten curriculum known as Reform Math is a failure that may finally be on the way out.
by Melana Zyla Vickers
11/06/2006, Volume 012, Issue 08
-- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
That's a very, very high figure. It usually takes a few years before parents realize their kids need tutoring. We're talking about 5 year olds here. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
We didn't start in with the heavy-duty reteaching until Christopher was in 4th grade. 9 years old, I guess We wouldn't have started then if we'd had a different teacher (this was the very nice young teacher who didn't get tenure - in this case the problem was the teacher, not the curriculum) -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
School choice is another method, but it may take a long time before there is real choice. I just read a cool statistic about Clinton & charters - I think when he came into office there were....200 charters in the country? I'll look it up. No - there was one!
How would you assess President Clinton's legacy on education? I think that Clinton's education legacy as President is four-fold. First, he incorporated standards and accountability into federal policy to a degree that was unprecedented. Second, by supporting public school choice and charter schools, he helped expand these ideas and get Democrats to embrace some progressive modernizing reforms. There was only one charter school when President Clinton was elected in 1992, but more than 2000 when he left office. Third, his commitment to increasing the federal investment in education, and the fiscal policies he pursued to make that investment possible, mean that federal resources are now leveraging greater change than in the past. Finally, because he vigorously defended the federal government's role in education at a time when it was under sharp attack, he really set up the education debate we re having now. Instead of arguing about whether or nor there should be a national presence in education, we are debating what that role should be. interview, Andrew Rotherham-- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Obviously, this is not homework that a 6 year old can be expected to accomplish on her own. (Oh, this is math homework, thank you EM). If you've ever looked closely at the dime, you'll notice that it doesn't actually have the president's name on it. If you don't know that it is Roosevelt on the dime, then the instructions to parents tells you who it is. Nonetheless, we parents dutifully tell our kids that it is Roosevelt and help them spell it out for their 1st grade homework. After a year of this, how many parents are going to be surprised when they discover that their help is still needed every year after this? That is really outrageous. I had no idea. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Main Street School sent out a chirpy newsletter - all our newsletters are chirpy - about the many topics the kids are "exploring" and "being introduced to" in TRAILBLAZERS. Then it said that they were sending home the TRAILBLAZERS triangular flash cards and the kids should store them some place where they could always find them (this is the parents' job, obviously) and the kids should use them to "learn" their math facts. The newsletter put it like this: "learn (memorize)" They actually used the word "memorize" in the newsletter. I doubt a single parent complained. Naturally that sparked a string of helpful email posts from me on how to help your child memorize math facts on the listserv. I actually have to stop myself thinking how much these folks must loathe me by now. Of course, I also have my secret admirers. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
how to teach math facts -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
They will be moving away from Everyday Math to either Saxon or Sadlier-Oxford "Progress in Mathematics". Apparently, Singapore Math is not on the list of choices. I'm not sure why. At least both of the choices meet California standards. I prefer Saxon, and just the name will send a clear message to parents and other schools. wow! That's very exciting! The Center for Education Reform loves the Sadlier-Oxford program. Apparently some of the CA people (or the Mathematically Correct people - I've forgotten) think it's better than Saxon. Why are they choosing a new curriculum? -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
"Why are they choosing a new curriculum?" Perhaps a critical mass was reached between harping parents and teachers who didn't like having kids come into their classes not knowing what they should already know. There are factions because I still hear words like understanding, rote, and balance. If they keep the harping parents out of the actual discussion and decision, the critical mass might be lost. But, like many decisions in large corporations, it will problably come down to what "Mr. Big" wants. Mr. Big wants a (private) school that's in demand, so I have been pushing the fact that parents send their kids to the school NOT for "joy and respect", but for the good academics that they can't get in public schools. If he hears enough parents (who pay the bills) say they want a change in the math curriculum, then Mr. Big might get it through his head that providing what parents want might increase demand. Duh! -- SteveH - 10 Dec 2006
I bet you guys get a new, much better curriculum. There really is no excuse for using Everyday Math in a private school (apart from the fact that private schools have traditionally been the "cutting edge" location of progressive ed!) -- CatherineJohnson - 10 Dec 2006
I've been involved in 2 parent groups, both highly motivated and dedicated. Both failed miserably. What did you work on? Why did you fail? I'm behind on reading these posts. I failed miserably in my initial attempt (now 5 years ago) to stop EM from getting into the schools. Actually, at that point I didn't know enough to really try to stop it. I was trying to get the Board to slow down and carefully review the cons of the program (not just the pros) before implementing. We used e-mail and mail box flyers and got over 200 people to attend a board meeting (normally no one is there ever). The Board refused to consider the contrary evidence, which was considerable, given the short time frame that we were dealing with. The 2nd, more organized, failed attempt was to keep the gifted program alive. It was eliminated. Then we got even more organized, got a name, letterhead (SHARP, Supporters of Higher Academic Responsibility and Program). We did tons of research, wrote papers, met with administrators and got absolutely nowhere. In the end, we kept paring down our requests, trying to get any improvement at all, no matter how incremental, to no avail. We asked for greater in school and after school "enrichment." We wanted clustering -- grouping kids by ranges -- at least one or two upper middle to superior classrooms. A critical mass of 5 to 7 gifted kids in a class and no singletons (so they have a chance of meeting peers). We wanted a formal acceleration policy. We wanted identified kids to be able to take off-level state test (one grade up). We got absolutely nothing. It was so frustrating. The worst was that with the effort and resources that went into it, we never got even a response from the administrators. They thanked us, they admired the work, the promised to review it, but nothing was ever done. -- LynnGuelzow - 10 Dec 2006
I forgot, there was a third attempt to promote positive change. Apparently, I am slow learner. I found out that, due to scheduling problems at the high school, the administrators were proposing to cut the lab time from Honors chemistry and Honors physics courses. Several parents and I again researched the problem. We called at least a dozen comparable school systems and found that Granby would have kids spend the least amount of time in physics and chemistry class than any other town. I interviewed the high school teachers and found that they were against the change. I wrote articles for the local newspaper. We pointed out that some kids have 2 and even 3 study halls per day. Cutting class time further made no sense. We attempted to figure out other solutions to their scheduling problems, but they really weren't interested in that. This failure was weird, because we couldn't figure out why they thought it was a good idea. Finally, we discovered that the root of the problem was probably professional jealous -- because of the extra lab time for chem & physics teachers, they tended to get paid a little more based on the pay scale. Despite wide spread parental opposition and no justifiable basis, the board approved the cut in the labs. These experiences probably explain why I am so cynical of the education establishment. -- LynnGuelzow - 10 Dec 2006