Monday, November 16, 2009

PSAT Update

As you may recall I was wondering how come the district had no results (by grade or school or district) for the PSAT given last fall to 9th, 10th and 11th graders. Bob Vaughn in Advanced Learning told me they had too much on their plate to get it done.

Joy Stevens, the Public Records officer said this:

I am writing in response to your email below requesting PSAT test results. In doing so, I learned that the test results that we receive are in a format that cannot be easily incorporated into our information, which would allow us to release statistical information without violating individual student confidentiality. I am looking into whether it would be possible to redact or remove student identification from the results we get from the College Boards and/or extract statistical totals.

I also placed a call to Boeing and got a very nice guy who was puzzled but said that they were expecting a report by Dec. 31. He got back to me on Friday and said he got a report and that the district said they would be releasing the results shortly.

I had also called the College Board to find out if the data was given to districts in such a way that they couldn't redact out students' names. The person at the College Board said she didn't know why the district would say that but that they are given raw data that they can use anyway they want so giving results by grade or school without any students' names shouldn't be a problem. Oh.

So we can see a baseline soon of where we are starting on the "more rigor in high schools". According to the district, giving the PSAT was providing rigor and identifying students who should be trying the harder classes. Since they did test the 9th graders, then a good check of how the district's efforts to put more rigor in all the high schools, should be showing some evidence by the time these students graduate in 2013.

(I just want to point out how ludicrious it is to have done all this work for an answer I already knew. I have no idea why people in the district don't get that some of us will follow-through so if you give me a BS answer, I won't just say "thanks" and go on with my day. Why can't they just tell us the truth? I don't really believe that they didn't put the results together earlier this year. It would be hard to believe they went to all this effort and then hadn't put the data together and were using it to form the basis of the push for rigor in high school. It would absolutely make no sense.)


Maureen said...

Melissa Thank you so much for doing this!

I have no idea why people in the district don't get that some of us will follow-through so if you give me a BS answer, I won't just say "thanks" and go on with my day.

Oh I expect that many of us just do give up--Ok, you just motivated me to go back and really PUSH on a couple of issues.

SPSMom said...

OK, wait a sec. You went through the public discloure process to obtain public records and was told you could not have them because of privacy issues. And then you found out that was not true?

Wow! Is that even legal? Is their some sort of formail complaint process you can follow when this happens?

dan dempsey said...

What is a great concern of mine is:
I requested this data in February 2009. Board members knew I did not have this data. The board did not have the data. They want us to believe this is a data driven organization..... In the mean time there was a math adoption ... would that data have had an impact on whether to continue with the current reform math agenda?

I know the adoption committee was fraudulently stacked but still the vote was 4-3 ... perhaps the PSAT data might have opened Sherry Carr's eyes.

The SPS Central Admin seem driven to hide data or distort it and the Board is hardly a counter-force but more along the lines of an accomplice in promoting deception (right from Director "it's all about PR" Chow).

Now we look at the SAP founded on every school a quality school .... I predict the PSAT data will burst that bubble wide open. But so what .. again it will be too late to do anything about another extremely poor decision ... unless you wish to spend about $5 to $10 thousand to appeal a board decision in K.C. Superior Court.... or about $1 million to go to Federal Court and on to the US Supreme Court with Harry Correll (ala racial tie-breaker).

The district seems to have virtually unlimited legal resources to support pathetic decision making. The Firkin's mold lawsuit being their current folly.

In January the McLaren, Porter, Mass lawsuit will be heard over the appeal of the HS Math adoption.

When will Sundquist and Maier stop rubber-stamping horrible ideas?

Many items on the board agenda have hotlinks ... why does the following not have a hotlink? :

D. Introduction Items
1. Superintendent Incentive Measure for 2008/09 and
2009/10 – This item will be posted prior to introduction.(introduction)

hschinske said...

I'm wondering if it's possible teachers may already have access to some of this data directly without knowing it, if they have previously gotten accounts to view College Board data for their schools.


The PSAT/NMSQT® Summary of Answers and Skills (SOAS) is provided free-of-charge to every school that tested at least 25 students in a single grade. The report allows users to analyze aggregate test question information and to examine students' academic skill level at the time they took the test. The analyses include comparisons with the nation's performance, your state's performance, and a comparable group's performance. SOAS keeps the focus on student skills as answers are analyzed across each grade-level, providing insight into how well students understand and apply the skills taught in your curriculum.
Intended Audience:

District officials, high school principals, teachers, counselors
How to access your reports:

To access SOAS reports, all users need to have a user account (see top right) and an access code.

Access codes are printed on the Student Roster of Scores and Plans that is sent with student score reports in December. If you accessed SOAS reports last year, you will not have to re-enter an access code to view reports this year.

District-level SOAS reports are available as an optional fee-based report, which must be ordered. Information on how to access reports (instructions and an access code) is sent to districts by postal mail in January following the October PSAT/NMSQT administration.

If you have any questions, please call the College Board at (212) 373-8810 or contact us via e-mail.
Sample Reports:

SOAS Sample Report - High Performing School
SOAS Sample Report - Medium Performing School
SOAS Sample Report - Low Performing School

Helen Schinske

Dorothy said...

Ha. I thought about calling the College Board with the same question. I even told a friend over the weekend before last that maybe on Monday I would call and see what they said. But did I? No, got distracted (and the flu, but that's no excuse) and forgot. Not Melissa though. She called. Good for you.

I have to admit, I never expected to see results, especially when early on we asked Brian Vance at a PTSA meeting and he looked surprised. Obviously, data collection and analysis were not discussed. I would much rather see some data on how many kids were identified to be encouraged to take more challenging classes.

However, recall that various staff have used the idea of PSAT data as both benchmarks and performance data several times. The RHS Social Studies department said that PSAT data was going to be one of the determining factors in whether the AP HG class was a success (although how was never explained). Maria dela Fuente said it was to be a factor in determining success of the new HS math adoption. It's one of the bullet points of her fancy slides. So yes, there is at least talk of analyzing the data.

Just getting the data by high school will be interesting, but not really. What I would love to see is data based on middle school attended, current math class enrolled in, whether or not the student had ever been accepted in or attended Spectrum or APP. All sorts of ways one could use the data. It could be useful for real data driven decision making.

Remember this data was mostly collected before the HS math adoption. Schools and teachers within schools were using a wide variety of math materials. (How long has NB been Saxon? could those kids be tagged and mean scores compared?) So this could be useful to show the relative merits of the varieties of texts and then compare with future students who have only had the adopted discovery texts. But only if someone takes the time with it.

mkd said...

In case you didn't notice, the holidays (even Christmas if you've been in the stores) are almost upon us. This year the need is so great. The food bank at St. Mary's (20th and Jackson) is not a part of the church nor are we affiliated with any religious institution. We are a nonprofit and secular organization, St. Mary's kindly has donated the space for our use. Last year, we served over 70,000 people. This year, it will be many more. If you are in need of food, you may come to the food bank once a week, from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Please bring some form of ID. You do not need to be from Seattle and no one will ask your legal status. If you have a child under two, we have a baby kitchen the first full week of every month. Though it is not much, we can give you some diapers and baby food. For babies under 6 months, we also provide wipes and formula. Again, we ask that you bring some form of identification for the child (medical coupon or birth certificate).

This week, November 17, 19 and 21, we are giving away what we can so that people in need can celebrate Thanksgiving. The need is great and people begin lining up very early. Some of us will be handing out hot chocolate, cookies, coffee, really whatever volunteers want to bring or donate. If you'd like to help, we could use some extra helping hands.

How about a classroom or school project? Collect nonperishables from now until Christmas to donate to the food bank.

Need service hours? The food bank is a great place to volunteer year round.

The need is so great and donations are down. We really need your help.

If you're interested, call me, Mary DeSalvo 650-534-7117 (cell)

St. Mary's Food bank
20th and Jackson
206-324-7100, push the no. for the directory, you want to speak with Deep or Annie.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Helen, I asked my principal and he said no. I'm not sure I understand who has what but the district clearly has the raw data.

hschinske said...

Have Seattle teachers used SOAS data in the past?

Helen Schinske

dan dempsey said...


You are suggesting that data be used to discover what is occurring in the SPS. The Admin is against that type of discovery.

SPS central only uses "Data" to support: 1.) current direction or 2.) a predetermined proposed direction.

This is clear to me from watching 3 years of deception.

dan dempsey said...

The PSAT data was in High Schools in very early 2009. They just were not going to disclose any group results. Is that "Transparency"?

Perhaps the board could devise an incentive for greater transparency from the superintendent.

Josh Hayes said...

I stand by my previous offer: I can shred that data so as to preserve student anonymity and still allow the results to be categorized by all available variables (school, grade, SES, and so on). Free for nothing. Lemme at it, I'll crank it out in a day.

But do I imagine that they'll ever sign off on this? No. I think Dan is right: they have conclusions in search of data, not the other way around. This is how religious fundamentalism works.

Meg said...

Melissa- I know how you feel - although, I haven't been doing it for nearly as long.

I asked for the coaching information the district used to come to their conclusion that Central Administration is in line so that I could get a better grip on how district staff made their conclusion. What I got was 111.5 coaches (they did break out by type of coaches) totalling $10.3M in expense + $1.4M special ed contract = $11.7M. And then they showed me their math of how they subtracted it from the $45M of central office expense. Showing me the addition doesn't QUITE clear everything up. Sigh. I went ahead and asked again, but I'm not holding my breath that the result will be any faster or more illuminating, or that the public records request I filed (because I sort of thought this would happen) will give me much clearer data.

It feels distinctly Kafkaesque.

hschinske said...

Dan, do Seattle teachers generally have access to SOAS data?

Helen Schinske