Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

In the "we can dream, can't we" category, what do you see for education in Seattle in 2062?

The Happiness Initiative, Sustainable Seattle, and the Next 50 present the 2nd Annual Dream A Sound Future Competition

The Happiness Initiative is a national project offering tools and resources to communities and individuals seeking to enhance their well-being.  The mission of the Happiness Initiative is to work for a just, healthy and resilient society where all people have the opportunity to pursue happiness. Based on the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative indicators for sustainability, you can present your ideas on how you see the region in the next 50 years and the steps to get there. Think of the year 2062. Imagine thriving economy, culturally diverse society, carbon emissions free highways, healthy oceans and lush forests. How do we arrive at such a future? What is our best-case scenario?

Our contest asks residents of all ages to share their dreams and visions for a Sustainable Seattle in the next 50 years. The question we would pose to them would be: Where do you see Seattle education in the year 2062? What can we do as a community to start implementing and changing our school systems.

The Dream a Sound Future Competition is calling all visionaries to express these ideas through art, spoken word, dance, song, video, formal presentation, or other medium of choice.
First, go to www.happycounts.org and take the Happiness Survey.

Second, go to www.sustainableseattle.org/programs/dream-a-sound-future/163-library-of-dreams and view our Library of Dreams for inspiration and past contestants.

Third, go to www.sustainableseattle.org/dreamasoundfuture read the rules 

Finally, start formulating and mapping out your dream

Open to all Puget Sound Residents

Submissions accepted March 1st - April 23rd

Award Ceremony on May 12th, 2012 at Seattle Center - Prizes, Performances, and Fame!

46 comments:

Michael Rice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

A group of teachers and student families are organizing to shift the start times for middle and high schools to later in morning when, science tells us, adolescents are readier to learn.

They will be meeting next Monday around 5 pm at the Starbucks at Roosevelt Center.

Michael Rice said...

How do I see education in Seattle in 50 years? Me at 102 still teaching at Ingraham because I love what I do. :-)

Anonymous said...

Heads up in case you misssed this -

Sexual predator stalked McClure students via Facebook.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/avantgo/2017806172.html

-JC.

dan dempsey said...

I am all for starting an HONESTY action. I see that as a precursor to real happiness as opposed to continued delusions. Good Luck on that happening anytime soon in the SPS morass of deception.

The School Report Cards showed a lot of improvement in some schools from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 but was this just "smoke and mirrors hype"?

I can answer that but only in regard to 8th graders ready for High School Math ==> mostly 100% hype.

Grade inflation appears to be rampant and especially at certain high minority / high poverty schools.

I've done a report using actual data from OSPI testing and compared it with the MS School Report cards "Ready for HS Math" percents.

The District is not only optimistic but seemingly fraudulently optimistic in the case of certain schools.

The schools with among the best correlation of 8th grade MSP math pass rate and "Percent ready for HS math" are mostly Low Poverty/Low Minority schools. Exception is Washington Middle school which is doing quite well.

Check it out HERE.

Conversely some of the most bizarre deviations from MSP 8th grade math pass rate and "Ready for High School Math" percents are occurring at schools with high poverty/ high minority populations.

Of particular concern would be the middle schools where the 4 TFA corps members with conditional certificates are now teaching. Aki Kurose has 3 and South Shore K-8 has 1 TFA CM.

Check it out.
Aki MSP pass rate = 36.4%
yet ready for HS math = 77%

and South Shore K8 MSP math pass rate = 37%
yet ready for HS math = 93%

So How do Mark Teoh and the gang come up with this "ready for HS math" percent stuff? and is this number supposed to actually mean something?

Sure looks to me that the Principals of these two schools that requested TFA CMs needed to stay in the good graces of Enfield.

Here is a list of reliability values for 8th grade math. It is the best I can come up with for a measure of math grade inflation.

The 2011 Middle School cohorts

Reliability::School
1.00 C Blaine K8
0.84 Washington
0.83 Hamilton
0.83 Eckstein
0.77 Whitman
0.73 Denny
0.70 Mercer
0.67 McClure
0.67 Madison
0.63 Salmon B K8
0.58 TOPS K8
0.47 Aki Kurose
0.46 J Adams K8
0.42 Pinehurst K8
0.41 So Shore K8
0.39 Pathfinder K8
0.36 Madrona K8
0.25 Orca K8

Note: I could not find a Middle School Report card for Broadview-Thompson K8.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan. I wonder why the math inflation is highest at the K8's, is that because these schools are too small to offer Algebra? I wish every school had the Algebra option for 8th graders, instead of just "Math 8."

Does anyone know why Orca's 8th grade math scores have been so abysmal? Doesn't appear to be a high-poverty school. Low ELL too. Their elementary math scores look ok, but not 8th grade.

-Math mom

ben said...

@Dan
What is each test measuring? i.e. what is the material on the OSPI tests? I saw on the sps site that ready for HS math means C or better on anyone of several "advanced" classes. Is the material on the test just not being taught to all the students or are they getting inflated grades on the subject?

Ben

mirmac1 said...

Lynn Varner tweet:

@lkvarner
Requiring 80% of Seattle teachers 2 agree be4 schools can convert to a creative approach isn't democratic, its autocratic.

Oh Puhleeze! Like the ST is democractic!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, a charter bill that allows 50+% of either parents or teachers to flip a school to a charter school is then ridiculous.

What is it with these people and the Creative Approach schools?

I'll have to ask Tim Burgess if I see him on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Lynne - a simple majority just means you have just enough votes for a mob rule. By going to 80%, you have enough votes for a consensus. I would hope that CAS would be run by consensus and not by mob rule, because I would hate to be in a school where 49% of the teachers do not agree with the direction being foisted on them by the other 51%.

- not a mob fan

dan dempsey said...

The last two years the MSP Math for grade 8 measured the 8th grade math standards. (2008 Math standards .. some arithmetic is required)

Last year was the first year for measuring the 2008 Math Standards in high school. The Algebra EoC covered most of the Algebra Standards (with the exception of about 3 standards on quadratic equations "these were omitted" as being unfair to Integrated Math students)

The Geometry EoC needs to be revised because it only covers about half the geometry Standards (again the Integrated Math students would be at a disadvantage if all the Geometry standards were covered).

However with the coming CCSS we will be back to square one .... as there will not be end of course testing for math classes.

CCSS testing looks like another "Bergeson WASL math disaster" extended to 45 states at huge expense. There are around 8 "mathematical practice standards" and around 300+ content standards in the CCSS. The testing it appears will place a lot of emphasis on the Practice Standards and not enough on the content standards.

As for what is going on with those Grade Inflated Middle School "Ready for High School Math percents"
The key defect is in assuming that middle school math grades are a reflection of math knowledge.

I would suspect that at AKI Kurose .... for teachers in years one and two to stay employed it is best to give higher grades than are merited and that disruptive students are NOT to be sent to the office. This compounds problems rather than solving them.

How can South Shore's 8th grade MSP math pass rate of 37% possibly give anyone confidence that 93% of those students are ready for high school math? This looks like lying about the Math Achievement Gaps. Principal Keisha Scarlett at one time was an SPS math coach ... perhaps she could explain it to us. Where's Mark Teoh's explanation?

The SPS System was designed NOT to offer any high school math classes below Algebra I .... so apparently the tools need to indicate that way more students are ready for high school math than are actually prepared.

The SPS results on the Algebra EoC show what a major scam this is. Keep in mind $800,000 on "Discovering Books" and $400,000 in Professional development to get the continuation of the high school math debacle.

TFA is just another part of the scam.

Sahila said...

you think this society is going to survive intact for another 50 years???? Not if things stay the way they are...

seattle citizen said...

Ach, my hometown is going nuts:

War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

From the CBS-NYC article:

"The word 'dinosaur' made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. 'Halloween' is targeted because it suggests paganism...Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. 'Poverty' is also on the forbidden list...In a throwback to 'Footloose,' the word 'dancing' is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like 'ballet': The city made an exception for this form of dance. Also banned are references to 'divorce' and 'disease,' because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill...
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers.
'So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests,'"

The List:

*Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
*Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
*Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
*Bodily functions
*Cancer (and other diseases)
*Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
*Celebrities
*Children dealing with serious issues
*Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
*Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
*Crime
*Death and disease
*Divorce
*Evolution
*Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
*Gambling involving money
*Halloween
*Homelessness
*Homes with swimming pools
*Hunting
*Junk food
*In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
*Loss of employment
*Nuclear weapons
*Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
*Parapsychology
*Politics
*Pornography
*Poverty
*Rap Music
*Religion
*Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
*Rock-and-Roll music
*Running away
*Sex
*Slavery
*Terrorism
*Television and video games (excessive use)
*Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
*Vermin (rats and roaches)
*Violence
*War and bloodshed
*Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
*Witchcraft, sorcery, etc

seattle citizen said...

@Sahila - If we continue to dumb down the population by teaching to tests and, additionally, banning powerful words and ideas from those tests...nah, we don't have fifty more years as an innovative, critical-thinking population, no.

But we might, in those circumstances, survive as a bowl of pap.

seattle citizen said...

Ach, my hometown is going nuts:

War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

From the CBS-NYC article:

"The word 'dinosaur' made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. 'Halloween' is targeted because it suggests paganism...Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. 'Poverty' is also on the forbidden list...In a throwback to 'Footloose,' the word 'dancing' is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like 'ballet': The city made an exception for this form of dance. Also banned are references to 'divorce' and 'disease,' because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill...
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers.
'So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests,'"

The List:

*Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
*Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
*Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
*Bodily functions
*Cancer (and other diseases)
*Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
*Celebrities
*Children dealing with serious issues
*Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
*Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
*Crime
*Death and disease
*Divorce
*Evolution
*Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
*Gambling involving money
*Halloween
*Homelessness
*Homes with swimming pools
*Hunting
*Junk food
*In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
*Loss of employment
*Nuclear weapons
*Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
*Parapsychology
*Politics
*Pornography
*Poverty
*Rap Music
*Religion
*Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
*Rock-and-Roll music
*Running away
*Sex
*Slavery
*Terrorism
*Television and video games (excessive use)
*Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
*Vermin (rats and roaches)
*Violence
*War and bloodshed
*Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
*Witchcraft, sorcery, etc

Disgusted said...

Rodney Tom in the news again.:

http://publicola.com/2012/03/27/sen-tom-with-republicans-again-this-time-as-subject-of-a-campaign-finance-complaint/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=publicola

As per usual, LEV chooses to associate with a real doozie.

Sunny Sunday said...

Walking around the lake this past weekend, I see a woman with a familiar blonde "bob" hairdo walking in front of me. She's walking and talking with her pal. As I walk by I hear one of them say "People just dont
understand ... Maria ( Goodloe Johnson) really did a great job". After I pass them, I turn and see that it is indeed Director Sherry Carr. I stop to tie my shoe and hear a bit more. The gist is that the public are fools, and that she, Ms Carr knows better. It was really sad.

Jon said...

Sunny Sunday or anyone else, that's an interesting story, and very disappointing to hear that probably was Sherry Carr.

Frankly, I'd enjoy hearing why anyone, on the school board or otherwise, thinks Maria Goodloe-Johnson "really did a great job" as superintendent given the flat-to-down student achievement metrics and many crises she left behind. Obviously, I strongly disagree she did a great job, but I'd like to better understand how anyone can think that. Anyone want to try to explain it to me? Is it just the typical "the job is hard, we can't expect actual results from highly paid executives" argument or is there something more?

dan dempsey said...

Jon,

Since several directors voting records were 100% MGJ and Sherry Carr was one of those directors, it is easy to see this conversation happening.

I wonder what Ms. Carr thinks of:
(1) The State Auditor's Office
(2) State laws and school board policies
(3) The SPS math scores from the last decade
(4) Her votes to extend MGJ's contract
(5) Her vote for the NTN contract without reading it.
(6) Enfield's incredibly inaccurate School Board action reports
(7) The Middle School progress reports that show 8th graders ready for high school math at AKI and South Shore and her vote for TFA.

I see Ms. Carr as incredibly consistent in her dedication to Education Reform ... which comes at the expense of Seattle students

YUP MGJ was terrific from her viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

dan,

perhaps you could not find a report card for Broadview-Thompson because someone did not want it to be found. it was shown at a staff meeting and the scores were abysmal. I hope you can find them. the school is on third year ayp.

just saying.

Anonymous said...

another dismaying fact. the Broadview principal paid for 6-8 students to be tutored the summer before 8th grade to be ready to take algebra in 8th grade. those students sat in a class of 10-12 every students was white except for one, all year being taught algebra while the other students sat in math classes of 28-32. many of those students were struggling AND mostly minorities.

just saying.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen - looking at that list just makes me want to use as many of them in a sentence as possible for maximum extra credit.

- Yes, I was THAT student

seattle citizen said...

Jon, in a nutshell, I'll give it shot:
Some people thought MG-J was great (but just needed more time.)

"Great" because, in their minds perhaps, the following pertains (in what has become a sad, sad world for public education):

Good education is expensive, and as schools are expected to do more for more people with struggles (poverty, etc) it would, in an ideal world, become MORE expensive: Schools do a pretty good job now (I know, I know, there are struggling teachers and struggling students, but overall...) but there are a lot of students who have great need, need that, if one wants to meet it in the school, requires FTE and resources, no cheap way to do it.

Public money is going to other things (for whatever reason: War; deb payment, health care, pensions, corporate tax breaks, you name it.)

Some say the cure for all this is to standardize the system, make it into a more efficient production line. To do this, they say we must quantify everything and put it into little data boxes to measure and sift and add and subtract..Hence, EVERYTHING is being geared around standardized tests.

As the system is thue "rationalized," some say, it will be "better" This "better" is usually attached to the achievement gap, for, I guess, it makes good sound bites and allows for an easy sell.

Standardized tests: Allow for the the struggles of a bunch of individuals to supposedly quantified to the barest categories and metrics: "Black" children score this number of percentage points less than "white" children. There's your "achievement gap," all tidy, even though "Black" refers to both generational African Americans and new African immigrants both (go figure: I guess they're the same) and never mind that "African American" or "White" ignores all the myraid pieces that make a child. Also never mind that percentages on tests don't really tell us hardly anything about the true nature and outcomes of education...

Never mind all that, the result is that "some people" ( Broad, Gates, Duncan, NWEA, MG-J...) believe, or want to believe, that the whole system can be rejiggered into a sort of business-like widget factory, with measurable inputs and outputs, and all things will be fine. They seem to think that the "public" is a bunch of angry bloggers, not the citizens that elect boards; that boards are impediments (the supe needs to MOVE, ya know, be nimble! Like business!); that unions are bad because each school should be like a factory, where the manager can fire at will and "hire the best" (test preppers); where private enterprise can use its magic to do things without all that damn public bellyachin'...

Hence, there are a lot of people who think MG-J was "great" because she was Broad-trained, Broad and Gates and Boeing supported, she was business minded (sitting on the board of NWEA as it sold us the MAP test...remember the need for these tests...), she was no-nonsense, she was didn't like the union (came from a non-union district), was "data-driven..."

Some people are convinced that that stuff is the cat's meow: If we'd only given her more time, then the system would become this wonderful business, uh, system, that was, itself, "data-driven."

I think that that might best be why they like her: "Data driven." Rather than try to actually support students (can't afford it, ya know) we use "data" to supposedly make the whole thing more manageable.

Of course, real education goes out the window with this model, but the nonsense has been circulating so long it no longer matters: It's taken a life of its own.

THAT'S why some like her, including our own Boeing-bred Sherry Carr: It's "the future!" and it saves us from having to actually admit we won't ever, never, nuh uh support public ed and struggling students as fully as we should.

seattle citizen said...

@Yes, I was THAT student -
"...looking at that list just makes me want to use as many of them in a sentence as possible for maximum extra credit."

Right. Because it would be a creative challenge. Now, if you were THAT student sitting down for your HSPE, and you were tired of the BS, you might well write a whole writing piece using every last one of those horrible, horrible words. And you would "fail" (along with your entire school - read: school staff)
because you just weren't being standardized enough.

Anonymous said...

Charlie -

so with those shifted times - and wide awake fully engaged goof offs in 1st and 2nd period, instead of 1/2 awake goof offs ...

the focus will be, what did the teacher do wrong to cause poor little victim goof off to be a goof off?

LetsStartAt6AM

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha. I was right. (Sorry to gloat.)

A middle school on the list that I know did this for sure, changed the grade scale for an even distribution of % intervals for levels of 4 (90+), 3 (80-89), 2 (70-79), 1 (60-69) for grading. The levels still mean 4- Exceed Standard, 3- Meet Standard, 2- Approaching Standard, 1- Needs improvement. So the grades never showed "failing."
It was an attempt to put a square peg into a round hole. Standards based measures and % do not mesh well. No maliciousness or subterfuge. But I predicted this outcome. No one failed on paper even though they were at levels 2 and 1 in terms of success.
Problematic to say the least. Good luck with that, guys.

- not there any more

Charlie Mas said...

Jon wrote: "[i]Frankly, I'd enjoy hearing why anyone, on the school board or otherwise, thinks Maria Goodloe-Johnson "really did a great job" as superintendent given the flat-to-down student achievement metrics and many crises she left behind.[/i]"

I'll take a crack at this.

To be clear, I do not believe that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, on the whole, did a good job. That said, she did make some progress in some areas.

For at least ten years before she arrived, Seattle Public Schools had been completely un-managed. Joseph Olchefske used "site-based management" as an excuse to abdicate all authority and Raj Manhas didn't do anything. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, for all of the damage that she did, instituted some management into the District.

Take a look at her Strategic Plan. It is not an academic plan; it is a management plan. It is all about establishing management tools, structures, and procedures.

She is an evil person with malice in her heart, and she didn't exactly get the trains to run on time, but she at least wrote a train schedule - and we didn't even have that before she arrived. So, for those who care most about order, she was good. Not for me.

Maureen said...

Dan, I'll take a stab at why the K-8s generally look so bad wrt your measure. Those schools can generally only offer one level of math to all of their kids. Most of them just get through CMP. TOPS does teach algebra to all of the 8th graders. There is no option to move a kid down a level if they aren't getting the material. Grades (in my experience) are as much about handing in the work as they are doing well on the exams. The K-8s have better systems (put more emphasis on?) getting the kids to get their work in and thus pass the class. That doesn't always translate 100% into passing the MSP.

I note that Blaine does well on your measure not because so many of their kids pass a class that prepares them for HS, but because the kids they sort out to take (and pass) that course also pass the MSP (about 75% of the class). They must offer a lower level math class and presort and assign 25% of their kids to that class. Most K-8s don't/can't do that. In my experience, the K-8 Math teachers know whatlevel their kids should be assigned to in HS regardless of what class they passed in 8th grade. The real issue is that nothing lower than Algebra I is being offered in the HSs. How is that even possible?

dan dempsey said...

Math Mom wrote:

"Thanks, Dan. I wonder why the math inflation is highest at the K8's, is that because these schools are too small to offer Algebra? I wish every school had the Algebra option for 8th graders, instead of just "Math 8.""

First reaction is its because teachers are giving grades that are not indications of actual math skill as contained in the 8th grade standards, or these teachers are not covering enough material. (always a possibility given the social promotions in the SPS ... where are those interventions?)
Remember I calculated the Inflation factor based on MSP Math 8 results, which does not require much algebra.

My longer response is going to be a bit of a ramble.

Here is what I know. At TFA academy virtually every 8th grader takes algebra. The TFA EoC algebra results are far far better than the TFA 8th grade math results. These are the exact same kids taking both tests. (with the exception of one kid who did not take the EoC). Teaching algebra in grade 8 is definitely not getting as many kids doing well on MSP Math 8 as one might believe should be the case.

The Common Core State Standards while claiming to be internationally benchmarked to high performing counties are NOT. CCSS does not have a lot of Algebra in grade 8. I think this is because CCSS is essentially another one size fits all minimum standard and look for fuzzy tests ala WASL from the Smarter Balanced Consortium, which is designing assessments and is headed by Mr. WASL Joseph Wilhoft.

Some place in the SPS kids need to master arithmetic if you look at the "Discovering" Adoption video footage, you will find the Sealth principal and Math dept head strongly advocating for "Discovering". The Math Dept Head said that her kids could not learn with traditional methods....... Well here is news those kids are not learning much with Discovering and Sealth methods. {{SPS has a K-8 mess... that was hardly a reason to buy four more years of mess. Remember the Board knew that "Discovering" was rated as mathematically unsound and spent $1.2 million on it anyway}}

Sealth HS percent of kids at level 1 (well below standard)

42.8% <=2011 MSP EoC for those completing Algebra I class (and only 30.4% passed)

29% <=2010 HSPE math testing old standards (grade 10) (49% passed)

36% <=2009 WASL grade 10 (39.5% passed)

42.5% <=2008 WASL grade 10 (38% passed)

=========================

The biggest problem in math in the SPS is TOP DOWN defective math leadership. Materials and Practices known to work are ignored and what is pushed is what has repeatedly failed.

Perhaps the k-8 schools have more generalists who believe what the Central Admin has been pushing, which is also what the Board has been approving.

In the vindictive SPS best do what you are told, which often is not what works.

Keep in mind that Sealth is now an IB school (whatever).

==========
I agree that Algebra in grade 8 should be an available option for kids that have mastered the mathematics below Algebra I. However the SPS rarely requires much in the way of mathematical mastery anywhere.

dan dempsey said...

Maureen,

Thanks for your thoughts. Everyday Math followed by Connected Math Project is hardly a math preparation for anything.

Your description exposes the holes in the sham known as "Differentiated Instruction" when huge differences in knowledge and skills are present in larger math classes.

I think in a K-8 school a walk to math approach to grouping would help. Needless to say better instructional materials are needed. If teachers are actually using CMP as advised, then a huge change in instructional practices is needed as well.

Keep in mind the SPS ignores data and research on a pretty much continual basis.

You wrote:
"Grades (in my experience) are as much about handing in the work as they are doing well on the exams."

This means that grades may be Fraudulent. There are math skills to be mastered and math content to be learned. Grades should be a measure of that. If homework counts more than 25%, then grades may not be measuring learning. ==> Thus the Grade Inflation where the curriculum is the 2008 Math standards and the grades are a long way from being a measure of what the students are to be learning.

Note above Sealth EoC Algebra results --- did 42% of the Algebra Students at Sealth receive F grades?

A level 1 on the Algebra EoC is an indication that the student knows very little algebra.

As you wrote:
The real issue is that nothing lower than Algebra I is being offered in the HSs. How is that even possible?

At Seattle High Schools this is possible because Susan Enfield as CAO and Superintendent said that no classes below Algebra I was the plan for high schools.

This thinking is based on the flawed reasoning that students will rise to the level of expectation. In fact this is not true. There is a theory on ZPD ... the zone of proximal development..... when a kids zone is 2 years below Algebra ... the result for an algebra class will be in most cases failure or a Gift Grade.

As you can see from the Grade inflation data ... there is a lot of Gift Grading going on because both the Superintendent and the Board refuse to fix anything.

For that matter the District refuses to even look=> No careful review of achievement gaps or solutions has ever taken place. Instead the Achievement Gaps are used as justification for any number of things. TFA CM's at South Shore and Aki Kurose are just latest in a stream of poor decisions.

Concerned said...

Dan,

Thanks for the report. Very disturbing.

What variables determine math scores on School Report Cards?

My 8th grader is using a CMP math book with supplemented material. Hard to know what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Dan, in your 8:55 am post, you reference TFA Academy. Do you mean TAF Academy in Federal Way? Do they use the same materials as Seattle and if not, how can you compare the two (if you are)? Also, what are you saying about the testing and results there-which, if either, are accurate? I'm a little lost.

Lost in a sea of stats

dan dempsey said...

Dear Concerned,

To assess your child in math ....

Try the Singapore Placement Tests
HERE.

Start with grade 3 and see how it goes.

If a student can pass grade 6 Singapore assessment, they are more than ready for Algebra. This will give an idea that our nation is a ways away from being internationally competitive in math.

As for how the district calculates the percent of an 8th grade Middle School Class that will be ready for high school math, I have no idea.

At South Shore k-8 in 2011 the percent of 8th graders scoring at level 1 (well below basic) on the MSP math = 35.8%

Yet the South Shore k-8 school report card has 93% of students ready for Algebra.

This of course makes no sense at all. So what is going on with the math grades at South Shore? How does Mark Teoh's REA department generate 93%?

If SPS was really interested in closing achievement gaps..... a place to start would be with the truth ... 93% ready (NO WAY).

==========
Also for South Shore's Black 8th grade students 57.7% tested at well below standard (level 1)

KSB thinks that TFA for South Shore .... is a strategy for closing achievement gaps because the principal requests it. Is this rational?

Evidence free decision making by the Board once again.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Lost in the Stats,

Excellent question.

I referenced TAF in Federal Way as that was the only school I could find that had essentially the same population of students in the same test year taking both the 8th grade Math MSP and the Algebra EoC.

TAF EoC Algebra results are HERE for 49 students.

TAF 8th grade MSP Math results are HERE for 50 students

Algebra EoC
lev 4 => 30.6%
lev 3 => 55.1%
lev 2 => 8.2%
lev 1 => 6.1%

8th grade MSP
lev 4 => 12%
lev 3 => 28%
lev 2 => 28%
lev 1 => 32%

Note that for algebra only 7 out of 49 students failed to meet standard with 3 well below standard.

In 8th grade Math MSP 30 out of 50 students failed to meet standard with 16 well below standard.

dan dempsey said...

If you are looking for a school report card for a school you can find it HERE

but not Broadview-Thompson K8.

Anonymous said...

Alki Elementary and Adams Elementary have won the city finals of the Global Reading Challenge that was held last night at the downtown library! Next they compete against Canada via video link.

Adams Parent

Anonymous said...

But Dan, what does that MEAN? And do they use the same math as Seattle? Isn't the problem in Seattle the choice of math texts?

Do you think the kids can do algebra but not general math (and how is that even possible?), or that they value one test over the other and thus try harder? Isn't the school's founder an occassional poster here-I would like to see her take on the situation. The stats alone aren't telling the whole story.

Lost

dan dempsey said...

Dear Lost in a Sea of Stats,

Great question what does it all mean?

I've found other places that definitely back up what we see at TAF.... pass rates are lower on Grade 8 MSP math than on Algebra EoC. (at TAF we get to see true for same kids).

I suspect that perhaps access to calculators may have something to do with the answer to this. I do not know for sure what the current rules are for when Calculators are allowed on the MSP but I think that on the Algebra EoC a calculator is OK for 100% of the test. Perhaps a current teacher can tell us.

The entire thrust of SPS Math focus is way off. There seems to be an SPS belief that conceptual understanding can be attained without a command of math skills. The fact is that number sense is critical and comes from dealing with numbers.

In several Asian nations the multiplication tables are learned at a very early age. In Ed USA this would be taboo as memorizing the facts before a student is able to understand the full picture of multiplication would be avoided.

For centuries the Indian students have been learning the multiplication table through 16x16. Many Chinese students learn the multiplication facts through songs at a very early age.

I have no idea what it all means except that the leadership in SPS math is bizarre and that is why current results are much worse than in the high performing nations and SPS results for low income students are declining relative to several other districts and the state as a whole. The syllabus from Singapore in the early grades contains far fewer standards and requires teaching to mastery level. In EDM mastery is not emphasized and there are a large number of topics at each grade level that are repeated year after year after year.

The District is not looking for solutions nearly as hard as they are looking to cover up the facts. The lack of interest in investigating math achievement gap academic causes and looking for reasonable courses of action toward solutions is complete negligence. {{Just authorize TFA and call it good.}}

Patrick said...

Isn't the problem in Seattle the choice of math texts?

I think that's one of several problems.

Another is that kids who can't do grade level math are still passed into the next grade. In math, once kids are a year or more behind they're unlikely to catch up.

Another problem is that teachers up through middle school don't have to take much math in college themselves. Many of them do, but they don't have to in order be certified.

Another problem is the reluctance to assign enough practice. Practice is ridiculed among some educators as "drill and kill," little or no practice is assigned as homework and not enough is done in class.

Concerned said...

Thanks, Dan. I appreciate it.

Any thoughts regarding cognitive development? When I was a kid I we took algebra in 9th grade, geomentry in 10th grade and algebra 2 in 11th. My child has been recommended to take Honors Geometry in 9th grade. He is one of the youngest kids in his class. I have concerns about cognitive abilities to deal with the abstract prematurely. I'm mostly worried about algebra 2 in 10th grade.

Jan said...

Dan, the numbers on TAF are fascinating, and I too would love to know what they mean. For example, I had a learning-disabled child who could NOT pass the old WASL. (We were going to use alternate SAT scores, but didn't, as explained below). The WASL questions were so vague that even I couldn't always figure out what answer they wanted, and his ability to communicate his thought processes (which were actually great, in symbols) were horrible when he had to use written language (the area of his disability). When the school switched to the HSPE (or whatever it was), which was less language intense (no clue whether it was as badly written), he did the entire test, in 11th grade, in about half of the allotted time, and got a qualifying score with no problem whatsoever. Oh -- and in the year between the two, he had taken no math, so he was working from his 9th grade algebra 1 and about 1/2 of a year of geometry, which was all we had managed to get through in 10th grade (we did math by correspondence through another school, as we refuse to use Discovery). Nothing -- no math -- in 11th due to heavy courseload elsewhere. In other words -- it was ALL about the test format, not the knowledge of the kid.

When I look at TAF's scores, the thing that immediately comes to MY mind is that a good EOC test, taken right after the year when the child learns the material, is much more useful (and seems much more legitimate) than the blobby, amorphous MSP/HSPE tests. And while I don't think the calculator issue is irrelevant, I think the test format (and timing and content) is far more critical. What do you think?

Trish Millines Dziko said...

The MSP vs the EOC scores for our TAF Academy 8th graders are somewhat of a mystery to us as well. Although we did see the same pattern in other schools.

We took measures to make sure that whatever MSP was testing and our kids didn't pass, would not kill them in Geometry for 9th grade. So far, so good, but there's always room to continuously learn and improve.

Anonymous said...

Dan

Are you able to find out why Broadview's Middle School report card is not available for people to see?

thx

an interested parent

Anonymous said...

I was just telling my family about that "ridiculous" list of words banned by the NYC Dept of Ed, when my third grader piped up that cigarettes and smoking are frequently encountered on the MAP test. Yes, apparently he's seen numerous questions along the lines of "Bob smokes x cigarettes per day, and buys a pack of y cigarettes. How long will it take before he runs out?" I'm all for meaningful discussion of serious issues, but I have to say this really threw me for a loop. Has anyone else heard of kids coming across similar questions? Suddenly the NYC ban doesn't seem so outrageous!

I wonder what the NWEA test makers were smoking?

dan dempsey said...

Dear Interested parent,

I am trying to find out where the Broadview Thompson school report card may be. I wrote Marty McLaren.

Also Cliff Mass has a great blog posting HERE

We Can Fix the K-12 Educational System

"The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions"

Some good-intentioned, but misinformed, folks in our state legislature, on the editorial board of the Seattle Times, among the very rich, and some major foundations are now hell-bent to "solve" the education problem with a devilish brew of charter schools, teacher assessments, union bashing, and "ed reform" ideas. These folks are well meaning but fail to understand the real problems, and their solutions will quickly fail while crippling efforts to make real improvements. (In fact, the jury is already in for a number of their failed panaceas--like charter schools and small high schools). The Seattle Times has reported and opinionated about the conflict over "ed reform" including the debate in the state legislature and the unhappiness of the frustrated ultra wealthy (e.g., Nick Hanauer) in getting their way: see this article as an example.

We can solve the K-12 education problem, but we need to throw away ideas that quick fixes and "market reforms" will do the trick. We need to get down to basics and become willing to learn from countries that are successful. This blog will describe a different approach, one based on fundamentals. Some basic tenets I believe are important:

1. No more jumping from one edufad to another
2. We need to define exactly what we want kids to know
3. We must insure that teachers have deep subject knowledge of what they teach.
4. Teachers must be respected and given substantial autonomy
5. Education approaches must be guided by empirical testing and research
6. Ed schools need to be reformed and improved.
7. Pre-school education is a critical component of future learning.
8. All kids are NOT going to college, and that is NOT a problem. K-12 education should be flexible to allow varied directions.
9. Good education costs money.

So lets talk about these points:

Scrawny Kayaker said...

Jan @ 3:14 3/28

That WASL/HSPE experience makes complete sense. Around the time my kid started SPS, I downloaded the middle-school science WASL and thought that the concepts tested were reasonable, but that the format made the test as much one of English composition as science.

This would seem to be a general failing of discovery math. When the bulk of the math instruction is verbiage rather than algorithmic or symbolic, it's gotta be harder for ESL students or anyone who's reading skills are lagging.

Maybe some emphasis on a "connected" approach would be useful, but it seems like 1 day a week reading and writing about math and 4 days DOING math would be better than the inverse.