Friday, February 01, 2013

Friday Open Thread

A quiet week with an interesting ending.

There are no director Community Meetings tomorrow.

From the Legislature, it appears that GET isn't dead yet.  Several key senators are pushing back.   On the other hand, one senator wants to stop....flashmobs.  Yes, a key issue in Washington State.

One little girl in a terrible situation and the choice she makes for education (caution; one bad word so if you are too gentle don't hit the link). 

Lastly, in yet another of a parent's worst nightmares about school, I ask for your prayers and good karma for a little boy in Alabama who was snatched from a school bus two days ago and is still being held by his captor in an underground bunker.  The bus driver was shot and killed trying to save him.  We can all only have empathy and imagine what that boy is going through and, of course, his parents as well.

What's on your mind?




51 comments:

Robyn said...

I'm disturbed by the proposed transportation standards that Bob and Pegi are trying to get rubber stamped under the Auspice of grandfathering for capacity reasons. I don't disagree with that given what we face, but they've edited the heck out of last year's approved standards which they haven't followed. They are changing start times, stop locations, etc. etc. and really only mention the grandfathering issue for capacity to the Board. I think it's sneaky and dirty!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Robyn, I'm going to have a thread on this so thanks for reminding me. I don't know that I think Transportation is being sneaky but I think the Board is very distracted. And again, I think the boundary changes may have made Transportation hit the pause button.

Anonymous said...

Another senior teacher bites the dust. R.I.P.
SPS has all but won another battle to rid the district of experienced teachers who daily make a difference in the lives and education of our most vulnerable students. I have spent my entire savings and gone into debt (SEA has not lifted a finger to help) in an attempt to fight for the honor and integrity of not only myself but other teachers who have become the causalities of Ed Deform. In the end it has come down to the fact that SPS had unlimited access to public resources in order to do their miss-deeds. I do not have the tens of thousands of dollars it would take to deal with their continued harassment of me through the observation process, which has been used to justify their forcing me out. I have been cited for "concerns" such as not modulating my voice properly during instruction, incorrectly arranging my furniture, placing resource materials on the front table, providing alternate and challenging materials for my exceptional students. My non-native English speakers have been unable to name the "teaching point". I have been told that my lesson plans do not properly cite the Common Core objectives. It is of no interest that I teach to those objectives and my high needs population regularly meets them. Not one discussion has taken place about student learning. Instead I have had to defend my position that it is up to me as to when to check my junk mail in the main office and not be put on a schedule to do so.
I will have filed nearly a dozen grievances for contract violations The City of Seattle is overseeing two ethics complaints dealing with the district breaking federal laws.
In the end though, as often happens those who have the most marbles win the game.
Salander

mirmac1 said...

It was my understanding that any new Transportation Standards were going to come from the Executive High Level Transportation Task Force. Was this another flash-in-the-pan?

Robyn said...

I'll believe you, Melissa, but deleting items out of this year's standards and not pointing that out to the board seems sneaky given my limited knowledge. The standards omitted were serious money and time savers. Mirmac, The use of use task force recommendations are not taken into consideration in many areas in the proposed standards for next year. In my opinion, that task force was, yes, another flash-in-the-pan. I'm sure I'll be more educated via Melissa's thread since this seems to be slipping through without public comment.

Eric B said...

This is a wayback on a grand scale, but I thought I'd throw it in. Long before I was involved in District affairs, the former Sharples middle school was renamed Aki Kurose. Both people were important in Seattle's history, Sharples as a pioneering doctor at Children's and Kurose as a leader in the Asian-American community. At the time of the renaming, the School Board promised the Sharples family that they would name a middle school after Sharples at the next opportunity. There was a move to name one of the new elementaries (I think Queen Anne) after Sharples, but the family asked to wait for a middle school.

Now we're opening two new middle schools, both sharing names with other schools (JA K-8/JAMS, Wilson-Pacific Middle and Elementary). It seems like it's time to follow through on that promise.

I know it's a little thing, but it's a promise that can be kept with no pain or cost.

mirmac1 said...

Salandar,

There is no &^$%@ reason that you should be fighting HR's flawed evaluation scheme and relentless harassment alone.

Frankly, the handful of misguided Principals and APs who think it is their job to nitpick, harangue and drive caring, experienced teachers out should be exposed for the bullies they are.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, great reminder. The Board and Superintendent need to be reminded.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, mirmac. I have been trying to expose the process whereby dozens of teachers have been forced out.
However, I have been unable to garner any visible support. The teachers with whom I work may not realize that me taking the flak allows no time for administration to pressure then. Several teachers in my building have had no observation reports while I have had a multitude. Parents have written letters of support but receive no response. It takes a community to raise response as Garfield teachers have so successfully spearheaded. One voice simply is not heard in this vast lawless wilderness.
Salander

Anonymous said...

A thoughtful piece in today's NYT for Ed Reformers to get off their high horses and engage with the communities which they are certain they can fix

And a gentle ask for the teachers and principals to let the reformers down into the bunkers to have that conversation.

EdVoter

Jan said...

Salander -- I agree with mirmac. I am curious as to whether, in your opinion, there is anything parents/students can do. All this stuff seems to go on behind this veil of employer/employee secrecy (not unusual in employment relations issues, but it works to the administration's advantage here).

You know -- it seems to me that this is what the union is for. To step in at a point like this, make an objective analysis as to whether the teacher has real problems or is just being harrassed, and then help good teachers. I am constantly amazed they they refuse to lift a finger!

mirmac1 said...

Salandar,

It may impact those teachers yet. here is Sara Morris with A4E (WTH does she have to do with SPS HR, right?) discussing how to help principals be more "bold" in their evaluation work. WTF is that?!

So Eric Anderson (who is not an HR OR education expert - he is a data analyst) is pitching the hire of "roaming external evaluators who could be strategically deployed" across the regions. SPS has in fact done this, hired a handful of washed-up ex-principals who, in order to look like their worth their money, flying in for nit-pick observations. These folks have NO connection to that building's culture, to families and students relationships with teachers. They just gotta look like they did something for their pay. How would it look if they came back and said "So-and-so is a great teacher"?

I wonder if Charlotte Danielsen thought this would work for her "framework"?

Outside evaluators

Anonymous said...

What school is it, Salandar? And yes, SEA doesn't do much to protect people once it gets to any stage.

-parent

mirmac1 said...

parent,

It could be any of a number of schools. The culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation is alive and well in SPS. It is my hope that Banda does away with this.

Anonymous said...

SEA does s NOTHING to protect anyone. I am at a NE High school. Several parents have written letters of support but strangely these are never written in my evaluations that include no positive points at all even though examples of these reports run to ten pages of eight point type. We, like other high school, have been directed to push low performing students over the border of failure to earn credit( a grade of E) because of low skills, poor work habits or emotional challenges into the "D" column because the district has no viable credit retrieval programs to make up credit if they fail. At the same time they provide "dumbed down" curriculum that doesn't mesh with any standards. If we provide material that is appropriate for diminished reading skills for some students then we are told that the work is not challenging. If we, at the same time are providing challenging work for exceptional students then we are blamed for it being too difficult for the "average" student. I contend that there is no "average" student. Each is unique and fragile and gifted in their own ways. I regularly provide differentiated work for a range of students from the very bottom of the quartile to those exceeding the top. I regularly provide a host of engaging and creative activities in which students participate in designing their own rubrics and give meaningful critiques of their work. I also participate in design of innovative uses of technology to support learning. I can do all this because I have something called EXPERIENCE. This is not something my administrators possess. If one were to add up all the teaching experience of the administrators in my building it would come up to less than half of what I have. What these administrators do have though is a corrupt district HR fueled regularly by "outside" influence.
Salander

Anonymous said...

Salander,

What you describe is happening in many districts. It is apparent that those who do not swallow the company line may be forced out by any means necessary.

This "forcing out of teachers" has zero to do with any inadequacy on the part of the teacher in delivering a quality education to their students.

Buyouts are offered to teachers with the stipulation that they cannot disclose any of the procedures that led to their dismissal and buyout.

Teachers are told that the district will not oppose any unemployment claim if they resign. Thus the teacher receives about $2100 per month for around a year and a half if they remain unemployed.

There is so much the matter with public school leadership and union education leadership in WA State at the moment, one must wonder about the future of teaching as a viable profession.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Salander wrote, "In the end it has come down to the fact that SPS had unlimited access to public resources in order to do their miss-deeds."

Yes, this is the core of it. This is how Seattle Schools mismanages its public funds and the public trust. This is how SPS Legal runs itself. SPS Legal runs itself like a corporation, forgetting all the time that public education isn't about the last person standing. The client is the child, the student. Half the time it looks like SPS Legal has forgotten that this is public education, not war.

If Banda reforms anything let's hope he changes the mission and the culture of his legal department.

reader

Anonymous said...

The money spent on "last man standing" instead of support for our vulnerable populations should be actionable in court as abuse of public funds. SPS gets away with this abuse as their seems to be no way to stand up to it and make a difference for students. How dare they tout "Excellence for All".
Salander

Anonymous said...

Salander,

Is there anything more the parents can do to help? The parents at Ingraham were able to retain the principal they loved through an active campaign. Your situation makes me wonder what my freshman daughter's teachers are up against and if there is anything I can do to help them.

I have opted her out of the MAP test in support of the teachers.

Thanks,
Hale Parent

mirmac1 said...

Salandar,

What you say about dumbed down curriculum is true at Ballard. They, in fact, tout how tracking of special education and low or underachieving general students into "inclusion" classrooms is best practice. No, it merely means those students learn even less because the teacher can't be expected to provide all the help they need. Meanwhile, the AP courses have reduced class size.

Special ed families are tired of their students keeping up in elementary, only to crash and burn in middle and high school because of this unconscionable practice.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1 wrote:
Special ed families are tired of their students keeping up in elementary, only to crash and burn in middle and high school because of this unconscionable practice.

Well it ain't just SpEd try low income students as well.

This seems part of the big fake-out... that mainstreaming and differentiated instruction can create virtually equal outcomes for all. Check out ready for HS math on school report cards for each middle school HERE.

Look at the mismatch of middle school math performance on OSPI annual testing vs. the "ready for high school math" percentage (which is determined from math class grades). See the reliability numbers HERE.

Reliability = MSP math pass rate / ready for HS Math

2011-2012: Aki Kurose=>

29.3% pass 8th grade MSP ... but District says 90% ready for high school math in grade 9
Reliability = 29.3/90 = 32.6%

Here are the low income student MSP Math pass rates in spring 2012 for 8th grade students=>

SY 2011-2012 School MSP ALL students and :: Low Income Student Math pass rate
Eckstein 80.0 ........... 45.9
Hamilton 76.7 ...........49.2
Whitman 60.5 ...........24.7
Denny 69.8 ...............58.6
Mercer 75.5 ...............69.0
Aki K 29.3 ..................27.0

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

If evaluating and ranking workers was a failure at Microsoft, why is it being pushed on teachers?

Read it and pass it on.
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/07/microsoft-downfall-emails-steve-ballmer

-Nonamenocredit

Anonymous said...

Hale Parent-
I love having the diversity of students in mixed classrooms. It stretches my abilities and my thought process in the areas of curriculum design. I love to see the social and emotional growth that my classroom nurtures in students who for years have faced challenges caused by school policies. I think that parents can support experienced teachers by
helping to raise awareness of the constant administrative assault on our professional decision making in the classroom. That is why I chose to write here. SPS is fully aware of what it is doing to teachers. Administration has chosen this path with the intention of managing "human capital". We are our own tireless critics of our practices and strive to do better with each student each day. To be more patient and understanding and on target with our efforts to match individual student needs. I would like to see parents help me create an atmosphere in which the mission to force out teachers becomes a mission to support teachers and students. I would like to see highly paid administrators in classrooms supporting student learning rather than producing multi-page documentation of trivial variances in teacher style. If each principal and assistance principal taught only one class per week at the middle and high school level there would be an infinite opportunity to replace what has been lost through budget cutting. I would like to see the smoke signals and hear the drum beat of parents supporting not only experienced teachers of their students but experienced teachers for all students. I would like to see parents hold HR and Legal responsible for the daily harassment and persecution that continues unabated. Am I shooting for the moon? Yes. I am a teacher. It is my duty. However, like all good teachers I would offer endless praise and recognition of any effort even if we "only" reach the sky.
Salander

Joanna said...

Dan, you left out Washington and Madison. You did get me looking around at OSPI. It is interesting in some cases how much the #s for low income reflected the same for the school. Not always, but more than I expected.

Anonymous said...

Joanna wrote:
"It is interesting in some cases how much the #s for low income reflected the same for the school. Not always, but more than I expected."

The schools with the closest all school and low income pass rates in math are Denny, Mercer, and Aki K. I believe this is because these schools have high percentages of low income students.

From most recent data from OSPI on percentage of low income students:

Denny, Mercer, and Aki=>
Low income student percent of student population May 2012:

67.1% - Denny
75.2% - Mercer
86.5% - Aki

Difference in Pass rate for all students minus low income students=>
+ 11.2 - Denny
+ 6.5 - Mercer
+ 2.3 - Aki

This is what one might expect as 2 of 3 students at Denny are low income
3 of 4 at Mercer and
6 of 7 at Aki K.

At Aki K the low income population and the all school population contain almost the exact same kids.

=====
What I find of interest is how much better the low income students are doing at Mercer and Denny than at the "better schools" north of the canal.
=====

Here are those numbers for 2012 at Madison and Washington=>

SY 2011-2012 School MSP ALL students and :: Low Income Student Math pass rate

Washington 66.1% ... 47.6%
Madison 58.9% ..... 43.9%

-- Dan Dempsey

mirmac1 said...

We B Famous!


Seattle #MAP boycott covered in @USAtodaye

Anonymous said...

Joanna,

Here is a better way to look at this Low Income and Non Low Income situation =>
Try this link.

Non Low Income :: Low Income pass rates for 8th math in 2012

Eckstein 88.4 :: 45.9 diff = 42.5
Hamilton 84.6 :: 49.2 diff = 35.4
Whitman 78.9 :: 24.7 diff = 54.2
Washington 84.9 :: 47.6 diff = 37.3
Madison 70.6 :: 43.9 diff = 26.7
Denny 90.7 :: 58.6 diff = 32.1
Mercer 92.1 :: 69.0 diff = 23.1
Aki K 38.7 :: 27.0 diff =11.7

Please notice that the schools with the highest non low income pass rates are Mercer #1 and Denny #2

The schools with the highest low income pass rates are Mercer #1 and Denny #2

A look at the detail at OSPI shows this for Aki, Mercer and Denny in grade 8 math=>
above standard :: far below standard
level 4 :: level 1 -(% at Low income)
Mercer 32.6 :: 13.6 -(75.2)
Denny. 36.7 :: 17.7 -(67.1)
Aki K... 13.4 :: 51.6 -(86.5)
Eckstein 45.9 :: 9.9 -(24.8)
Hamilton 43.6 :: 10.2 -(19.1)
Washington 40.5 :: 8.8 -(51.7)
Madison 20.9 :: 23.4 -(43.4)
Whitman 36.0 :: 17.7 -(30.1)

-- Dan Dempsey

A-mom said...

Dan,
Do you have this data for the 6-8 grade students at k-8s?

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the data is taken from the OSPI Report Cards:

OSPI Report Card (Seattle)

You can select the school, grade and demographic to compile the data.

Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

Non Low Income :: Low Income pass rates for 8th math in 2012
(difference)

Broadview 85.7 :: 36.4 (49.3)
Catherine Blaine 81.4 :: 50 (31.4)
JA 70.4 :: 41.9 (28.5)
Madrona 33.3 :: 21.9 (11.4)
Orca 38.7 :: 23.8 (14.9)
Pathfinder 53.8 :: 42.1 (11.7)
Pinehurst 69.2 :: 25.0 (44.2)
Salmon Bay 66.7 :: 31.8 (24.9)

Keep in mind the numbers bounce around a bit year to year, since there are fewer students in 8th grade than in a comprehensive middle school.

Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

For 8th grade math 2011-12, all students

% passing above standard (4) :: far below standard (1)

Broadview 12.1 :: 39.7
Catherine Blaine 32.7 :: 20.0
JA 17.2 :: 29.3
Madrona 13.6 :: 40.9
Orca 15.4 :: 48.1
Pathfinder 22.2 :: 22.2
Pinehurst 12.0 :: 24.0
Salmon Bay 14.4 :: 21.2

Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

Where did you see the proposed transportation standards? Is there an on-line doc?

NW family

Anonymous said...

Is there a historical number/percentage of kids who leave SPS after 5th grade for middle school?

I just added up the number of 5th graders in the Whitman Service area vs the number they project to enroll at Whitman for 6th grade. The 6th grade number is 15% lower than the current 5th graders.

I then did the same thing for the Eckstein area and again the 6th grade number is 15% lower than the current 5th graders.

I thought more students opted out for middle school?

NW family

Joanna said...

I see that the first mistake I made was in looking at total school vs low income, not non low income vs low income. So Whitman has the widest disparity but is about equal in the percentage of low income students that pass at Orca, which has one of the lowest disparities due to the fact that even the non low income students are not doing well. The schools with the highest percentage of low income students passing are Mercer, Denny, McClure, Catherine Blaine, Washington and then Eckstein (Madison is not too far behind.) even though their disparities may be greater than Aki or Orca. Mercer still has a 23.1% points difference. Pathfinder is an interesting case of closing the gap this year by bringing up the low income and bringing down the scores of the non low income. Bringing up scores is good, the down piece is not so good. Nonetheless, the average low income student there has a better chance of passing than non low income students in some schools and a greater chance of passing than any other low income students. And I am sure that among the low income students and the non low income students we have many who are talented in math and are doing well. I agree that in math Seattle should be doing better and should look for the models that are working.

joanna said...

oops I turned two sentences around.
see that the first mistake I made was in looking at total school vs low income, not non low income vs low income. So Whitman has the widest disparity but is about equal in the percentage of low income students that pass at Orca, which has one of the lowest disparities due to the fact that even the non low income students are not doing well. The schools with the highest percentage of low income students passing are Mercer, Denny, McClure, Catherine Blaine, Washington and then Eckstein (Madison is not too far behind.) even though their disparities may be greater than Aki or Orca. Mercer still has a 23.1% points difference. Nonetheless, the average low income student there has a better chance of passing than non low income students in some schools and a greater chance of passing than any other low income students. Pathfinder is an interesting case of closing the gap this year by bringing up the low income and bringing down the scores of the non low income. Bringing up scores is good, the down piece is not so good. And I am sure that among the low income students and the non low income students we have many who are talented in math and are doing well. I agree that in math Seattle should be doing better and should look for the models that are working.

Greg Linden said...

Pretty good editorial in the New York Times today, "More Lessons About Charter Schools". An excerpt from it:

The charter school movement gained a foothold in American education two decades ago partly by asserting that independently run, publicly financed schools would outperform traditional public schools if they were exempted from onerous regulations. The charter advocates also promised that unlike traditional schools, which were allowed to fail without consequence, charter schools would be rigorously reviewed and shut down when they failed to perform.

With thousands of charter schools now operating in 40 states, and more coming online every day, neither of these promises has been kept. Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools are generally no better — and often are worse — than their traditional counterparts, the state and local agencies and organizations that grant the charters have been increasingly hesitant to shut down schools, even those that continue to perform abysmally for years on end.

mirmac1 said...

If the SEA won't come to the support of a targeted and harassed teacher, then her students' parents and I will.

Letter in support of a valued and effective teacher

Mr. Banda, do you really want principals and an HR Dept that think it their duty to drum out teachers that CHOOSE to teach struggling learners?! Teachers who choose this over maximizing those MAP scores and promotions?

I know who I would want for my daughter's teacher.

dw said...

I may be the only parent in this entire district who can speak well of the MAP, but let me speak well of the MAP.

My daughter has been struggling with school this year -- not because she's not doing the work, but because the teacher has decided she's a head case. Our daughter has been acting out, yes, and we've been piling on her.

Then came the reading MAP. And for the first time, I could see what happened. Her lexile score leapt by almost 300 points in a year. That just doesn't happen.

And the thing is, I could figure it out. The numbers correlate to real numbers that map to real things. I was 99th percentile on the SRA many years ago, and my parents had no idea what that means. But a lexile score, well, you can use that to map to exactly what books she's capable of reading. And the actual MAP score I could transpose to other measures as well. She's blowing everyone away right now.

So now, I get it. And I have a cudgel to use against the teacher who keeps wanting an IEP and a psych eval. No, she's just smart, teacher. And she's bored. (And a decision the school made before the start of the year is looking increasingly stupid. Thanks, teachers.)

Do I think the MAP should run twice a year? Not unless it's absolutely necessary. Do I think it should be used for teacher evaluations? No, not at all. Was it purchased under shady circumstances? Perhaps. But damn, it's a pretty good and readable set of analytics, way better than the weird numbers my parents couldn't read a generation ago. And I'm tired of people denigrating analytics in the name of fear. This thing works if you let it and you don't read too much into it.

But we seem stuck now between those who would worship the number and those who fear all numbers. We're stuck between bad science and anti-science.

Anonymous said...

Note that Mercer Middle School opted for Saxon math, which is different from the standard curriculum in SPS. I hope the directors and new curriculum director notice this.

S parent

mirmac1 said...

dw,

I respect your perspective. However, in the 70's even I knew what the 99th percentile meant. Not every child "acts out" because they are bored. I hope that additional info you have helps everyone guide your child's education.

Unfortunately, many students get a high score one test, then an average or mediocre score next. To what is this variability attributed? Under the current schema, it is because the teacher is basic and ineffective. But with MAP, it could just as well be because the child needs to potty, or there's kids outside making noise.

MAP may give some useful information on the individual level. But to hang a teacher's livelihood on it? I say NO!

suep. said...

@ dw, I think you're oversimplifying the debate quite a bit. Those of us who oppose NWEA's MAP® product do not "fear numbers" or are "anti-science." We're against excessive, expensive, unreliable and non-relevant tests that sap precious classtime and resources.

It also doesn't help that the Seattle School District is misusing this product, and in ways that are damaging to both teachers and kids.

While that's nice to hear that you feel MAP® was useful to your family, we need to ask if the district's extensive expenditure on this test (as much as $11 million by some estimates -- plus all the time and focus diverted by this thrice-yearly process) is worth it overall, for everyone impacted by it.

Statement after statement is being issued by schools, teachers, librarians and parents who all have determined that MAP® is not a good use of our limited resources and our children's time.

Even the Dept. of Education, which recently (Dec. 2012) commissioned a study specifically of MAP®, found that MAP® has not proven to be effective in influencing student growth.
(See: The Impact of the Measures
of Academic Progress (MAP)
Program on Student Reading
Achievement


Here's an excerpt from the summary:
The results of the study indicate that the MAP® program was implemented with moderate fidelity but that MAP® teachers were not more likely than control group teachers to have applied differentiated instructional practices in their classes. Overall, the MAP® program did not have a statistically significant impact on students’ reading achievement in either grade 4 or grade 5.


And when a group of SPS parents met with SPS MAP® administrators in 2010 (Brad Bernatek and Jessica DeBarros), we were told that MAP® is not appropriate for K-2 or advanced learners. It's also not useful for ELL children and kids with special needs. The latest caveat is that it is also not useful for older kids, like 9th graders, because the margin of error is larger than the margin of growth.

So what does that leave?

All of this adds up to a very limited and faulty product.

If we need some kind of measure of our kids, let's find one that is accurate, meaningful, and not such a huge resource-hog.

The fact that MAP® has only been purchased by about 5,200 out of a total of 40,000 public school districts nationwide, despite being around for 20 years or more makes me wonder if it doesn't have some inherent and known flaws.

The fact that the Gates Foundation is trying to force at least one district (Hartford, CT.) to use the MAP® product as a condition for receiving a $5 million grant (and that NWEA, Inc. apparently may be "providing additional information" -- student data? -- to Gates' "partners") is also not reassuring.

(See: A must read – Beware of Foundations Bearing Gifts")

Food for thought.

jd said...

mirimac1 & dw --

MAP was also hugely important for our family as well, on the other end of the spectrum. Teachers always thought my kid was doing fine, because she wasn't a trouble in class, got tons of support at home, and could fake it really really well. A steady three year slide into single digits in MAP (where none of that support was avaible) was the only thing to flag that there really was an underlying problem.

I don't support "MAP" as the ideal vehicle, nor do I support it being used to evaluate teachers. However, having some objective, normed test given every year was crucial, at least at the elementary school level. It is especially valuable as a way to flag kids who should be assessed as possibly needing extra support, because not every teacher will be in a position to pick up on problems.

Anonymous said...

DW-

Isn't the very definition of "bad science" taking ONE example (one kid) and applying it to ALL the other kids?

My child has gotten 99% on both sections of the test every time it has been offered. What am I getting out of that? Absolutely nothing. Is it changing the teaching my kid is getting? No.

It's great that it works for your kid (assuming the results are accurate), but it doesn't help with mine. There are tons of stories on this blog of kids getting 85 on the fall test and 65 on the winter test. Did the kid have half their brains fall out between tests? I doubt it. Do the parents have any way to find out what happened? No. The teachers don't get access to the questions so no one will ever know why the points dropped. Maybe it was a third grader who was asked about Moby Dick and they hadn't heard of it yet. The questions my child has gotten have been quite something.

It is a waste of time, resources, and the library. I also don't like it sending a strong message to teachers that this test is more valuable than their expertise (i.e. using the winter map of 5th grade for Alg 1 placement).

-fool me once

Anonymous said...

I have to say that one problem with the MAP is that SPS spent a huge amount of money on it but did not spend time or money training people how to interpret it. Whether it is a good or bad measure, useful or not, this seems to be a huge fail.
I do not think it should be used to grade teachers. I have heard different teachers have different opinions on whether or not it is useful to them for certain kids-- and it may be that it is _sometimes_ a help. But it is just plain dumb to not show people how to use the results.
I do know that part of the point of the test is to ask questions that are above grade level. I know, for example, that it might use a passage from Moby Dick and then ask what certain word in that passage means within the context of that passage. The kid doesn't need to have heard of Moby Dick before, but the passage might be above that kid's grade level (or below). Because the test is trying to find that out.
Personally, my ideal would be a test that is based on state standards. However, I am not willing to discount everyone who says that there is some useful info coming out of MAP. I simply don't know that the amount of useful info is worth the cost of the test.
not black or white

joanna said...

I totally agree that a normed national test given at least once a year and used well, along with some test or tests that shows the progress of students in their subjects is only fair to the student, parent and teacher. All, including the student must take some responsibility ownership in ensuring the student does well.

Anonymous said...

Front page Seattle Times story. 17 Ballard teachers have joined the Garfield MAP boycott.

EdVoter

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

Good news from Ballard H.S. -- but apparently more weaselly-ness from the Times: the number of Comments is mysteriously blank, indicating that there aren't any. Click on the word "Comments," though, and 23 show up!

18 Ballard High staffers join boycott of student “progress” tests

Anonymous said...

Salander:

I was kicked out of the distict because I "failed" Danielson, including professional development went I spent over 20 hrs in class over the course of the year. When I took a half day off to go meet with the union (I was being bullied by my admin), the union person was HOURS late to our meeting. I continued to fight it, I took it to the super but..."nothing could be done." The exec. director was good friends with my admin so I found no help there. It was a very long, stressful and horrible battle that I lost.

-Another one bit the dust

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mirmac1 said...

Another one bit the dust, I'm sorry to hear that.

It is my fervent hope to "out" those bully admins.

But it's up to teachers to kick their union in the rear.