Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

Like pouring over test data?  You're in luck because the Public Data Ferret just released data on Washington State achievement test scores.  The headline reads, "WA Achievement Test Pass Rates Mostly Stagnant since 2006." 

New petition to tell Senator Rodney Tom to fund our schools and reduce class sizes.

Classified School Employee Week posterBig shout-out to our classified school employees, thanks for your hard work!










Chief Sealth kicks off its annual World Water Week next week starting on the 19th.

Beacon Hill International School Principal Kelly Aramaki was named this year’s Washington State Elementary School Principal of the Year by a panel of principals representing the Elementary School Principals Association of Washington (ESPAW), a component of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP).  Congrats Mr. Aramaki!

Musical groups from Roosevelt rose to the top in three divisions at the 40th Annual Northwest Orchestra Festival.

From the heartwarming file:

In an unusual twist, the Roosevelt Symphony Orchestra performed in the finals competition under the baton of a student conductor. Director Edwards explained to the audience that a family emergency – the death of her father – had caused her to miss 10 days of school in the weeks leading up to the festival. Edwards commended the musicians for their hard work in her absence, and in recognition of that dedication, invited student conductor -- bassist Will Langlie-Miletich -- to conduct the orchestra in its finals performance of the fourth Movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. 

The Roosevelt performance took top honors, Kamiak High School from Mukilteo, Wash. placed second and Seattle’s Garfield Symphony Orchestra was third.

CLIMATE CHANGE FOR FAMILIES
Greenwood Library
Thursday, March 14th 6:15 - 7:30.

 
Begin the most important conversation on earth:
A free slideshow and discussion for kids (4th grade up) and parents. Come see the most recent data on how humans have changed the climate, the observed impacts, the solutions we need to implement today, and what you as a family can do.
Michael Foster, M.Ed., has adapted Al Gore's 2012 slideshow for this event to allow kids and parents to engage on how we can and must overcome the greatest challenge facing humanity. Let's get started.
Please RSVP to make sure space is available to: mifostr@gmail.com  
For more info:  ClimateRealityProject.org.





What's on your mind?

40 comments:

Patrick said...

I find it infuriating and a disgrace that there's three different online grade books in use (Old Source, New Source, and Fusion) and all of them suck so badly most teachers keep their grades in Excel instead. Keeping their grades in Excel is fine, except that way they can't be shared with parents without it being entirely extra work for the teachers.

Lisa said...

+1 Patrick

mirmac1 said...

Gee, good thing we spend $Ms on a bloated IT department. Would make Bill Gates proud.

Po3 said...

I am also frustrated with the new Source. It is not breaking grades down by HW, Tests/Quizzes, Performance. The Red bands showing missing work is gone so you have to really look long and hard to see what is missing and if it's the Tests or Homework or Performance that is the problem.

There is a legend at the bottom that describes the icons that should appear indicating a Missing assignment, not they aren't working.


Also, the students ID no longer appears. And all the other links just bounce you back to the old Source.

Seems half implemented (at best), yet by all the back pats from the district you would think there is some amazing new Source for parents.

What does Sundquist think? said...

http://wa-demchairs.org/kcdems/2011/stevesundquist.2011q.pdf

Sundquist told voters he did not support charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Our child's teacher still hasn't figured it out - so no grades posted since the end of 1st semester...

Argh

suep. said...

The source of that Public Data Ferret info is the Center for Education & Data Research(CEDR) which is headed by Dan Goldhaber. What do we know about this enterprise and how accurate is their "data"? A study of CEDR's site shows that they are focused on teacher effectiveness, seniority, "value-added" measures, collective bargaining agreements in WA State -- ie. the target agenda of the corporate ed reformers. So I would like to know more about how this organization arrived at this "data" about WA students and how reliable it is.

Also in the Strategic Plan Task Force, we were given data that indicated that WA public school students are actually faring quite well, nationally.

So something doesn't add up here.

ben said...

Elementary teachers don't seem to effectively use the source anyway in my anecdotal survey. I'd be happy if they just all created google/yahoo etc mailing groups and periodically sent out notifications that way.

Ben

Anonymous said...

I concur, the New Source is worse than the old Source. Don't even get me started on Fusion pages.

HP

paying attention to what's behind the curtain said...

@ben: Elementary teachers don't seem to effectively use the source anyway in my anecdotal survey. I'd be happy if they just all created google/yahoo etc mailing groups and periodically sent out notifications that way.

Yeah, that would be a great idea. The CCRE is bad enough, all we need to have now is for the schools send out personal data about our kids to companies who make no apologies that their entire business revolves around scanning emails (and any other data they can get their hands on) to create personal profiles of everyone they can. At least the CCRE and their ilk have to pretend that they're going to keep it private.

Sheesh, glad you're not in charge of technology for the district. :-(

paying attention to what's behind the curtain said...

Oh, but I totally agree with others here. The new source is worse than the old source. I'm not even sure it will be better even after the teachers get up to speed and start using it.

Separate question: PowerSchool is a Pearson product. Does anyone know what role they play as far as having access to SPS (kids') data? Are they hosting this "new source" or is it hosted locally with SPS? If I'm not mistaken, they are huge P20 fans and student data gatherers. If they are hosting, there's a good chance they have access to the data. Is this yet another potential kid data leak?

ben said...

@paying attention to what's behind the curtain said

First, I'm talking about class notification mails not personal ones about any particular student. Secondly, there are off the shelf group mailers that guarantee privacy. (Honestly, the sps email system could probably be used as well) I used my example as just that. Finally my main point is that custom apps like the source don't work as well as simpler/public technologies. Most people can operate an email-list. I can't say the same for teacher's use of most of the source's features. What seems to happen most again anecdotally is the whole package is just ignored and we get no information instead.

Ben

Anonymous said...

Goldhaber cannot understand the difference between correlation and causation. Hence, he is a perfect fit for Ed Reformers.

He will infer causation between "high quality" teachers and income in later life, for example. First, Duh. Second, what does "high quality" even mean? Third, wouldn't high academic scores tend to correlate to to higher incomes in life, whether a teacher is good or bad? What causes the high test scores? Can you prove it's the teacher, Mr. Goldhaber? Please Mr. Goldhaber, for once, show your work. WSDWG

Anonymous said...
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paying attention said...

@ben,
First, I'm talking about class notification mails not personal ones about any particular student.

Much confusion. The conversation was about The Source (and it's replacement), not general classroom notifications. Many teachers maintain email lists for exactly that purpose, and in elementary they're often handled by parents anyway. But those don't help one iota with the valuable information on the Source -- unless you're saying the teacher would send out an email blast every time they updated the grade book, but that should be nearly every day if done diligently.

Secondly, there are off the shelf group mailers that guarantee privacy.

Uh, nope. They might guarantee that they don't harvest your data, and they might even be able to guarantee in-transit encryption from their server to your client, but other legs will typically be sent in the clear, and as soon as it lands in your gmailbox (as a worst case example), then they've just sent it to the biggest data harvester of them all. Of course one would presume that you've given them permission to do so, but make no mistake, there is absolutely nothing private about email unless you require users to use something other than their standard account(s).

(Honestly, the sps email system could probably be used as well) I used my example as just that.

No idea what you're talking about here.

Finally my main point is that custom apps like the source don't work as well as simpler/public technologies.

There is an aspect of truth in what you're saying, but it's not relevant. Email is not a replacement for a tool like the source and vice-versa. Everyone can use a hammer, but you can't use a hammer to build a TV. The Source is not a notification (push) system, it's a necessarily much more complex tool than email, and it's designed as a data store, and a natural pull system for parents. I don't think the Source is a great tool (and the new one looks worse), but you're really mixing things up.

Most people can operate an email-list.

Hahahahaha! I could spend half the night giving firsthand counter examples to that comment. Many tech-savvy people can. I'll stop at that.

I can't say the same for teacher's use of most of the source's features. What seems to happen most again anecdotally is the whole package is just ignored and we get no information instead.

On your last point we can agree. The previous Source was finally, over the years, being used by more and more teachers on a regular, dependable basis. I wonder how many years it will take to catch back up to where we were at the beginning of this year.

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mirmac1 said...

"cannot understand the difference between correlation and causation"

Wow, that describes our former (very unqualified) head of REA...shoot, what was his name, ex-Broad resident policy guy (no, not Bernatek. The OTHER one).

Anyway, re: Pearson. If there is money to be made and markets to monopolize, Pearson is there!

Anonymous said...

So I hear that Sara Morris (Alliance for Education) will be visiting Broadview Thomson on Friday. Can someone (with more Alliance knowledge than myself) shed light on what the purpose of her visit might be? Is this a precursor to receiving funding? Are these school site visits common?

Left with many questions

Anonymous said...

Is there a new Weighted Staffing Standard for next year that means a lot of cuts from current staffing? There's a new letter from the JSIS principal re: cuts to positions, but given that the school doesn't seem to be shrinking, I'm unclear as to why the district is making cuts at this time. Is this going to be a problem for a lot of schools?

JSIS parent

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being a whiny parent, and not to take anything away from Roosevelt's success at the orchestra festival, but…

Our Garfield child reports that points were somewhat arbitrarily deducted from its score in the orchestra competition due to nonmusical factors. Specifically, because some cello and bass cases were left in the wrong place (a hallway), Garfield's score was lowered to the extent that they didn't make the finals. Our child says that there had been a three way tie prior to the final round, and so those points deducted for the misplaced cases turned out to be decisive.

It seems crazy and unfortunate to me that the adjudication isn't just based on musicality.

Of course, maybe they all sounded good, and so they come up with arbitrary rules just to break a tie.


SPS Fan

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPS, I heard about this.

d I also heard that Roosevelt students discussed on the bus as they were riding home whether they should have said something in defense of Garfield. I'm sorry that happened (I agree, the performance should be the only factor) but again, we have great bands/orchestras in this district and I applaud them all.

Melissa Westbrook said...
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Lori said...

JSIS, yes, there are changes to the WSS that are adversely affecting staffing for next year.

For example, the threshold for an Assistant Principal has been raised to 600 weighted students at the elementary level next year. I believe the threshold is around 480-500 this year (someone out there can probably confirm or correct that).

I don't have other examples, but since the district has a multi-million dollar deficit to make up, it's not suprising. It's not right, but it's not surprising.

mirmac1 said...

My child's piano adjudications take into account posture, appearance (sunday best) and other things.

Her band adjudications do take into account whether everyone has the same uniform, is attentive and orderly etc.

It is a bummer but is to be expected...

Anonymous said...

Where can i find info on the WSS?
Thanks,
curious about WSS

Maureen said...

curious, Here's the 2013-14 Budget page. Follow the links to find details on the WSS and how it is changing.

Maureen said...

Is it possible that K-5 STEM at Boren actually has ZERO students that qualify for FRL? Even APP at Lincoln shows THREE.

COmputation of Weightling Factors.

orchestra parent said...

Melissa said: I'm sorry that happened (I agree, the performance should be the only factor) but again, we have great bands/orchestras in this district and I applaud them all.

I'm not sure I agree that the musical performance should be the only factor (see mirmac's note below), though I hope it would be by far the main factor.

I'm happy to hear that at least some of the Roosevelt kids were sympathetic to Garfield's situation. Not sure what they could have done about it, but speaking out would have been nice, especially because of how it happened (below).

My child's piano adjudications take into account posture, appearance (sunday best) and other things.

Her band adjudications do take into account whether everyone has the same uniform, is attentive and orderly etc.

It is a bummer but is to be expected...


Fair enough in those cases, so one can understand a conclusion like that drawn from generalized thinking or incomplete information. However, the results in this case should not have been expected, and shouldn't have happened.

The main problem was simply that they didn't do a fair job judging the orchestras. All three orchestras were given 199 points out of 200. I believe one judge gave them all 100/100 points and the other 99/100. Come on! I hope they learn from this in the future, because when you're "too nice", unfair things happen. Garfield was (from what I heard) noticeably better than either of the other orchestras. Their performance made one of the judges cry, or at least brought tears to her eyes, which was acknowledged at the time. The other orchestras were good, but there was a definite pecking order.

So they were all tied at 199, right? Yes, except for a misunderstanding about where the instrument cases were supposed to be stored. In previous years they kept instruments in a room that they now say is technically supposed to be an emergency exit. So they asked the Garfield kids to move their cases to another room. Fine so far, right? But there was not enough room to reasonably put all the cases in that room, so a couple (few?) were left in the hallway outside that room. And for that, Garfield was dinged 1 point from their performance. Nothing to do with posture, appearance, uniforms, attentiveness, etc., let alone music.

If the performances were fairly graded, then 1 point wouldn't have mattered. As it was, it made enough difference that the best performance was ranked as the worst score.

Granted, this isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of orchestral endeavors, and congrats are in order for all the schools, but it's really sad when stuff works out unfairly for kids because of adult foolishness.

NESeattleMom said...

Yes, the stories all match about the orchestra festival. I heard about the adjudicators tearing up after hearing Garfield's performance of New World Symphony. And I heard about the cases being in the wrong place as the reason they were getting disqualified for not following instructions. It is really sad to waste all the money for sending the students down there for a day if they don't give some reasonable feedback to all the orchestras. I had not heard the scores before. The cost for the schools for the buses, the commitments of all the students from all the schools to get up at the crack of dawn and go to Oregon and back. In return they should get real feedback, not some hokey thing about the cases.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why Ballard has three APs even though they don't meet the threshold? Or Roosevelt has three APs even though the adjustment for contact time does not meet the threshold?

Need to Know

Anonymous said...

Need a memory jog here. Can someone give me the name of the organization/leadership group that MGJ and a bunch of Seattle principals/admin were coming from a couple of years ago?

Thanks,
Researching

Melissa Westbrook said...

Researching, it's the Broad Foundation.

Maureen said...

Need to know, When they weight the RHS population for ELL/Sped/FRL, they get 2005. That is greater than the 1700 necessary to qualify for 3 APs. Ballard's weighted population is 1909, so same thing.

See Computation of the AP / Counselor Weighting Factor for weighted population numbers (not the same thing as AAFTE), and Weighted Staffing Standards Changes FY 2013-2014 for the new allocation categories.

Anonymous said...

" It is really sad to waste all the money for sending the students down there for a day if they don't give some reasonable feedback to all the orchestras."

We don't know that reasonable feedback was not given. Some years ago my student was in GHS orchestra. Turns out that two of those years GHS did not win the competition. I never heard any parents complain that the entire day and cost was a waste of money. Sometimes stuff happens, stuff we don't agree with nor like but things don't always work out in a preordained manner or the way we think that they should. Don't diminish the accomplishments of Roosevelt, Kamiak, and GHS. Quite honestly, I teared up when I read that the Roosevelt director gave her baton to the student who'd lead rehearsals in her absence. Bravo to the maestros and especially the student.

Former GHS orchestra parent.

mirmac1 said...

I agree that there is value in the experience; the experience of "that's the breaks!" It is life in the real world.

I don't have my child do these things so she wins. I see it as excellent practice of getting up in front of a group of (friendly) judges and doing their best. That lesson alone is worth the money, the time, and everything else. And my child is not crushed if she comes in second or eighth. I know whether she did her best, prepared and practiced. That should be good enough. And no, I'm not talking about getting a medal for showing up and "everyone's exceptional" BS. Just my opinion (like always)

Anonymous said...

So Joan, I am trying to figure out how proficient my 8th grader is in his algebra class.

If I understand correctly the MAP by using adaptive technology attempts to predict the possible grade level achievement. It, of course, never attempts to prove grade level achievement.

What is most important for me is the definitive proof of achievement (through formative assessment and placement tests) so I would never assume I had proof by a formula intended to predict.

My question is...how efficient is the MAP adaptive technology?

Denise

Anonymous said...

Joan,
How does MAP correlate with other test such as MSP, cogATand Iowa Basic skills, WIAT-II.

My son was not tested using the MSP and by default because the school needed an assessment for advanced placement the school used cogAt and Iowa Basic skills. We also had a private psychologist test him using the WAIT-II. There was a remarkable discrepecy between the cogAT and Iowa Basic skills, WIAT-II as compared to MAP scores. MAP scores appeared 10 -15%pts lower.

My question is..does the MAP correlate with other achievement tests?

Thank you for your time. I know the answer to my question could be rather extensive. Please feel free not to answer in layman terms. I can do my own remedial work to figure it out. If not I'll just ask!

Denise