Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Open Thread

43 comments:

Lynn said...

Have a high school student you'd like to nominate for identification as highly capable?

Here's a link to information on the process. Note that there is a two week window between the announcement and the nomination due date.

Anonymous said...

How does one find that information, if not at this blog? I continue to be flabbergasted at how uniformed I'd be if not for this blog.

I wondered how SPS was going to deal with the WA requirement on identification at the high school level.

As I read it, the benefit to this designation would be have access to APP/IB classes if they are over-enrolled.

zb

Anonymous said...

@zb, yes, it seems to me the only benefit is if someone wants to join the IBX program for high school.

Oh, and then there's that "special advising" they'll get at their local HS... Hah. :)

HF

Anonymous said...

No, actually, they say that this identification *won't* provide access to the IBx program, since that program starts in 9th grade, requiring identification in 8th grade.

Also, the petition to the "committee" to provide access to another school seems wishy washy enough that I'd be wary of relying on that (though maybe it is a useful provision for those at schools with limited offerings).

zb

Anonymous said...

To ask a naive question, are there others on this blog who know the answer to whether standardized tests are going to be required in WA state? And, what accommodations will be provided to those with learning disabilities?

I know it's a really naive question, that we've discussed before, but I've never paid much attention to it because tests aren't an issue for my own children, but, as the issue becomes a more general political discussion, I wanted to search for more information. I'm taking the low barrier approach, but will look harder for info next.

zb

Anonymous said...

So being identified for high school HCC/APP in high school doesn't allow access to the cohort IBx because they need to be identified in 8th grade. And they say it doesn't guarantee Garfield, the HCC/APP tracked high school. Do you think they are still guaranteeing the Garfield track for previously identified HCC/APP students? How will they provide HCC/APP services to students in the other high schools if those principals (possibly) don't care about HCC/APP? How can(maybe) ten students at various high schools be given HCC/APP services in high schools that have many other priorities for their current populations? How is this different than just being in name only?
GHSmom

TechyMom said...

Interesting. I would have expected a mention of Running Start.

Anonymous said...

What a non-surprise. The Seattle Times editorial board is shilling for mayoral appointment to the school board.

Anonymous said...

DistrictWatcher above

Anonymous said...

I would love to see an update on the work of the bell times task force. Just out of curiosity does anyone know the start times for local private middle and high schools?

-sleep deprivation

Anonymous said...

zb, the state requires that districts administer to all students large-scale summative assessments in grades 3-8 and grade 11 in English/language arts and mathematics. Science assessments are required to be administered in grade 5, 8, and 10. Students with significant cognitive disabilities may be able to take a different set of assessments than those administered to the general population and other students with disabilities.

Schools may tell you that the tests themselves are required of students, but this is not technically accurate. Families have the right and the option to opt their children out of any of these assessments. However, unless something changes in the legislature, students are still required to pass the high school assessments in order to graduate from high school.

As for for students with learning disabilities, there are a range of accommodations available --- too numerous to list here. The IEP team must identify the accommodations to be provided on the assessments.

--- swk

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@zb,

There are currently three alternatives to high stakes testing that students may pursue in order to get a high school diploma in Wash. They have different guidelines and not everyone is eligible for all (one is designed to be supportive of students coming in from another district, to help them meet requirements that have been established in Seattle), but they are worth checking out.

They may be brought to the attention to more families as SBAC testing begins this spring.

https://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/GraduationAlternatives/default.aspx

AS

Anonymous said...

Seattle Waldorf High School starts at 8:20 AM and ends the day at 3:25 PM. Waldorf schools tend to have longer school days but less of them.

HP

Anonymous said...

I don't know about all of them, but the private K-8, middle and 6-12 schools we looked at start between 8:00 and 8:30, get out at 3:30, and have after-school activities until 5:30 or 6:00. They all seemed to have longer breaks during the day, plus PE and art every day. Some even had recess for middle schoolers. (I see the lunch and recess debate as very connected to the start time debate.)

--going private

Anonymous said...

Re: private school start times... I only have first hand information on one, Seattle Girls School (grades 5-8), which starts at 8:30 and ends at 3:30. They do have after care and tutors from 3:30 to 5:00, at no additional cost, but that's outside of the standard school day.
-southpaw

Anonymous said...

zb, AS is correct that there are alternatives to the large scale summative high school graduation tests; but, be aware that students are required to first take the HSPE/EOC or the 10th grade SBAC tests (as the case may be) prior to having access to the alternatives. In other words, a student cannot opt out of the summative assessments and go straight to the alternatives.

On a related note, a "high stakes" test is NOT a kind of test. High stakes is a policy and could be applied to virtually any test. All of the high school alternatives are high stakes in that students must pass them in order to graduate (if they've not passed the summative tests). For instance, one of the alternatives is a portfolio assessment --- the Collections of Evidence --- but it is still a high stakes tests.

Too often people use the term "high stakes" when they mean a large scale, standardized summative assessment.

--- swk

Eric B said...

One minor amplification on the testing, a full IB diploma counts for the complete HS graduation requirement. I do not believe that there is any additional testing requirement. Obviously, this isn't an option for everyone, but it will work for some.

Maureen said...

Ingraham High School has NINE National Merit Finalists this year! Congratulations to: Livia, Miles, Patricia, Aidan, Travis, Caelan, Carl, Bryce and Sam!

Anonymous said...

Eric B, the IB tests like the AP tests are alternatives to the state tests. However, students would still need to take the state tests before they could use their IB scores as alternatives.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

With the new HCC testing, do kids who were previously identified as spectrum maintain that classification without additional testing? For example, my son was in self-contained Spectrum through all of elementary, then was in Spectrum classes through middle school. However, since Spectrum did not exist in high school, he's now considered general ed high school. Does he regain his previous designation, or does he need to go through the application/testing process again?

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

Please disregard my previous question. It looks like previous designations don't matter. The new process involves referrals, test scores and an essay. It looks like it's worthwhile to go through the steps to secure spots in AP classes if your child is in a school where AP classes are over-capacity. FYI- one of the requirements is a GPA of 3.8 or above.

-SPS parent

Eric B said...

SWK, I think you missed the nuance there. AIUI, The full IB diploma meets all state graduation requirements, regardless of whether the student tested in any of the particular subjects tested in EOCs. For example, you can get an IB diploma without separate testing in biology. A student could substitute passage of the full diploma for passage of the EOC biology exam.

In your scenario, a student could take the IB biology test and use that to substitute for the EOC requirement, but only after failing EOC. It's another route, but not exactly thte same.

Anonymous said...

Eric B, according to state law and rules, even students who earn the IB diploma are still required to pass the state tests in order to graduate. The bill passed in 2011 (HB 1524) did allow the IB diploma to substitute for all other state graduation requirements, particularly the plan and the project, but it did not exempt them from passing the state tests.

With that, they can use their IB scores as alternatives but ONLY after they've attempt the state tests at least once.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

zb - as swk stated above, there are a number of accommodations available within the SBAC. Some are universal, meaning all kids have access. Others are designated supports and must be on the IEP. In addition to the built-in tools, if a student uses speech-to-text, which is not built into SBAC, they may use that external tool on the test (Dragon Dictate is the most well-known). That usually includes kids with physical disabilities that prevent them from keyboarding properly, and some writing disabilities. The big issue, though, is that kids who use assistive tech as an accommodation must use the tools built into the system rather than the tools they are accustomed to using. This is a big deal, and puts those kids at a marked disadvantage. In addition, a widely-used support for writing disabilities/physical disabilities - word-prediction - is not allowed on the SBAC, though PARCC will allow the use of Co-Writer, which is probably the most widely known. (Word prediction means that as a kid starts to type a word, a list of possible words starting with that spelling pops up. A kid with a physical disability can either use a single click to select the word, or press a number key - much easier/less exhausting for them than pressing each and every key.)

There is a good article here that explains some of it, though at this time, the page is not loading for me. It's titled PARCC and SBAC - promise something.
http://atprogramnews.typepad.com/files/2014_fall-common-core-controversy--special-double-issue-1.htm

CT

Lynn said...

zb,

The Washington Educational Research Association has published a White Paper on Parent/Student refusal to participate and a handy test refusal form.

Watching said...

Seattle's mayor- Ed Murray- has hired a Superintendent for the Parks Department- Jesus Aguirre.

One might ask: What makes Jesus Aguirre qualified to run the Parks Department? Mr. Aguirre was a teacher, executive for Teach for America in New York, operated a failed charter school, worked underneath Michelle Rehee in Washington DC's school district as Director of Operations, and was Superintendent of Wa. DC schools. He also had a few years invested in DC's parks department.

I've heard that Holly Miller will be leaving the city's education department and it might be worth noting that she worked for the city's parks department- for years.

Any chance we will watch Murray put Arguirre into the city's Department of Education?

How about Ed Murray' connections to Washington DC?


http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2015/02/jesus-aguirre-is-seattle-mayors-nominee-for-new-parks-department-superintendent/#.VNu0uM4y6Dg.facebook

Watching said...

It is worth noting that by 2024 the city's Office of Education feels it necessary to hire SIXTY SEVEN individuals. Odd.

Watching said...

I forgot to mention that Murray's pick for the Parks Department- Jesus Aguirre- has an interesting history work history. He was a teacher, executive for Teach for America in New York, failed charter school operator, worked as Michelle Rhee's director of operations within Washington DC school district and was the Superintendent of Education in Washington DC. He does have some experience with parks.

Eric B said...

Thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood what the law said.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the feedback. I also looked at WA DOE's website, which was also helpful.

One thing I wasn't sure of is if the web site suggest that children who use alternative assessments for special needs (for example, below grade level competence testing) would receive a different "degree/diploma" than others i.e. the "Certificate of Academic Achievement" v "Certificate of Individual Achievement."

Anyone know the answer to that one?

zb

Anonymous said...

zz-

either CAA for those taking the standard test or CIA for those taking the alternative test will be stamped on the diploma. Otherwise they are the same.

LP

Anonymous said...

zb, LP is correct, kind of. There is only one diploma in the state of Washington and that diploma is awarded by the local school district. It is illegal to stamp anything on the diploma that would indicate a disability. Again, there is only one diploma.

The notation of the CAA/CIA is on the high school transcript, not the diploma. The courts have said it's OK to differentiate achievement on the transcript but not the diploma.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

IEPs dictate the type if certificate backing a diploma. Students qualifying under MO (modified) or with other modifications get a certificate of individual achievement instead of a certificate of academic achievement.

Yes. If somebody really wants to, they can find it. So what ?

Sped

Lynn said...

The board will vote next week on whether the student assignment plan should be amended to allow use of an income based tie-breaker for access to preschool seats at South Shore K-8. I think there's an interesting underlying question.

Are low income (or English language learning or special education eligible) students better served in segregated and enriched environments or in diverse classrooms alongside their more academically successful peers?

Several board members were determined to ensure that access to the free preschool program at Bailey Gatzert is limited to students from these higher needs groups. Is there evidence that this produces the best results? The city's preschool program is based on the assumption that economically diverse classrooms are preferable.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, the research (and the City's own preschool program) support diversity. In fact, that's why all families in Seattle would get a discount - they want as much socioeconomic diversity as they can get.

Lynn said...

That's what I thought. The board and staff don't seem to agree. When they control access (to South Shore and Gatzert pre-K) they don't support any socioeconomic diversity.

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I suspect it's a capacity issue. SpEd and lower income students are much better off with a diverse peer group. OTOH, if that means you can only serve 1/4-1/2 of the population who really needs the opportunity (and the other group already has quality preschool), I wonder if they think you're better off serving more kids and giving them all *something* vs serving 1/4-1/2 the kids, but better. Not an easy choice.

NE parent

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I'm glad you are finally admitting that students from poverty do better in a socioeconomic diverse school. You've been skeptical when I've stated this research in the past.

On the other hand, you seem to be using this realization as a reason to not use poverty as a tie-breaker for entrance into preschool.

Sounds like you don't want those kids in poverty to get in front of the line and you're using this recent, and seems convenient, realization to make your point. I don't think the district and school board are as unaware of the research about the income diversity plus for kids in poverty as you have been until now.

Tell us you aren't using this recent acknowledgment as an excuse to ensure your peers don't get shortchanged in the preschool admissions process. Say it ain't so.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for interpreting the info at the website about WA testing in practical terms for me. I'm late to the table, but have started thinking seriously about the impact of testing on the general population. I've found that relying on the official documents often makes me feel like I've been potentially mislead (a reading comprehension test in which a lot of reading between the lines is necessary).

So, it's useful to have other's answers.

Would it be appropriate to say that the SpED community (to whatever extent there is a common position) is comfortable with the CIA designation on the transcript? Will these modified assessments be available when they are necessary? Will they be over-used? (It's always a balance between those two).

zb

PS: I'm considering this a discussion, and I do not need the information for any urgent practical reason, so I am not expecting others to have an obligation to answer my questions.

Anonymous said...

zb-

My daughter graduated from HS in 2009. At that time, if she scored at the Basic level on the MSP (I think WASL was gone), then she would have gotten the CIA rather than the CAA. She lucked out because passing the state math test was not yet a requirement, so got the CAA. I would think that the place where the difference would come into play would be in colleges looking at transcripts, in which case, maybe scores on state tests are not as important as grades in specific courses. Of course, there is the SAT for colleges to look at rather than the state tests.

Also, the CIA option is only available to SpEd students.

HTH,
LP

Please Stop said...

Crosscut has decided to hold "Crosscut's Community Idea Lab"

More:

How can we make K-12 education more student-focused, personalized and community-rooted? Join local news outlet Crosscut.com, a panel of education experts, and others to answer that question as part of Crosscut's next Community Idea Lab in partnership with MOHAI.

The Community Idea Lab will feature five rapid fire presentations from community members selected for their innovative and scalable solutions. A panel of expert judges will critique and provide feedback on each idea, and you — the audience — will vote on the winning path forward.

Prizes include a team of civic leaders, assembled by MOHAI, to help you implement your idea over the months following the Idea Lab (Runners-up will also have a chance to work with a MOHAI-assembled team); meetings with local education leaders and policymakers; and a six month part time membership at Impact Hub Seattle.

There are just too many cooks in the kitchen.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Please Stop, Crosscut is decidedly ed reform (and guided by Gates Foundation dollars).

As I said at their website (and that redesign is not good), if it's the same people they use as their go-to ed people, it's people talking in an echo chamber.