Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parents, You Have One Week to Apply for Advanced Learning

Has it always been that short a window?  I don't remember that it was.  From the SPS news page
This year’s referral form for students in grades kindergarten through 8th is available online via The Source starting September 7, 2016. Once you login to your parent or guardian source account, click on the “Advanced Learning Parent Referral” button to start the referral process.

Read more about how to submit a referral on the Advanced Learning referral webpage.
K-8 eligibility testing for the 2017-18 school year begins in October. Applications for students in grades 9-12 will be available in January.

All k-8 applications are due by October 6, 2016 to determine eligibility for school year 2017-18.
I would be interested in hearing from parents at all schools about how well your school is letting you know about this opportunity.  Are there forms on the counter in the office?  Did your child's teacher say anything?  Anything in PTA newsletter?


Robert Cruickshank said...

Seems like this works against the goal of more inclusivity in advanced learning, since a short window like this would appear to favor privileged families. But maybe I'm missing something.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And that's why I'm asking parents to let me know what's available at their school.

Anonymous said...

It has always been this way, and it's nuts, and yes, almost certainly depresses diversity in the programs. It should be in the spring, like most districts. Or at least February. But then our district would have to get its act together with the testing.


Northwest Owler said...

It's been this way at least since 2012. We almost missed it then because it wasn't announced or even mentioned by our north-end elementary. Only by chance did I learn about applying from a family friend with an older sibling—the week applications were due.

Separately, I don't know how a teacher would be organized enough to nominate a student they've had for only three weeks. At the earliest, it should be a topic for the conferences at Thanksgiving, but even then, I've known teachers so stretched by classroom management needs that they didn't know my quiet child well enough to know her strengths or weaknesses.

Anonymous said...


The only way diversity will significantly increase in HCC will be when they
have an identification/testing process that in unbiased (i.e. isn't scored
to favor some and exclude others).

The nomination procedure/time frame should be improved, but that won't change the demographics in any significant way. Neither will putting HCC into a more diverse location. Blaming the TM principal for that, as some have done, is ridiculous, BTW.
She is not a wizard who can magically make the district use scoring norms in a
statisically valid way.


Anonymous said...

Also, I hope the district is passing out CogAT prep materials to all students who are signed up to take the test, as David Lohman (author of CogAT) recommends.

He said that it is one of the ways to try to make the results less biased since the proliferation of the CogAT test prep industry has resulted in widespread test preparation for students with parents in-the-know.


Anonymous said...

My experience is that teachers have zero incentive to refer a child to advanced learning unless that child is difficult to manage in the class. My daughter's 3rd grade teacher at John Hay actively discouraged us (after our daughter had been accepted) - because my daughter sits quietly, behaves well, tests well and the teacher didn't want to lose her from her classroom.


Anonymous said...

@Jane--my well behaved boy was encouraged to go to Cascadia because Bryant doesn't have space or a delivery model for HCC kids. Many stay anyway, They have Advance Learning parent after school tutoring and enrichment by engaged parents with time and energy to teach their kids. I prefer for my kiddo to learn at school and play in his after hours.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, or should I say YAWN...

"The nomination procedure/time frame should be improved, but that won't change the demographics in any significant way. Neither will putting HCC into a more diverse location."

TM was something MT and MGJ came up with to kill the program. TM principal as is the GHS principals are just pawns to further that and as you should know the TM principal wasn't even there to make the change but the previous admin tried mightily to add gen ed kids into the program. I am not sure there was any success though as none was reported over the 3 years she was there. Could be wrong. So yeah we agree that will not work... as it was never meant to.

What inspires your disdain for the HCC program as it seems personal. Couldn't be that your kids couldn't get in because you have said repeatedly you would never send them there.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Ugh, I find FWIW repetitious as well. However, we do not make comments about other people's children. I hope that I don't have to say that again.

Anonymous said...

We've seen nothing come home from our elementary school. I saw the link on the side of the source page and filled out the self-referral. Got a confirmation email that the testing date should be sent to us by Nov 1st.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

The only way diversity will significantly increase in HCC will be when they have an identification/testing process that in unbiased (i.e. isn't scored to favor some and exclude others).

@ FWIW, the fact that different groups score differently on the tests is not proof of bias. The differences could be real. Perhaps the groups that score lower have poorer educational opportunities (home, preschool, school and extracurricular). Perhaps groups that score lower also experience poorer health environments (e.g., prenatal nutrition, lead exposure, higher stress). Perhaps there are other factors. The tests may accurately reflect these children's abilities. That doesn't imply that IQ is race-based (as you like to suggest any discussion along these lines does...), but instead it could be seen to suggest that some of these negative exposures (and/or the more limited positive exposures) can impact cognitive development and achievement. And you know what? That's what the research shows, too. Poverty, lower parental education, poor nutrition, exposure to toxins, etc. can all negatively impact child brain development. Unfortunately, those negative factors are often more prevalent in populations that tend to not score as high on these tests. And when you're talking about the ability to score at the upper extreme end of the IQ (or similar) curve, it makes sense that a whole lot has to have gone right in early development, right? Early cognitive development has lasting impacts.

That doesn't mean we have to accept the current disparities as the way it is, but we do need to be honest about things if we're going to address the problem. We need to tackle the root causes, and provide more extensive supports--and much earlier (i.e., prenatal). We can also do something to help compensate for these environment-influenced differences, and it sounds like SPS now does that (e.g., more leeway in test score cut-offs for underrepresented groups). But if the score differences reflect actual differences in cognitive development--as they likely do to some extent--it doesn't make sense to adjust the qualification criteria so much that eligibility rates are equal.

reality bites

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams MS did a good job of giving parents a heads up about the deadline. It's been on the website and in numerous newsletters. The timing of first week of October has been out there for at least the last 8 years--really early but I guess the process needs to be early for on-site testing and reviewing appeals.
I don't think teachers nominate students often. It would be saying that the teaching at that school doesn't serve the needs of that child--a negative admission. The best teachers are striving to build a community of learners where all are included. Nominating kids for the gifted program doesn't jibe with that work.
-JAMS parent

Anonymous said...

Anyone else struggling with the web form? It took one day to get a source account. Then it took another day before the application would open. Now it is saying there is no email account associated with our account. So another day to find out why that link is broken. At this point I am planning to submit the Spanish language version, not my first language but it is still paper!

Cap hill said...

It would be really nice if SPS actually defined the thing you are signing up for. Calling it a continuum of services really isn't helpful when schools can significantly change the program structure after kids have been tested and signed up. There should be a very specific program description and SPS should have documented change management process to make changes.

Stating that students in K-8 receive a self contained program (as their website does) is factually incorrect if one or more of the primary HCC pathways is moving away from self contained models.

Likewise stating that HCC students in 9-12 receive "Significantly accelerated curriculum in reading, math, science, and social studies based on student need" is also factually incorrect now.

Bill Alexander said...

A related question: where is a good place to learn more about the testing itself -- for example, how it's administered to students, how it differs by age of student, etc.? Thanks.

Meg said...

it's been just over 10 years since my first kid tested. Even then, the deadline was in the first week of October.

I had to ask about the HCC deadline; the information was not disclosed unless asked for. If asked for advice about a kid who'd tested in, the principal actively discouraged families from sending their students to HCC.

Bill Alexander said...

Never mind, found the answer (and many others) here:

Anonymous said...

Our school did fine notifying parents-- via email and I think a flyer on the wall by the office. One thing I don't like is that while the Source has my kid's spring SBAC scores, it doesn't have the percentiles. I wanted to know these before applying to see if they were high enough to bother COGAT testing. Advanced Learning did quickly send me a link to the OSPI website with percentiles when I asked, but apparently these percentiles were only recently available. (Advanced Learning said around Oct. 1.) Just another reason for a bigger referral time window... give parents some time to get SBAC percentiles and figure out if they even want to apply at all.

Percentiles Please

Anonymous said...

The SBAC percentile link I assume AL sent (click on 2016 Excel link):

The page was updated by OSPI on 9/27/16.

Our experience 10 some years ago: The deadline came and went without us knowing about AL testing. It wasn't until a parent asked after the deadline if we tested that we were clued in (a flyer in the office is of little help if you haven't been in the office...). We had our child tested the following year (argh) and when asked for info, the principal bad mouthed AL students and parents. Nice, huh? Many parents had the same attitude. School is north of the ship canal.

-no name

Melissa Westbrook said...

No Name, and this is exactly what the issue had been in many south-end schools way back when. Principals who didn't like the program, didn't put out info and then bad-mouthed it when asked. And, since test scores have become so important to schools even more of this in order to not have kids leave the schools.

I understand that last issue for schools but someone's kid isn't there to help your school's score. That student is there to get his academic needs met.


Anonymous said...

reality bites.

from National Assoication for Gifted Children:

Giftedness is represented through all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups. Underrepresentation is widely spread. It’s estimated that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50% in programs for the gifted.

Same source, best practices for administrators:

Same source, using local norms for scoring:

Test norms should reflect the local demographic, not only national norms (important for districts with a greater number of individuals from minority or ethnic groups). In some cases, it is important to review subscores, as twice-exceptional students can be overlooked if only using a general score.

David Lohman on Identify Academically Talented Students from Minority Groups and using local norms for scoring:


Anonymous said...

The deadlines and referral information were communicated very clearly to us in our north end school's PTA website. We had also seen the announcement on the front page of the SPS website during the first week of school. So I guess we feel like communication was good, regardless of what we might think of the short timeframe.

Anonymous said...

FWIW is relaying information from best testing practices, including that from the web site of the developer of the CogAT instrument SPS uses. Lohman, the developer of CogAT is clear that the test cannot be used to determine gifted potential in diverse populations that have been exposed to different opportunities. He suggests various methods to correct for these effects, none of which are followed by SPS as far as I can determine.

Is it appropriate to repeat the information when no one seems to listen? I think so.


Anonymous said...

I don't mind FWIW advocating for changes to the testing/application/review/acceptance policies and procedures. I just wish she would keep her mud slinging directed at the district, not at families. And I would LOVE to see some response from the district defending their approach that has created a mega school at Cascadia now about to be splintered at the detriment of participating students.

HCC Momvocate

Anonymous said...

The process for referring a child is DEEEEEEEPLY disadvantageous to kids that don't have parents with privilege. The application is on-line on the Source ONLY. Getting set up on the Source is cumbersome, and certainly couldn't be done on a hand held device. The questions asked in the referral form are a bit off-putting too, and I'm not even sure indicate gifted-ness. "Argues and becomes impatient with others" is a sign of gift-ness? "Does not ask for help."?!?!?!?

And the requirement to be not only 98th percentile or above in cognition (i.e. IQ) but also 95th percentile in BOTH reading and Math is not catching those kids that are EXTREMELY gifted in one or the other, not to mention catching kids that are off the charts super smart high IQ that have not been taught information that makes them score 95th in reading or math. These are the kids we need to be serving.

High IQ kids that aren't meeting their potential in academic achievement are the kids that need tailored services.

The HCC program is not going to catch many of the kids who need it because of the referral and testing process.

Conversely, if a kid DOES manage to score in all of these areas, they are definitely out-liers, and need an education that meets them where they are.

IMHO all kids that qualify need it, but not all kids who need it qualify.


Outsider said...

Funny thing, if you saw a kid who was brilliant at playing the piano, you would not care if the music had a genetic or physiological basis, or was just the result of that kid's passion and willingness to put in the ten thousand hours needed to be good. You wouldn't care how many other kids in the same zipcode played well. You would certainly not ask if that kid had navigated a year-long testing cycle and passed a correctly normed test that grants the right to advanced piano teaching. You would probably not say the kid's good performance was a problem, and that his practice hours needed to be restricted and his teaching dumbed down in fairness to other kids who aren't even much interested in music or don't like to practice. Ditto if the kid was good at shooting baskets. But if the kid is good at math or science or scholarship, SPS would ask and say and do all those things, and FWIW would be complaining if they didn't do it fast enough. It's called equity.

FWIW articulates the orthodoxy of the public schools in plain language, not obscured in bureaucratic code and jargon, which makes her (?) the most valuable commenter on the site. I agree that repetition is not a problem, nor sometimes colorful language. She mentioned that I make her want to vomit, and probably the PC police and high bureaucrats at SPS think exactly the same way but won't say it plainly. I appreciate whoever has the nerve to be honest. We all should.

The SPS testing cycle is absurd. It's also absurd to create a shortage of something that is not inherently scarce -- in this case, advanced learning.

Anonymous said...

My friend whose 8th grader attends an independent school asked me about the process of applying for high school HCC for him. I told her that there is no cohort in high school. Is there a testing program for qualifying 8th graders for high school HCC, or do they already have to be in HCC in 8th grade to continue in the cohort in 9th grade?

Anonymous said...

People seem to think that HCC parents influence the district regarding The delivery of Advanced Learning services.

It always gets hashed out on his blog as if it has some actual impact in district action.

Complete nonsense, IMO.

The district understands that self-containment of certain groups of students is a good thing, whether that's SpEd students or HC students. The data is available downtown on every student and any subset of students can be pulled up and analyzed.

FWIW makes very good points about the demographics of testing and test prep. Best practices as described by the author of the CogAT are not followed.

The cohort grows and grows as more parents see is as better place for their children compared to their neighborhood school.

The question is what is in the future? I don't have the numbers, but it feels like the cohort is growing percentage-wise, not only in total numbers. Will that become a problem?

Does it in any way hurt the non-HCC population? Will the district really get more black and Hispanic and poor students in the cohort and is that the best place for them?

It's just is so silly to always argue on this blog and act like what we write will affect the decisions downtown.

As regards the PSAT/NMSQT representation in SPS. 1% of eligible SPS high school students, almost all juniors would be roughly 40 students, so we're pretty average in that category, which is indicative of exactly nothing regarding HCC. HCC is not for just National Merit Scholars; who it's for is really up to the AL department and the district, and the board to some extent.

There are better uses for this blog than rehashing the HCC debate every week.

I want to know what happened at Laurel Heights, for example? Did the protests help them out or were they ignored by the district?


Anonymous said...

GHSmom, this year's rules, as I understand them:

8th graders (privately schooled or otherwise) can test into AL for 9th, and the HC designation will follow them through high school. If they qualify (an essay is now required for 8th graders), they can select Ingraham IBX as an option, though not Garfield. The Garfield pathway is only available for 8th graders currently in the HC cohort. Should they choose their neighborhood high school, they are supposed to get services of some sort, though I'm not quite sure what that includes - access to AP classes? You must meet the October AL deadline for nomination.


Po3 said...

Did placing APP/HCC increase the diversity of student participation? Has that ever been looked at?

Anonymous said...

If the 8th grader lives in the assignment area for Garfield, they can simply go to Garfield and take all the advanced classes they are qualified (by prereqs) to take from the beginning, just like a student who has gone through the APP/HCC program.


Anonymous said...

@GHS mom, if they do qualify to join HCC at 9th and select Ingraham as their preference, it's still not guaranteed. Ingraham choice is on a space-available basis, and not all who wanted in this year got in. It's likely to be harder and harder.


Anonymous said...

@ FWIF, yes, "giftedness is represented through all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups." Does that necessarily mean it's equally represented? As you point out, "underrepresentation is widely spread. It’s estimated that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50% in programs for the gifted." Why is it estimated? Because we don't know what the levels should be. It sounds nice to suggest that giftedness surely occurs at the same in rate within all subgroups, but is there evidence to support it? Why should it occur at the same rates, when factors that influence "giftedness" (however you define it) don't occur at the same rates?

RE: the use of local norms, Lohman indicates this is important because of issues of mismatch. If most kids in a class are high scoring, say 95th percentile, he suggests the mismatch between their needs and the needs of a 98th percentile kid aren't going to be all that different, whereas a 98 in low-scoring class would be more out of sync. True, but in reality, the impact of these difference depend on how the school handles them. If everyone gets the same grade-level curriculum regardless of the makeup of the class, the fact that the mismatch is decreased doesn't do you much good. Plus, those numbers are not typical. A perhaps somewhat likely situation would be that the majority of a class was Spectrum-qualified, so about 88th percentile. We also have a good number of 99th percentile kids--and the level of mismatch there is huge.

As Lohman also points out--in his #1 policy suggestions--the goal of the program is key.

Is the goal to identify and serve those students who demonstrate unusually high levels of academic ability and accomplishment? If so, then traditional procedures of identifying and serving academically "gifted" students can be used. Poor and minority students will be included in this group, although not at a level that approaches their representation in the population.
Attempts to achieve greater minority representation by using nonverbal tests and other measures that are not good measures of scholastic aptitude will indeed include more ELL students in the program. Unfortunately, these will not in general be the most academically promising students.

On the other hand, if the goal is to identify the most academically talented students in underrepresented populations regardless of current levels of academic attainment, then procedures like those outlined in this paper* will be more successful. However, options for educational placement and programming will need to be much more diverse than is currently the case. That's because, as he goes on to note in policy suggestion #2, even when evaluating students by "opportunity to learn" [aka subgroup] and making identification within groups, instructional placements should be primarily on the basis of accomplishments [aka achievement] to date. [*The procedures outlined include using multiple scores (which we already do), or setting targets for each subgroup--which is politically fraught, especially when we don't have evidence as to what the numbers "should" be.]

reality bites

Outsider said...

There is a whole other dimension to the issue of minority representation in HCC which seems to be forgotten. The SPS bureaucrats might believe that the best use of high-achieving minority students is to serve as role models and a stabilizing influence in neighborhood schools. They don't want high achieving minority students to disappear into self-contained programs. If the testing program is difficult to navigate and unevenly publicized, which results in eligible students of color not getting into the program, it's more like mission accomplished than a problem. Not because they are racist. What they are doing is entirely consistent with equity principles.

The district is committed to "eliminating the opportunity gap" which is a euphemism for equalizing the rate of passing SBAC for all racial groups. Bright, motivated, high-achieving students of color are likely to pass the SBAC anyhow, so nothing is gained by letting them escape into HCC. On the contrary, loss of their stabilizing influenced in "impacted" schools works against increasing the SBAC passing rate, and therefore perpetuates the "opportunity gap."

HCC has swollen because Spectrum was abolished. A secondary benefit of keeping students of color out of HCC with the convoluted testing regime is that it provides an argument for ending the program altogether. That is what SPS bureaucrats would prefer. But it's politically difficult because of pesky parents of privilege who don't want their kids leveled to a 30th percentile education.

Anonymous said...

I have a child at a south seattle elementary school and I have never heard anything from the school about this program.


Po3 said...

Meant to say:

Did placing APP/HCC at TM increase the diversity of student participation? Has that ever been looked at?

Anonymous said...

No it didn't Po3 and that was never the intent. It was to dismantle the program and MT was involved in the tactic. Keep in mind TM and the more southern school Hawthorne were the north (TM) and south schools. So clearly a real attempt to ignore all research on teach these kids.

Dismantling continues with baseless attempts by FWIW and all of their other aliases posting about segregation and test fraud. Normally these post talk about a fantasy world with collusion to get kids into a "worthless" program. It really never makes any sense but certainly plays well to those who disparage a kids chances to get the type of classes they need.

2 old

Anonymous said...

I think MT is behind the neighborhood boundary train wreck and setting Cascadia up for a split, which has been a work in progress. Don't believe for a second this is a "doh!" He's lurking around, but NEVER at a public meeting. We just may need to wrangle him and have him answer some questions about the vision for SPS.

Total Chaos

NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I had heard through the grape vine that within the last couple years a core of parents from Thurgood Marshall, with the goal of increasing the number of children of color in the HCC program at the school, had prepared a "recruitment" letter (more like a "hey we are TM, we are a great and welcoming school with this HCC program, come check us out", yadda, yadda) to be sent to kids from historically underperforming schools who had high CogAT scores. I had heard SPS wouldn't assist in getting these letters to the students. Any more background on this?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Lighthouse, that's Loyal Heights and no word yet. I suspect they will get all their grade levels except K split and between the teachers and the parents, just have to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

The Loyal Heights PTA facebook page says they got the 4th K teacher. That's great!

Percentiles Please

Anonymous said...

"Because we don't know what the levels should be. It sounds nice to suggest that giftedness surely occurs at the same in rate within all subgroups, but is there evidence to support it? Why should it occur at the same rates, when factors that influence "giftedness" (however you define it) don't occur at the same rates?"

Are these simply rhetorical questions or are you answering no and they shouldn't (respectively) by positing them in a such clearly leading/loaded way?

If you believe the answer is that underserved students are less likely to be
gifted, then fess up. (And, if so, where's the evidence?) Otherwise, what's your point?


Anonymous said...

You're ridiculous

Anonymous said...

@FWIW, there's no need for me to "fess up" for believing that underserved students may be less likely to be gifted. After all, underserved students are the same students who are more frequently impacted by all sorts of factors that can negatively impact child cognitive development, so it's only natural that rates of giftedness during the school-age years would be a little lower. That doesn't make it right in a social justice sense, but rather right in a scientific, giftedness identification sort of way--a reflection, at least to some extent, of real differences. This in no way suggests that any race is inherently more intelligent or evidences greater rates of giftedness. Rather, it's an acknowledgement that other factors influence the development of giftedness, and these other factors are not equally distributed. Eliminating those developmental disparities would go a long way toward reducing disparities in gifted identification.

The articles that "You're ridiculous" posted above are some good evidence, but there's a lot more out there. But I get the sense you don't really want that information, that you're not willing to acknowledge that by the time many kids reach school age, their cognitive development has already been negatively impacted to some extent. That doesn't mean they can't succeed in school, or even excel, but it does make it a little less likely that as many will develop to their potential. It's similar to why we wouldn't expect a group of kids who were denied adequate nutrition to be as tall as a group of well-fed kids.

reality bites

Anonymous said...

why is this about race then? i see frl, ell and 2e all who would be less likely to know the short cutoff window and benefits for their potentially hcc kids... but race is just that: race is singly no determinate for performance. off those groups i mentioned all receive accommodations to enter the program... rightfully so.

no caps

Anonymous said...

the brain is more malleable than the body. stunted growth from malnutrition is not comparable to kids who have busy, uneducated parents.

kids who start out in school behind more privileged kids can catch up

Frederick Douglas was raised with no reading or schooling yet was quite brilliant after getting his education, not to mention his freedom.

the relentless narrative of irredeemable dark-skinned children itself has a negative influence on these kids.

it's dismaying this blog has degenerated into a forum for people trying to "prove" that certain children are doomed to be inferior to their more affluent peers


Lynn said...

Yes, there are things we can do to improve the academic performance of children who grow up in poverty. Two that I'm aware of are income support programs and early childhood education (programs that take place before kindergarten.)

I'm not aware of any studies that indicate there are things we can do inside schools that can completely mitigate the effects of poverty.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am just dumbfounded that anyone would believe there are not gifted kids across all races, ethnic backgrounds,etc. Of course there are.

But background, poverty, etc. can influence HOW that brain develops.

What's important is for schools to find ways to recognize those gifts and develop them AND yes, encourage parents to seek out programs to support those brains.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely no caps, agree- FRL, ELL other factors not race. I would also add education level of the parent. Parents with high educational attainment who have skills to understand and follow the process. Also, add parents who see some benefit of their child participating in the program. Here is a story. I met a young (had child in teens) single (white) low income parent recently who asked me benefit of HCC when I mentioned my child was enrolled. Was hesitant to do follow up cognitive test although district had sent a letter encouraging to test due to high achievement scores. Child ended up testing and enrolling into program, but almost did not pursue it.

Anonymous said...

@Maria...lots of my friends who are very well educated and have very bright kids ask me the value of putting my son in HCC and why I put him through the stress of not being with his neighborhood friends and in a program where the district treats the families like an annoying after thought. These are doctors and profs. My lawyer friends ask why it took so long to start....

Different perspectives

Maureen said...

@Lighthouse, 1% of eligible SPS high school students, almost all juniors would be roughly 40 students, so we're pretty average in that category, which is indicative of exactly nothing regarding HCC Yes, exactly. But if HCC is top 2%, that means there would be fewer than 80 juniors who had gone through HCC. Some % would have stayed at neighborhood schools. The ones who did enroll wouldn't all start in first grade. So, clearly, HCC does not only enroll the top 2% of tested SPS students. I don't know what the identified number of HCC juniors is this year, but it must be hundreds over what the PSAT would indicate as top 2%. I'm not a big testing fan, but if they get in by testing, the results should have to be robust.

Lynn said...


I'm not understanding your comment. The PSAT measures math and reading skills and NMSF status requires top 1% scores in those skills on a particular day. HC designation requires top 5% scores at some point in a student's school years. In any case, you're overestimating the number of highly capable high school students.

Here are the numbers for last year's junior class:

99 Garfield
75 Ingraham
12 Ballard
12 Roosevelt
5 Hale
1 Chief Sealth
1 Franklin
0 Rainier Beach
0 West Seattle

205 Total

Anonymous said...

@ Maureen, you're comparing apples and oranges. National Merit is based on WA students only, whereas our HCC eligibility criteria are based on nationally normed tests. WA students tend to score higher than average, so there's no reason that the top 5% in SPS couldn't score in the top 2% on nationally normed tests. You complained that "clearly, HCC does not only enroll the top 2% of tested SPS students." True. But given that we use national norms, we never intended to enroll the top 2% in SPS only. I suspect the thinking was that those who are in the top 2% nationally are so different from than peers that they need something else, and whether that's 1% or 10% of SPS students, the typical curriculum likely isn't appropriate.


Anonymous said...

Maureen, only 29% of high school juniors take the PSAT, and that is up over previous years. It's not a good measure.


Anonymous said...

Maureen re: "So, clearly, HCC does not only enroll the top 2% of tested SPS students."

Correct. It's because they use national norms only. Many of these students are tested in the early years and their SPS scores are significantly out of synch with their demographic peers. In some regions/elementary schools of SPS, 20% or more students are HCC qualified. In a nutshell, what you stated is the topic of this ongoing blog "discussion".

That's why Bellevue and other districts use 1% for this demographic to qualify for HC--it's how they norm properly the CogAT for this population.

The results: 1. A hugely inflated HCC program for a particular demographic (with no real accountability for continued elibility even though many tested in during primary grades or Kindergarten, and state law requires accountability for continuation of services) 2. An excluded population of students who don't have the same learning opportunities but are mistakenly (to put it kindly) being scored by the same norms as their more affluent peers of highly educated parents. SPS scoring goes against the scoring protocal strongly advocated by the developer of the CogAT test.

The repurcussions of this mess keeps coming out in the wash in more ways than one. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.


Anonymous said...

"The results: 1. A hugely inflated HCC program for a particular demographic"

FWIW is saying that the cohort is too big and caters to non-FRL families mostly white and some Asian.

Let's assume that's true, certainly a valid interpretation of the program, but the question is then why?

New Yorker

Anonymous said...

Lynn, are those numbers "HC" qualified or HCC? As you know, they are two
different numbers, and yours appear to be the HCC numbers.

In fact, as inflated as HCC is, the HC eligible numbers make those numbers even more shocking.

Maureen does not appear to be overestimating those who were identified as HC.

Your numbers are likely HCC and not HC qualified as you stated.

New Yorker, don't you already know the answer to your question? If not, Frederick Douglas answered it for you:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."


Anonymous said...

BSD Highly Capable identification:

The Bellevue School District’s gifted programs are designed to meet the academic needs of students determined through academic and cognitive testing to be in the +2 SD and above, or roughly the 98th percentile and above when compared to the general population.

GESP (Grades 2 – 5), GMSP (Grades 6 – 8) and GHSP (Grades 9 – 11)
•Two CogAT subtest scores at or above 132 SAS (Standard Age Score), one subtest score at or above 126 [95%ile], and the composite score at or above 132 [98%ile].
•Achievement results on the STAR or IOWA Reading and Math assessments at or above 95%.

-fact checker

Anonymous said...

FWIW wants it both ways. FWIW wants the eligibility criteria for non-FRL white and Asian students increased to 99th percentile to reduce the size of the program, but at the same time wants us to use local norms and racial, income, and other subgroups that will allow us to significantly reduce the eligibility scores for underrepresented populations, increasing their participation in the program. Unfortunately, that also goes against Lohman's recommendations, which say that criteria

Lohman says that if the goal is "to identify and serve those students who demonstrate unusually high levels of academic ability and accomplishment... then traditional procedures of identifying and serving academically "gifted" students can be used," while "if the
goal is to identify the most academically talented students in underrepresented populations regardless of current levels of academic attainment, then ... options for educational placement and programming will need to be much more diverse than is currently the
case." That's because "different instructional paths should be available for those who already exhibit high accomplishment and for those who display talent but somewhat lower accomplishment.... If schools cannot provide this sort of differential placement, then it is unlikely that they will be able to satisfy the twin goals of providing developmentally appropriate instruction for academically advanced students while simultaneously increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who are served and who subsequently develop academic excellence."

Using local norms by subgroup, you can identify your top performers in each category. However, as Lohman points out, the tope performers in those overall-lower-scoring groups aren't necessarily ready for the same program/services, because "the curricular needs of these students will generally not be the same as the curricular needs of students who scores placed them at the top of the overall list."

In other words, it's a matter of responding to the needs of already advanced students vs. working to advance those who show potential. While I agree the latter is a laudable goal, the programs/services SPS provides are based on the former. The AL office DID recently try to get funding for a talent development component, but SPS didn't go for it. So based on the services we have, the eligibility criteria we have might not be inappropriate after all. Changing the criteria would require also changing the program--to add in a talent development component for high-scoring students from underrepresented groups that can hopefully help leapfrog them ahead so they'll be ready for HCC services, and to also then add in increased flexibility and differentiation so that all schools and teachers could better meet the needs of very high performing (98th percentile) students who no longer qualified for services.


Anonymous said...

I caution people to assume all the kids who are in HCC come from "the same" backgrounds and family histories. I know for certain that is not the case. I know kids who parents are professionals and others who did not go to college. I know parents one generation removed from poverty who are themselves struggling. I know younger, single, married and older parents. I know some who rent and live in shared housing situations and others who own homes. And in regards to race and/or ethnicity, I caution that one cannot tell someone's ancestry, socio-econmic, educational or family history by color of skin.
-NW HCC parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"it's dismaying this blog has degenerated into a forum for people trying to "prove" that certain children are doomed to be inferior to their more affluent peers"

While threads about AL seem to often just be a back-and-forth, it is certainly unfair to say this blog is just a forum for that single discussion. We work VERY hard to have a wide variety of topics.

As well, I don't agree with your statement at all.

Anonymous said...

Should have wrote "In this thread" and then followed with "it's dismaying..."

There have been many comments on many threads on this blog implying or outright stating that certain groups of children are underepresented in HCC because they don't have parents who are either gifted or well eduated. Many comments stating that poverty reduces cognitive ability and expains low numbers of FRL, black and Hispanic in HCC.

There have even been oblique comments referencing inherent differences in cognitive ability between races.

As blog admin you set the tone.

I find the overall attitude of the blog to be mildly racist, 2.5 to 3 on a scalee of 0-10, with 0 being racist comment-free.


Anonymous said...

B12-- It is the access to high quality early childhood education, family resources as well as a family culture oriented toward importance of education. My father grew up in extreme poverty, father died, mother single and poor. No family member had been to college, neither anyone around them in the projects where he grew up in the S bronx. He was brilliant, but did not do well in school as I don't think it related to his world or culture of his particular family. He was given an unusual opportunity in a career in which he thrived by a kind person that changed his life and the lives of his children and now grandchildren. We entered the middle class. I have attended college and my child tested into HCC. I provided all sorts of resources and financial stability for this child and a high quality preschool environment. As I went to college I impart a high value toward school & education. We talk about it all the time. A child from a poor family has the same potential. However they may not get the same resources or support to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Our experience in HCC is similar to NW HCC parent. Parents appear to possess a wide range of means and education. Furthermore, the population of students was more diverse than our neighborhood school.