Update on the NCLB rankings for WA State Schools

This update just appeared on the Seattle Times' website. It is disturbing to say the least but not surprising given the strict NCLB requirements. We should all keep that in mind. Many schools do well in nearly all categories but can be docked if they fail in one area.

Ballard, Garfield, South Lake and West Seattle are all at a Step 2 level. Aki Kurose, AAA, Franklin, Ingraham, Madison and Mercer have all been moved to Step 4 (the most critical). OSPI says these are "preliminary" status reports and may be adjusted.

Getting the fine details would really help me to understand how serious this is. I hope the District provides them to families and the public.


Charlie Mas said…
From the Department of Education, Questions and Answers on No Child Left Behind:

"The No Child Left Behind Act lays out an action plan and timetable for steps to be taken when a Title I school fails to improve, as follows:

A Title I school that has not made adequate yearly progress, as defined by the state, for two consecutive school years will be identified by the district before the beginning of the next school year as needing improvement. School officials will develop a two-year plan to turn around the school. The local education agency will ensure that the school receives needed technical assistance as it develops and implements its improvement plan. Students must be offered the option of transferring to another public school in the district--which may include a public charter school--that has not been identified as needing school improvement.

If the school does not make adequate yearly progress for three years, the school remains in school-improvement status, and the district must continue to offer public school choice to all students. In addition, students from low-income families are eligible to receive supplemental educational services, such as tutoring or remedial classes, from a state-approved provider.

If the school fails to make adequate progress for four years, the district must implement certain corrective actions to improve the school, such as replacing certain staff or fully implementing a new curriculum, while continuing to offer public school choice and supplemental educational services for low-income students.

If a school fails to make adequate yearly progress for a fifth year, the school district must initiate plans for restructuring the school. This may include reopening the school as a charter school, replacing all or most of the school staff or turning over school operations either to the state or to a private company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.
Anonymous said…
Actually, as Charlie's quote indicates, Step 5 is the most critical, it requires a school been essentially disbanded and reconstituted.
Anonymous said…
Just wondering...
Can an entering kindergartner transfer out of a school that's not making AYP, before they even attend it? Can you request this when you recieve your assignment in April, or do you have to wait until school starts? Can you tranfer mid-year?
Anonymous said…
You can request a transfer out of an "School Improvement" school (two years of AYP) if that is where you are assigned, but the school district can and does set a deadline by which you must request the transfer. You have from between when the district notifies your school is in school improvment (probably sometime last week) until a set date in the next month or so. I bet SPS uses a date before Sept. 28 as a deadline so that schools have the right totals for the Oct. 1 state funding count.
This news, of course, is what states are arguing with the feds about. NCLB has no leeway for improvement only across-the-board performance. The improvement measure means more because some schools have more challenging populations and should not be beaten down by appearing on a non-performance list.
Dan Dempsey said…
Our testing instrument the WASL is expensive, flawed, extremely inefficient and could have been replaced.

The question for Dr. Bergeson: is why did she fail to submit the MAP test to the FEDS for peer-review so that the MAP could have replaced the WASL as our NCLB instrument?

Consider the Spring Scores from 2000-2005
READING WASL grade 7 66% more students passing in 2005 than 2000.

no change
2000 54th pecentile same in 2005
grade 6
2000 54th percentile 2005 55th.

Little wonder Dr, Bergeson stopped giving IOWA tests after 2005.
She also made past IOWA test scores inaccessible from the OSPI website.


SPS is following this path with expensive homegrown Edu-soft testing. We learn little but spend lots of dollars.

Do any current school board candidates even care to discuss this?

Anonymous said…
I just looked up MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing in another context, and found the license costs $12.50-$13.50 per student per year, negotiable for large districts. A lot cheaper than the WASL, and out-of-level testing is readily available. I'm curious to know whether it mightn't be a possible achievement test for gifted placement -- certainly other districts use cutoff scores on the MAP for gifted placement(Google "gifted" and "RIT score" for examples -- the Boise school district is one).

I don't know how detailed and reliable MAP is, but would be very interested to hear more.

Helen Schinske
Charlie Mas said…
AYP is a funny thing.

Some of you may remember that NCLB requires schools and Districts to bring every student up to Standard by 2014. This exercise started in 2004, so we all had ten years.

Starting from your benchmark score in 2004, the percentage of students who fail to meet Standard must be reduced by ten percent a year until reaching zero in 2010.

I know that's an awkard explanation, so I'll provide an example.

Let's say that in the benchmark year 56.0% of the students in a school passed the WASL. In that year, 44.0% of the students failed to demonstrate proficiency. To make AYP, the percentage of students who failed the test must be reduced by 10% or 4.4% of the total students. In other words, to make AYP, 60.4% (56.0% + 4.4%) of the students must pass the test in the following year. And 64.8% in the next year, and 69.2% in the year after that. The goal is advanced by 4.4% each year so that the goal will be 100% in 2014.

Failure to meet the goal - for any group of students in the school in any aspect of the test - constitutes a failure to make AYP.

If there are fewer than 10 students tested in any group, it doesn't count. The students count as part of the school as a whole, but not as a separate group. So if you're looking at the AAA, for example, if you check the 2006 report card, you'll see that the school did not make AYP for 7th grade Black students in math, but the school DID make AYP for all 7th grade students in math.

Schools get credit for meeting AYP if they reduce their failure rate by ten percent even if they don't reach the goal for the year. For example, if the school's goal for the year was a 78% pass rate, but the school only got a 72% pass rate, that could count as meeting the safe harbor requirement if the pass rate the previous year had been 68% (32% failed, so only a 3.2% reduction in the failure rate, down to 28.8% - 71.2% pass rate - would meet the safe harbor goal).

Finally, schools can turn to another indicator, unexcused absence rate for K-8 and graduation rate for high schools, to bail them out of AYP.

Less well know are two things that the State of Washington does to improve their chances of making AYP.

First, the pass rate target hasn't advanced annually. Instead, it stays the same for three years and then jumps three years' worth. The target pass rate for 7th grade math was 38.0% in 2006, just as it was in 2005 and 2004. So a school could have made AYP without actually making any progress. This year the target pass rates are going to jump a bunch. If schools couldn't make AYP for the past three years when the targets didn't move, they will have to really turn it up to make AYP this year when the targets jump.

The State of Washington, however, is here to help. The State of Washington recognizes the inaccuracy of the WASL, so they include a margin of error on the pass rate. Again, using the 7th grade math scores for the AAA, the actual pass rate was 9.9%, but the State of Washington doesn't have a lot of confidence in that number. The State of Washington says that the margin of error on that pass rate was 10.3%. Consequently, the percentage of AAA 7th graders who perhaps SHOULD have passed the WASL could be anywhere from -0.4% to 20.2%. So the State of Washington regards the school's pass rate as 20.2% for purposes of determining whether the school met AYP.

These margins of error can get pretty big. At T T Minor, the margin of error was 25.4%, so although only 50% of the 4th graders there passed the WASL, the school easily met the 64.2% target pass rate because, for AYP purposes, the school's pass rate was 75.4%, so they met AYP by a large margin.

I would love to hear a student claim that margin of error when they fail the test and are denied a diploma.
Jet City mom said…
Im assuming that everyone is aware that the company that is paying out almost $3 million for incorrectly scoring 2005 SATs is the same company that scores the WASL.

article in Forbes re class action lawsuit

article in Times re the overlap


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