WASL Results and the Achievement Gap


I have been looking at the WASL results on the OSPI website. There is much good information there, once you figure out how to navigate the site. The first bit of analysis I did was on how African-American students at the 10 comprehensive high schools in Seattle did on the WASL. Now for better or for worse, this is one major way that schools will be judged on how they are doing in closing the achievement gap. I am a big believer in that there needs to be some sort of assessment to determine if students have actually mastered the skills and topics necessary to have a chance for success in the world. I am doubtful the WASL is the proper tool to do this assessing. I will show results for math, reading, writing, and met3 (meaning the student passed math, reading and writing).

School Math
RB 36.2%
Ballard 34.2%
WS 30.8%
Garfield 30.1%
Roosevelt 27.8%
NH 13.8%
Ingraham 12.2%
Franklin 12.2%
Cleveland 11.1%
Sealth 10.6%

This is, of course, the most problematic subject. No one is doing a good job here. Just to toot RB's horn, we have raised our pass rate from 12% to 36.2% in the past two years. We are pleased by that, but still find our pass rate unacceptable. There seems to be a huge split here. I wonder why NH, Ingraham, Franklin, Cleveland and Sealth are lagging.

School Reading
Roosevelt 82.1%
Garfield 76.5%
RB 69.5%
WS 66.7%
Franklin 65.3%
NH 64.3%
Ballard 64.1%
Cleveland 64.1%
Ingraham 47.6%
Sealth 46.7%

Even though, I am a math teacher, being able to read is the most important skill taught to students and it is good to see 8 of the 10 schools having reasonably high pass rates here. If you can't read, you doom yourself to a life of struggle. RB does 20 minutes a day of silent reading and while I admit I have trouble getting all the students to actually read, most of them do read and I think this has really helped our scores.

School Writing
WS 83.3%
Garfield 81.3%
Roosevelt 81.1%
NH 75.9%
Ballard 73.7%
RB 73.3%
Cleveland 71.2%
Franklin 70.4%
Ingraham 57.1%
Sealth 46.7%

Writing is where the highest pass rates are. 8 of the 10 schools have rate over 70%. That is good news. We constantly are on our students about how to write a 5 paragraph essay. I even do it some in math. I show Stand and Deliver at the beginning of the year to try to inspire my students and then I have them write an essay about it. I know it isn't much, but at least it is something to help with the students writing.

School Met3
Ballard 34.2%
RB 32.8%
WS 28.9%
Roosevelt 24.3%
Garfield 23.3%
Ingraham 20.5%
Sealth 18.6%
Cleveland 18.5%
NH 17.9%
Franklin 14.1%

Since the math pass rates are so low, the Met3 rates are going to be low also. This really paints a sad picture. Even though the State has decided to not make the Math WASL a requirement till 2013, the students need to meet an alternative option to graduate. They either have to do a collection of evidence or have to take more math and pass those classes with an above average grade. I have done the collection of evidence and it is very difficult. The easiest path to a diploma for students is to still pass the math WASL.


Charlie Mas said…
Interesting statistical anomaly:

At Sealth, the math pass rate is 10.6% but the Met3 rate is 18.6%.

How can that be?
Roy Smith said…
You mentioned breaking out the scores for African-American students, but then only presented one set of numbers. Are the pass rates presented for all students, or just African-American students?

I noticed the anomaly Charlie mentioned as well, for several schools. Shouldn't the Met3 rate be lower than any of the other rates for every school?
Michael Rice said…

I can't speak for the difference between the math and Met3. I will try to find out what is going on there.

These were the pass rates for African-American students. Sorry if I did not make that clear.
Anonymous said…
Looking at these results, it makes me laugh, that some people can not understand why someone from Queen Anne would not want to send their kid across the city, to Ingraham HS?

Why would anybody want to send their kid to Ingraham, even if they lived across the street. It appears that the school is in dire straights. Do they break out the IB students WASL scores? I'd be curious to see those.
Anonymous said…
Sealth has a really high number of ELL students, last I checked, there was no provision to up them out of taking the WASL.
Anonymous said…

Where is your source of information for "more math and pass those classes with an above average grade?" The OSPI website says nothing about "above average grade," it just says pass the math class.
Charlie Mas said…
I went to the OSPI site and I found the source of the discrepency. One percentage, the pass rate for each test, is the pass rate for all students. Students who didn't take the test - for whatever reason - are part of this total and are counted among those not passing the test. The 2-for-2 and 3-of-3 numbers are just for those students who took all of the tests. Students who missed even one test are not included in this total. The OSPI provides another number - a lower number - for the 2-of-2 and 3-of-3 pass rates counting all students. Those numbers are not greater than the pass rates on any one test.

At Washington Middle School, the achievement gap is jaw-dropping. Using the total enrollment numbers, the 3-of-3 pass rates for White students is 97.2% for the 6th grade (only two tests - reading and math), 96.2% for the 7th grade (reading, writing and math), and 88.7% for the 8th grade (reading, math and science).

For Black students, the pass rates were 40.0% in the sixth grade, 35.3% in the 7th grade, and 14.5% in the 8th grade.

The pass rate on the 8th grade science test was 11.0% for Black students and 88.0% for White students. A White student is eight times more likely to pass. That's a heck of a gap.
Michael Rice said…

Maddie asked about the grades in the additional math class. I got that information from our WASL Dean. I will have to find out where it came from.
Charlie Mas said…
So what exactly is happening at Roosevelt High School, where 76.3% of the White students passed the math portion of the WASL, but only 27.8% of the Black students did? That's a gap of 58.7 percentage points. White students were three times more likely to pass than Black students.

And what is happening at Ingraham, where 74.1% of the White students passed the math portion of the WASL, but only 12.2% of the Black students did? That's a gap of 61.9 percentage points. White students were six times more likely to pass than Black students.

And at Nathan Hale, where the gap was 58.5 percentage points - between 13.8% for Black students and 72.3% for White students.

The school with the highest percentage of Black students passing the math portion of the WASL was Rainier Beach, with 36.2%. We don't know what the gap was there because only three White students took the test.

Does this mean that if a Black student wants to pass the math portion of the WASL, they will do better at Rainier Beach than anywhere else, particularly better than Ingraham (12.2%) Nathan Hale (13.8%), or Franklin (12.2%)?

These are some freaky numbers. When White students are passing the test six times as frequently as the Black students in the same school with them, the difference is so big that it has got to be visible.
Anonymous said…
I would check with someone higher up, because it sounds like you were given wrong information by your Dean.
Michael Rice said…

I will have to find out more information about the extra math class, since our WASL Dean is no longer here. When we hire a new Dean, I will ask them.
Jet City mom said…
Id love to see what the rates are of passing the WASL when kids are at grade level math.

Not that I am so thrilled with the WASL, but I am concerned that even if they pass- they aren't prepared for college level math- and what about the kids who don't?

At Garfield- I had the impression that the PATHWAYS program implemented last year has been relatively successful- as I mentioned- my daughter who had never passed a math WASL with more than a 1, took PATHWAYS and passed WASL with a high score.

I am more concerned however with how students are doing with their math foundation- how are these students doing with other assessments? ITBS- or SAT?
Dan Dempsey said…
Concerned about the Achievement gap in math check this out for the last decade.

GAP Blck - Whi Dist - Dist
Black Year
minus 1998-99 -35.90%
White 1999-00 -40.20%
Grade 10 2000-01 -46.60%
MATH 2001-02 -45.70%
2002-03 -45.50%
2003-04 -47.40%
2004-05 -44.20%
2005-06 -50.50%
2006-07 -51.20%
GAP increased over 15% during decade

Grade 7 GAP Black-White Dist-Distrt
Black Year
minus 1997-98 -32.70%
White 1998-99 -41.80%
Grade 7 1999-00 -41.90%
MATH 2000-01 -43.30%
2001-02 -39.00%
2002-03 -42.70%
2003-04 -49.10%
2004-05 -47.70%
2005-06 -49.90%
2006-07 -49.10%
Gap increased over 16% during the decade.

Grade 4 GAP Black-White Dist-Dist
Black Year
minus 1997-98 -38.30%
White 1998-99 -43.10%
Grade 4 1999-00 -45.70%
MATH 2000-01 -50.60%
2001-02 -47.70%
2002-03 -40.70%
2003-04 -41.60%
2004-05 -46.50%
2005-06 -44.70%
2006-07 -47.70%
Gap increases 9.4% during the decade.

It does not look a lot better for Hispanics. Quite a decade for a district that continually talks about the gap but ignores it when math curricula are adopted. Hard to find much worse than Everyday Math and Connected Math for disadvantaged learners k-8.

Here is data from Cleveland with Black school score minus White district score. Keep in mind that Cleveland had lots of assistance from U of W via a grant for IMP curricula implementation in 06-07

GAP Black School -
Black Year minus
minus 1998-99 White
White 1999-00 District
Grade 10 2000-01 -52.70%
MATH 2001-02 -52.60%
2002-03 -51.20%
2003-04 -54.90%
2004-05 -40.60%
2005-06 -63.70%
2006-07 -59.70%

Individual school data not available from OSPI for Black - White data prior to Spring 2001

Now for the other school with lots of UW assitance with IMP Garfield much lauded on a visit by the Gov. Christine G. for their great IMP math program that we should all look to as a model.

GAP Black School
Black Year minus
minus 1998-99 White
White 1999-00 District
Grade 10 2000-01 -45.00%
MATH 2001-02 -43.00%
2002-03 -44.60%
2003-04 -42.90%
2004-05 -41.40%
2005-06 -44.10%
2006-07 -40.70%

At Garfield the Gap is at least getting smaller.

For some comparison here are the data for the district compared with state averages looking at Black District minus Black State:

Black differential
10th Grade Math Dist-State
Year District State
1998-99 5.40% 9.50% -4.10%
1999-00 8.30% 11.70% -3.40%
2000-01 6.10% 11.90% -5.80%
2001-02 8.10% 13.00% -4.90%
2002-03 7.00% 14.20% -7.20%
2003-04 11.30% 16.10% -4.80%
2004-05 12.90% 20.40% -7.50%
2005-06 21.70% 23.20% -1.50%
2006-07 19.60% 22.50% -2.90%

Black differential
7th Grade Math Dist-State
Year District State
1997-98 2.30% 4.90% -2.60%
1998-99 4.70% 6.80% -2.10%
1999-00 6.30% 8.70% -2.40%
2000-01 5.10% 7.80% -2.70%
2001-02 6.80% 10.30% -3.50%
2002-03 7.30% 14.10% -6.80%
2003-04 15.00% 21.40% -6.40%
2004-05 17.40% 25.40% -8.00%
2005-06 17.70% 24.50% -6.80%
2006-07 24.10% 30.00% -5.90%

Black differential
4th Grade Math Dist-State
Year District State
1997-98 14.20% 13.00% +1.20%
1998-99 12.00% 15.30% -3.30%
1999-00 17.20% 18.70% -1.50%
2000-01 15.00% 19.50% -4.50%
2001-02 22.30% 28.60% -6.30%
2002-03 31.10% 35.50% -4.40%
2003-04 36.40% 37.50% -1.10%
2004-05 33.10% 37.70% -4.60%
2005-06 31.30% 36.40% -5.10%
2006-07 32.00% 35.00% -3.00%

Here is Cleveland School minus State:

ALL students 10th Grade Math
at Cleveland School-State

Year School District State
98-99 5.30% 24.80% 33.00% -27.70%
99-00 11.60% 32.20% 35.00% -23.40%
00-01 8.10% 33.70% 38.90% -30.80%
01-02 5.20% 35.30% 37.30% -32.10%
02-03 9.00% 34.90% 39.40% -30.40%
03-04 4.80% 38.60% 43.90% -39.10%
04-05 23.20% 40.80% 47.50% -24.30%
05-06 21.10% 55.70% 51.00% -29.90%
06-07 17.90% 50.20% 50.20% -32.30%

And Garfield:
ALL School-State
10th Grade Math
Year School District State
98-99 35.70% 24.80% 33.00% +2.70%
99-00 50.60% 32.20% 35.00% +15.60%
00-01 49.80% 33.70% 38.90% +10.90%
01-02 53.60% 35.30% 37.30% +16.30%
02-03 49.40% 34.90% 39.40% +10.00%
03-04 58.70% 38.60% 43.90% +14.80%
04-05 56.00% 40.80% 47.50% +8.50%
05-06 70.90% 55.70% 51.00% +19.90%
06-07 68.90% 50.20% 50.20% +18.70%

In Spring 2006 SPS changed who they wished to take the test, and although district wide the pass rate went up 14.9% there were 18 fewer students passing the 10th math WASL in 2006 than in 2005.
When you can't make the numerator of the fraction larger --- shrink the denominator because you look so good.


ALL differential
10th Grade Math Dist-State
Year District State
98-99 24.80% 33.00% -8.20%
99-00 32.20% 35.00% -2.80%
00-01 33.70% 38.90% -5.20%
01-02 35.30% 37.30% -2.00%
02-03 34.90% 39.40% -4.50%
03-04 38.60% 43.90% -5.30%
04-05 40.80% 47.50% -6.70%
05-06 55.70% 51.00% +4.70%
06-07 50.20% 50.20% +0.00%

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