Monday, February 11, 2008

Interesting Reading from UW College of Education

As I was going through the PTSA box I found a booklet from the University of Washington College of Education called "Research That Matters -part 5, Taking Measure, Does Modern Math Education Add Up?"

I haven't read the whole thing but seems to be a thoughtful discussion. I've put a call in to see if it came to each school or how available it is. Here it is from the College's website. From the intro:

"Last fall, Judy Mitchell, Dean of Washington States University's College of Education, and I (Patricia Wasley) convened a group of 26 of the state's superintendents at a conference sponsored by Microsoft. We asked,"If you are to be successful with the children we serve, what would our colleges of education be doing?"

"Helping us with math achievement," they said. "Training more math teachers." "Helping us explain the 'math wars' to parents, board members and our own teachers."

I don't particularly like their section on math and the WASL but I give them credit for bringing it out as an issue. This speaks to me because this weekend I met a woman who does educational assessment materials for the state of Texas. She worked at OSPI on the WASL. She said, in her judgment, that it is one of the longest state tests with more open-ended questions than she had seen on any other state test. I had thought it was a long test but this just verified that hunch. (But, she also said kids have to pass their state test at each grade level to move on. That's not much pressure for a 3rd grader.)


Charlie Mas said...

In Seattle, kids don't have to do anything to advance to the next grade. They don't have to do anything at all.

Anonymous said...

this is a hit piece justifying their decade plus of failure - well, except their success in staying employed as they fail our kids.

what the research should show is that when you take affluent people and pay them to figure out how to help that 75 or 90% who aren't affluent, you get ideas which work in affluent places and which don't work in the rest of the real world.

we probably don't have that kind of research - social class and cluelessness - but we do have the WASL results of 40? 50? THOUSAND 10th grade kids bombing too much vague 8th grade math every year.

UW COE solution? Teachers aren't implementing groupwork, differentiated instruction, and Seasame Street classroom 'management' correctly, therefore it is the teachers fault for not picking up on the (inept) training.

it is funny how I couldn't find this document 10 days ago - public money funds public research from a public entity tasked with serving public education

and the document was tucked away!

pardon my lack of theoritcial objectivity about their nonsense - I get to pick up the mess everyday, while I'm looking 100+ of those 40,000 ++ cheated kids in the eye.

Anonymous said...

Totally vacuous and visually hard to read. The printed versions must have cost a bundle, all that ink and fancy graphics. Bet it's on nice paper as well.

First, an apology for not providing schools with more qualified math teachers. Seems all the kids smart and capable enough to grasp school math parlay that knowledge into jobs with higher pay.

Then, a study that shows that no one but theoretical mathematicians actually use their school math, so we should change the curriculum.

So, all these college students with math skills that are not becoming elementary school teachers are becoming theoretical mathematicians?

dan dempsey said...

Talk about a package of Baloney...

This is exactly where Rosalind Wise comes up with statements like...
All 8th grade students can pass Algebra. It will be conceptual Algebra not computational Algebra.

The U of W College of Education and the SPS seem to have little interest in mathematics as a tool for reality - who needs carpenters anyway.

Love the brochure piece about the architect and not using equations.

Here is the response of a former student of mine now with his own very successful architectural firm:

I read through the document, and can understand ......; "If you spend a month with architects, you'll never once see them write an equation."

...this is really just a contextual issue not a reality.

The architect is responsible for all the structural, seismic, mechanical, energy, and any other calculations related to the project. Yet, it is true that today we do typically subcontract these out for efficiency. But we do study all these things in school and our professional testing addresses each category specifically. The critical thing for an architect, is knowing enough of the math so that we can look at a problem and understand what the outcome should look like, so we can at least communicate with our sub-consultants intelligently.
A generation ago an architect owning his/her own firm did everything in house. Today complexity is forcing specialization, for efficiency and control over the liability of the parts, ...but the math is still the same, if not harder.

Check out the introduction by UW College of Education Dean Wasley in last year's Research That Matters 4: Closing the Gap:New Strategies for a changing 21st Century Classroom

...."Seattle Public School statistics show that the percentage of children of color who enter high school will increase 10 percent each year over the next century........Although their numbers are showing improvement, non-Asian minorities typically score 20 or more points lower than their white counterparts on Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) tests."

Both of the above are total falsehoods:
1.. The Dean's statement will yield a non-Asian minority population as follows: for stating year let us take 2006 data.
Ethnicity (October 2006)
American Indian/Alaskan Native 2.2%
Asian 22.3%
Black 21.8%
Hispanic 11.4%
White 42.4%

SPS non-Asian minority population was = 35.4% in 2006

In just 12 years with the SPS growth rate mentioned by Dean Wasley the population of students will be 101% minority non-Asians.
By 2106 this will be at over 400,000% - well we must be a melting pot because our math brains have melted.

Non-Asian minorities scores are NOT improving in Seattle or in Bellevue. In the Clover Park School district their Black students got their lowest passing rate ever on Math grade 10 WASL = 18% (same as for Blacks in Bellevue for 2007).
all of these districts were using k-8 materials that are the most aligned with the WASL according to OSPI's most aligned texts. Seattle had been moving closer and closer to Bellevue and Clover Park's TERC/Investigations and Connected Math. The non-Asian minorities in the districts have seen a decade of widening math achievement GAP. In 2007 in Seattle it was 51% passing difference and in Bellevue 55% as whites passed at 73% and Blacks at 18%.

These UW CoE expensive glossy brochures, published annually for the last 5 years, are extravagant Marketing Fluff -
The research that really matter is ignored as it is apparently too painful to look at.

Certainly nothing is being done to correct a situation that is not even publicly recognized.

The results confirm that Washington's last decade of math has been a disaster as no one looks at the actual data.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. -- W. Edwards Deming

Now you know why we do not improve.
We have new strategies - they just do not work - good luck with that changing 21st century classroom. Remember by the UW proclamation it will be 101% non-Asian Minority in Seattle in 2018.

dan dempsey said...

Correction - In the comment above the Bellevue School District Black 10th grade students got their lowest Math WASL pass rate ever in 2007.

The Clover Park score was not their lowest ever.

Anonymous said...

Choosing to malign teachers and poverty when the best research suggests it is poor curriculum is regrettable. If the UW ed department chooses to defend racism, at the expense of learning then let them. They've lost all credibility.

Let another university do an independent evaluation of the WASL test results. Lets be sure they include all of the students who did or did not take the test. And not just the students who finished their first year at university.

When SPS loses all its Federal funding then bananas will really hit the fan - Bergerson better like cake, because she'll have to eat a lot of it.

Anonymous said...

OSPI can't account for all their students - which implies the actual numbers who are dropping out is understated. Greene estimates 67%. The UW study cross checked WASL scores with university attendance records. Their correlation was slightly above .50. The SAT score validation is much higher .88. It looks very much like the validation study Briars and Resnick did for Everyday Math when it was implemented in Pittsburgh. They used the results from the New Standards Assessment to validate EM and they used the highest achieving students. No one was happy about that either.

The studies are self-fulfilling - students usually know if they're prepared for university and their parents level of education helps reinforce that belief.

As a parent I would believe the SAT was a better tool for assessing what students know and their research proves I'm right.

The real question is whether the WASL can be used as a tool for predicting high school graduates, not for enrolling university students.

UW ed dept did not answer the question and even their result was not conclusive. They looked at the highest achieving students, less than 1% of the graduating population.

Anonymous said...

Its only a hunch, but fits a pattern. .50 is an arbitrary standard for a strong correlation. Not great, but just enough to convince people. What did they do next? They stripped out student records until they got .55

Its okay to be inconclusive, you only need to show evidence that requires more investigation. (spoken like a true reformer)

What does the WASL data get used for? For one, underperforming schools that can't show growth in their academic programs will be shut down. You can thank the UW ed department and Dr. Bergerson for making all that happen.

By the way, who's paying for math textbooks if SPS doesn't have the money allocated to buy them.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa said...
..(But, she also said kids have to pass their state test at each grade level to move on. That's not much pressure for a 3rd grader.)

If the SPS retained anyone they would need a process for doing so(D44.00). In regard to the third grader, it would need to be shown that this child had not attained the required necessary skills for the third grade level and that interventions which are usually effective had been tried and not been successful.

That means the district would have to define grade level necessary skills (not currently done), monitor the child's progress at meeting these skills, and then offer interventions based on the results of the skills analysis if needed.

Oh my that sounds like a lot of work for the SPS. The board has not required this in the last decade+.

Promote the kid. It would be bad for the self-esteem if retention occurred.

As if there is no self-esteem problem entering 9th grade without the necessary skills to do ninth grade work, or spending your life poorly employed because of your defective skill level.

This failure to follow policy is directly responsible for many high school drop outs.

Yes lets raise the bar some more, because the people believe that the students will rise to the level of expectation.

Sorry no data supporting this without accompanying student support to meet the higher expectation.

Look at Washington State WASL - crappy math curricula did not help kids to rise to increased expectation. In fact at the collegiate entrance level we are getting worse despite raising the supposed bar.

In reading OSPI just made the test easier over the decade to allow more students to pass.

I guess that is raising the bar and then lowering it, while telling the public NO NO trust me the bar is still just as high.

Consider the following there was a time when the text pretty much was the curriculum and schools selected what they believed to be the best text and teachers taught from it.

Now we determine what we would like the students to know - write standards for that - purchase somewhat aligned textbooks - and expect the teacher to create curriculum materials to fill in the gaps. Surprise that plan did not work very well.

So in math Ms. Santorno has decided to go back to the old idea with "Fidelity of Implementation" she has forced defective textbooks on our kids. This will not work effectively either. Why not select something that is proven to be effective with your student demographics? USA, USA, USA, last of the English speaking nations tested in the world in math and getting worse and apparently proud of it and wanting more of the same in Seattle.

As Louis Gerstner, then president of IBM said: "If the public schools were based on delivering product they would have been out of business long ago."

It is not the "Teachers" it is the decision making model, that is incredibly defective. Vouchers and Charters are not the key to solving this mess - the solution lies in effective leadership. In any system the maximum amount of deficiency related to defective personnel is 15% - it is the system in place that is responsible for the 85%+ of the problems.

We know how to educate kids effectively - we just prefer not to do so. --- The results of Project Follow Through confirm this fact.

People laugh and ridicule Holocaust deniers.

The UW College of Education are Project Follow Through deniers and have brought us decades of below adequate k-12 student performance instead.
Their low public credibility locally is a direct result of the refusal to accept the results of Project Follow Through.

If you examine the "Interesting Reading from the UW College of Education" look for data to support their philosophy. ..ummm maybe not a research university after all in some respects.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. To deny the results of the largest study in education history is not an intelligent application of relevant data.

We are accumulating great data on what does not work at the moment, but we are unable to intelligently apply that either.

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