Thursday, December 10, 2009

PSAT Results

No, of course I don't have them. But finally attacking some backlogged e-mail, I wanted to update you on the PSAT results from last year.

As you may recall, Boeing generously funded the district so that all the 9th, 10th and 11th graders could take the PSAT. This was about rigor we were told and to show the kids what they would need to do to get to college. The parents received their individual child's score but oddly, no data came out for the district, each school, grade level, etc.

I first got the answer that there was no time or staff available for this work. Then I received this reply:

"In response to your request below, as I mentioned before, the data is not in a format that can be incorporated into our database, so at this time I am unable to provide you with the statistical results you have requested without compromising student confidentiality."

So I called the College Board (who gives the PSAT) and the woman there said she couldn't understand that answer because they give the data out just so districts can do statistical analysis. So I have to surmise that the "database" (could it be the VAX is the culprit?) is the problem. Otherwise, why is this a state secret?

Oh well, because the guy I spoke to at Boeing says Boeing is to receive a report by December 31st with the results.


ArchStanton said...

It's time to move into the 21st century, folks. The VAX needs to be shut down and recycled into something useful. I very cynically suspect that the VAX isn't really being used for anything anymore, but it does serve to provide a convenient excuse for not providing any data that they would prefer to keep from public scrutiny. It's time to remove that crutch.

StepJ said...

You only need Excel to load up any type of massive file where the values are separated by commas, tabs, or pretty much anything else.

You would then have your standard Excel spreadsheet where you can very easily eliminate columns that contain personal data.

This cannot be blamed on the VAX.

Central Mom said...

This isn't on topic, except that it falls into the "work needs to be done to improve dramatically" as well as "where is the money going" categories:

Phyllis Fletcher just had a fabulous piece on KUOW about the funding and achievement issues at Indian Heritage High School, one of the re-entry District programs. It's a "must listen/read".


uxolo said...

Thank you, Melissa, for continuing to hunt down these data.

dan dempsey said...

Great Job Melissa!!!

Birddog these dudes.

The Student Assignment Plan is based on the idea that every school can be a quality school. Given the widening achievement gaps produced by Everyday Math and the failure of the SE Initiative to improve much of anything, where is the data to believe that every school can become a quality school under the current administration?

The PSAT results if they ever surface will likely confirm how far away some high schools are from being quality schools.

When does this district plan on providing the "effective interventions" specified in the promotion/ non-promotion policies?

I agree with StepJ ...
The district is just hiding the results. Perhaps they will release them Christmas day and hope no one is looking.

another mom said...

Melissa, are these the results from last year or this year? In any case, had the outcomes been favorable,there would have been a press release by now.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm talking about last year's. I'm not sure but I thought this year it was only the 10th/11th graders. Anyone?

Maureen said...

Yes only 10th and 11th took the PSAT this year. Does anyone know if last year's info was used to identify students for higher level course work at all?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I never heard anything about using the data at Roosevelt. They claim they never got it. I suspect the district has the data but, for whatever reason, don't want to release it.

Dorothy Neville said...

Remember, last year at Roosevelt, they didn't even share the information with kids until during/after the week where registration for next year's classes occurred. There was no attempt AFAIK to use PSAT results to plan future course schedules.

I do wonder what Boeing was told it would be used for and what sort of data they will get. Why would they provide the grant? I don't see a grantor really wanting to see the scores, I would think they would want assurance that scores would be used for some educational benefit.

another mom said...

The class of 2000 at GHS had 30 National Merit Semi finalists. The class of 2010 has 17. This year year SPS had semi finalists from Roosevelt, Ballard, and Hale. In 2000 Ingraham and Franklin along with all three schools just mentioned had semifinalists. It is also interesting to note that in a ten year period the number of semifinalists in Bellvue School District is on an upward trajectory. This year Three high schools in Bellevue produced more National Merit Semifinalists than 10 high schools in Seattle.

hschinske said...

another mom, I assume you're referring to the year the Seattle Times said this: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19990916&slug=2983232

"Thirty students at Seattle's Garfield High are among this year's semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition, the first and most important stage of a process that will end next spring with scholarships for many of the students honored.

"Garfield's number was best in the state. The private Lakeside High School in Seattle closely followed with 28. The two schools regularly trade position: Last year, Lakeside had 28 semifinalists to Garfield's 15; the year before, Garfield had 25 and Lakeside 15."

So the numbers at Garfield regularly fluctuate, and regularly go below 20. I haven't looked up all the figures, but there was at least one year, class of 2002 I think, not long after this where Garfield had 18 semifinalists.

Similarly, at schools that average a couple of NM semifinalists a year (as I believe Ingraham does), the actual number each year may be zero or four or whatever. There's really nothing to conclude from a particular year being zero (or if there is, the Bush School is one of those in trouble).

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

Spent some time poking around the Collegeboard.com site and found the following doc that provides a lot of info about the release of information. District data is regarded as highly confidential and subject to agreement terms put forth in the license issued when the data is released.


From the doc:

"In order to protect the
confidentiality of institutions and districts, institution-/district-level data (information that would allow the user to identify a particular institution/district, which could be used to construct a particular school district) are never released, with the sole
exception of direct requests from the institutions/districts to which these data pertain (i.e.,
State Departments of Education). See Section 3: Guidelines for Institution-/District-Level Data
for further information on the release of institution-/district-level data."

"The College Board will not release such data to anyone other than the institution or district to which the data pertain except on the basis of a license agreement with an applicant the College Board determines to be qualified"

"The decision of whether to release such data will be made based strictly upon these guidelines, and any data that are released by the College Board to any qualified applicant remain the property of the College Board, and may not be used for any purpose other than that specified in the license agreement between those who request data and the College Board."

While I do beleive you have gotten the run around, I think it may be due to the fact that the district cannot release the data not because of the format of the data.

hschinske said...

That may be true, but the district regularly releases College Board data in the form of average SAT scores for various high schools. I have a VERY hard time believing that the PSAT data is any harder to release. In any case, Melissa was told specifically that it was a format problem, wasn't she? not a permissions problem?

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

I think the URL SPSmom provided may have gotten truncated; this seems to be the right one: http://tinyurl.com/y9uzdqh

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

Helen it is both. The response in my thread says it is in a format that they cannot change and they would need to change it in order to protect student names. I do find that hard to believe because it would really disadvantage the College Board.

So either it's the VAX (or some other technical issues) or it's that the district doesn't want to release the info.

I'm still going to call up my Boeing contact and ask him for the report the district is sending him.

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Dorothy Neville said...

Initial school wide mean scores will be available very soon.

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