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Thursday, September 16, 2010

APP Thread

Discussion of APP has started to take over a couple of threads, so I decided to give it a thread of its own since APP is not of general interest.

Items for discussion:

1) Did the District draw the Garfield attendance area the right size - once they have disbursed high school APP. The overcrowding until then will drive the political support they need to disburse the program, as will their "academic assurances" that every high school will have some minimum set of AP or IB classes.

--by the way, has anyone seen any document that provides a definitive list of these academic assurances?--

2) Does the promised APP curriculum exist and has it been implemented? When the District split elementary and middle school APP, they promised to implement an aligned, written, taught and tested curriculum for APP concurrent with the split. They were supposed to have this curriculum up and running a year ago. They did not. Do they have it now?

3) How is the elementary split working out? Have relations between the co-located programs at Thurgood Marshall settled into a positive merger? Have there been benefits for each of the communities? To what extent have the schools each formed a single community across programs and to what extent are the schools divided? How are the two locations similar and different? Lowell is a much bigger program, isn't it? Are there a lot of split grade classes at each school? Do the teachers get time to collaborate between the two schools?

4) How is the middle school split working out? Can students get the classes they want? Do the APP teachers get time to collaborate with those at the other school?

5) The annual Program Placement process will soon begin again. Are north-end APP families interested in seeing the north-end elementary program moved north of the Ship Canal? (Joke: How do you get from Ballard to Capitol Hill? You don't.) Are there some locations that would be preferred and some that would be unacceptable? How about McDonald? How about John Marshall? How about Wilson-Pacific? How about Lincoln? Are there other locations that should be considered?

I suspect there may be other APP issues, but these will do for now.

68 comments:

dan dempsey said...

From (1)
any document that provides a definitive list of these academic assurances?

Even if they had a list it would mean nothing.

Just look at:
(a) Southeast Education Initiative
(b) Everyday Math Adoption
(c) Discovering Math adoption
(d) k-4 educational progress

Lists and promises galore
with substandard results and no improvement over time as the programs run.

Transportation savings will make every school a quality school - quick make some lists so it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about the class reorganization at Lowell?

Yesterday, with no advance notice to parents, the 1/2 split and 2/3 split classes were reconfigured into all 1st and all 2nd grade classes. The third graders in the 2/3 split apparently were distributed to the other 3rd grade classes.

Anonymous said...

At Hamilton, there is not advanced math for 8th graders past Geometry. For the 7th graders that took geometry last year, this year they are 'TAs' in Mr Pounder's geometry class. I thought that we were promised appropriate classes during the split.

"Zippo"
(still need to create google acct, sorry)

lendlees said...

Anon-

The Lowell no-show kids were taken off of the record as of this week, allowing the classes to be single grade instead of split. Yes, a shuffle in the beginning of the year, but better in the long for the classes/teachers, especially as one of the split teachers was new. (don't get me started on the district's lack of planning so that the school was scrambling the week before school started to hire teachers)

Maureen said...

Zippo, will the 'TAs' actually be taught Algebra 2 by Mr Pounder? I talked with an Eckstein parent who said that last year four 8th graders made it through PreCalc because one of the teachers was willing to work with them. I'm not sure what class they got credit for. (Does anyone out there know?)

Anonymous said...

Maureen, I actually don't know, my son is in the Geometry class that the TAs are in and told me that they are supposed to be 'helping' in the class. It is totally possible they are doing Algebra 2 on the side, I didn't think of that. I'll ask him.

*Zippo*

Lori said...

Anon, letters went home on Tuesday to families who would be affected by the classroom changes at Lowell (that is, those being re-assigned). Changes were then made on Wednesday.

Was your child affected but you did not get the letter?

Ideally, the letter should have gone to all 1-3 families or been posted on the Lowell link, but it sounds like it was targeted just to children who were being moved.

Greg said...

Our child was affected and we did not get a letter on Tuesday. First we heard of it was from our child on Wednesday evening.

Jet City mom said...

Don't have a child in the district anymore- but am I right to assume that students who are in the APP program @ Washington are given assignment to Garfield as they had in the past?

If so, it obviously is not restricted to the map- but on the APP placement.

RB1986 said...

I just read in the Advanced Learning info packet that new this year to be eligible for APP/Spectrum/ALO cognitive testing you have to score above 85% on the MAP test

zb said...

emeraldkity -- I think it's being proposed that over-crowding Garfield is a precursor to dispersing the high school "APP" preference (i.e. removing preferential access to Garfield for those enrolled in APP at the middle school level).

I would want a North APP program to be located at Jane Addams, and to have it be a K-8. The flaw in that is that it's too far north, but I think that the more central University/Wallingford locations are so traffic-inconvenient, that even if they are physically closer, that they're not temporally closer for most people in North. But, I don't know what the Ballard commutes are.

I also think having a North APP might beef up the program at Ingraham,

which then gets me to the fact that I'd like it if the APP-access to Garfield was disrupted, and those children then were re-distributed to Ingraham/Sealth (IB programs), Roosevelt, Garfield and Cleveland's STEM program. I can see it happening over time.

And, to make it more personal, I have APP eligible kids who aren't in APP, and thus, won't have the APP access to Garfield. The current system is driving them to private high schools, 'cause they're unlikely to have an active representation of their peer group anywhere but Garfield (to which they won't have access).

Charlie Mas said...

Here is a link to the updated eligibility criteria.

Jet City mom said...

I think it's being proposed that over-crowding Garfield is a precursor to dispersing the high school "APP" preference (i.e. removing preferential access to Garfield for those enrolled in APP at the middle school level).

So they did it on purpose? Frankly I wouldn't doubt it.
So its ok to throw the students under the bus if it gets the district what they want in the long run.
Yes I know I am cynical, but I have had kids in Seattle since 1983.

gavroche said...

Charlie -- I wish you hadn't started with this premise:

1) Did the District draw the Garfield attendance area the right size - once they have disbursed high school APP.

"the right size?

"once they have"?

Here's another way of phrasing it: Did the District purposely draw the Garfield attendance area the wrong size, causing this overcrowded mess?

Is this its passive-aggressive way to split APP at the high school level or push it out entirely?

Is this yet another example of the District using APP to bolster under-enrolled schools and then splitting and moving these APP kids around like "a moveable feast" as Melissa calls it?

If so, shouldn't someone call them on this practice and demand that it stop?

And should the APP program and community accept this without a fight?

Or is the overcrowding at Garfield simply poor planning, lack of foresight and geographical ignorance on the District's part -- as displayed in numerous overcrowded schools throughout the District under the new Student Assignment Plan?

I don't think it's wise to legitimize the unconscionable things the District does to our kids (and I mean ALL our kids, not just APP) by discussing them as if they are faits accomplis or giving the District ideas on how to go ahead with these bad ideas.

Charlie Mas said...

zb, please write up this recommendation for program placement and submit it in accordance with the Program Placement Process.

Patricia said...

Lowell isn't the only school that began without full compliment of teachers. Does anyone know what is going on?

TechyMom said...

The appeals page says
"Private assessments are not accepted as the basis of initial eligibility -- all students MUST participate in the district testing cycle."

So, does that mean that if the district didn't give your child the CogAt because his or her MAP scores were too low (or missing) that you can't do an appeal?

The text hasn't changed from last year, so maybe this is just an oversight, but, wow, that would be a big deal if it were true.

Lori said...

I read it to mean that all children with MAP scores above 85% will be recommended for CogAt testing without having to be nominated first.

It still appears that a child can be nominated as in the past, regardless of MAP scores.

Best I can tell from reading that document, the only thing that is changing is that some children will be automatically recommended for the district's testing now. That's probably a good thing because it might identify children who could benefit from advanced learning opportunities but wouldn't have been nominated given how early in the year nominations are required.

Patrick said...

My kid won't be APP eligible. So as a neutral observer, I hope they don't split the APP high school cohort, or disperse them to their area high schools. It's rare enough to find something that's working well, we don't need to mess it up when it happens. There's a critical number of kids for the full complement of all the AP classes, dividing those kids in two would make it uneconomic to offer the classes. These kids often have trouble socially and splitting them up from friends they have made from K-8 would just be cruel.

Zb, I'm not sure why Jane Addams would be a better home for the K-8 north part of APP than Lowell. Is the Lowell building overcrowded? It seems like it's just problems getting new teachers hired in a timely way, which a different building isn't going to solve.

Jet City mom said...

Often schools don't start with full complement of teachers- I agree. Its been a while since I was on the PTA/BLT, but it seems that waiting until i-728 money kicks in ( In October?) was typical, to be able to finish hiring.

Don't know if this is what other districts do, because it makes for instability in the hiring pool, as teachers are going to want to be working by Sept., not October.

My daughters senior year at Garfield, she did not have 6 courses, because her GTA class was canceled midterm by the district & the courses that were open were not appropriate.
( while her sister in private school had 7)
I worry about the kids whose parents can't hangout in the counseling center to get all the classes- which logistically will be most of them.

( For the record- I want to give my $.02 about students getting a TA slot instead of an appropriate class- from one POV it is an " easy" A for the student and a help for the teacher, but it could be so much more )

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams won't work as a northend APP location. It has about 500 students this year and most of the elementaries in NE Seattle and Eckstein are overcrowded. 60 families chose Jane Addams for their Kindergarteners this year.

A NE parent

Charlie Mas said...

Patrick, one big reason that Jane Addams would be a better location for north-end elementary APP than Lowell is the location of Jane Addams in the north-end. Lowell is south of the Ship Canal.

The District Policy on Program Placement, C56.00 says that the District should:

1. Place programs in support of district-wide academic goals,

2. Place programs equitably across the district,

3. Place programs where students reside,

4. Consider input from stakeholders in the decision making process,

5. Utilize physical space effectively to assure that space needs are met across the district,

6. Ensure that fiscal resources are taken into consideration, and

7. Fully analyze the impact of any decision before it is made, by using data, research and best practice.


Having the program at Lowell violates guidelines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Those could be rectified by placing the program in the north-end.

RB1986 said...

Lori, The Info Packet says this "Applicants in grades K-7 will be screened using Fall 2010 MAP data. Only those students with both reading and math achievement scores at the 85th percentile or higher will be scheduled for the cognitive testing" To me that says you have to apply, you have to score 85% on the MAP, and then you can take the cognitive test

badincentives said...

It's rare enough to find something that's working well, we don't need to mess it up when it happens.

The problem is that the superintendent is not rewarded for schools that are doing exceptionally well. She is rewarded for not having schools that are performing poorly.

This creates a strong incentive try to make everything average by shuffling students from high performing programs to low performing programs, even if it damages successful programs.

Lori said...

Yes, but above that, RB, it says:

How can I nominate a child for Advanced Learning testing?
• Fill out a Parent/Guardian Permission Form and return by October 14, 2010.
• Give the Teacher/Educator Input Form to your teacher to return separately.
• Teachers or community members who wish to nominate a student for testing should give a Parent/ Guardian form to the parent or guardian of the student and also request and/or submit a Teacher/Educator Input form.


Perhaps they need to clarify because it looks to me like the only thing this is new is using MAP to screen children who may not otherwise be nominated. If two different people reading the same document come to vastly different conclusions, then obviously they need to address the issue.

hschinske said...

I think that the more central University/Wallingford locations are so traffic-inconvenient, that even if they are physically closer, that they're not temporally closer for most people in North. But, I don't know what the Ballard commutes are.

Lincoln's very easy to get to from Ballard, and it's right near the 44. Driving, it's maybe 15 minutes in moderate traffic. I will admit that parking's a hassle. John Marshall is a little trickier but not bad.

Ingraham is a major pain to get to on the bus from Ballard, and takes a while even by car (though MapQuest claims 15 minutes from my house, compared to Lincoln's 11). Jane Addams is even further.

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

"The problem is that the superintendent is not rewarded for schools that are doing exceptionally well. She is rewarded for not having schools that are performing poorly."

Nail on head and look at what has been done to date:
Move 1/2 APP students to a low performing school.
Close CHS, reopen as STEM


Makes sense that the next step is to split 9-12 APP students placing them in schools that could use a boost.

Until we have leadership that treats our students as children, not widgets on a chess board we will continue to see our children forced into disruptive situations, all in the name of "change."


And about the new district tag line, "Change is hard." It's getting really old.

Bird said...

I read it to mean that all children with MAP scores above 85% will be recommended for CogAt testing without having to be nominated first.

I didn't read it that way at all. I think the text means this is a barrier not opening.

It does need to be re-written, but in the meantime, parents should be sure to request the nomination forms if they want to be tested and not wait for the district to invite them to test. I don't think such an invitation will be forthcoming even for kids testing high on the MAP

wseadawg said...

Change is Hard? What would SPS or the Board know about it? They either a) aren't affected, or b) have kids already safely secured in the schools they want, or c) no longer have kids in the system.

That means the "change is hard" phrase is 100% hypocritical BS from clueless people devoid of empathy or concern.

But yes "change is hard" particularly when its unnecessary, ill-conceived, ulteriorly motivated and sadistically implemented.

MomOf2 said...

My daughter went from APP at Hamilton to Ballard this year and it has been a fabulous and rewarding experience. Ballard is very welcoming, generally. For her academics, my daughter requested Chemistry (with her explanation that she'd taken Biology at HIMS) and Algebra 2, and was granted the classes, no snobbery and no additional questions asked. It's a good neighborhood environment for an APP qualified student. There is no "honors" language arts in 9th grade at Ballard, but there is a track within 9th grade LA that enables students to challenge themselves. My daughter got 100% of the classes she requested, which is not happening for her friends at Garfield.
I wish more families had the confidence to select their neighborhood schools - you get the best of both worlds.

Magua said...

I will focus on #2 (curriculum) since that hasn't been covered as much in these comments.

a) At a Marshall PTA meeting last spring, Bob Vaughn stated that the promised curriculum document had been completed, and was effectively old news.

b) To my knowledge, the promised APP curriculum alignment document has never been circulated in the APP community. I've never seen it, I don't know anyone who has, and it doesn't appear to be posted on the SPS site.

This raises a couple of questions:

1) In what sense is the promised curriculum document complete: in Dr. Vaughn's mind, locked in his desk drawer, circulating internally among myriad directors at the Stanford Center, or publicly released to the APP community?

2) If anything other than the latter, when should the public expect the document to be released for comment, and in its final form?

3) Who is accountable for getting this done? If Dr. Vaughn isn't holding himself to the standards of his job performance, surely someone overseeing him should be?

I know Dr. Vaughn has some supporters among this site's readers due to past services rendered to APP. I wasn't exposed to him until the '08 closure cycle. From that point I have been profoundly UNimpressed with his performance across the board -- responsiveness, output, advocacy, speaking ability, etc. He strikes me as a guy marking time and waiting for his pension than any sort of leader.

I do know that the inability to release a freaking white paper over a period of years despite repeated promises, then saying it was done ages ago does nothing to boost confidence in SPS execution. It's past the point of even caring about the content of the document at this point and more about the inability to produce ANYTHING, even a poor quality draft.

But maybe I'm wrong: he's been hard at work all this time, the district has been engaged in a lively and groundbreaking review process, and that the final product will blow us all away. If that's the case I will apologize and hail Dr. Vaughn as the Brian Wilson of SPS and the APP curriculum document as his Smile. I'll look forward to that.

Patrick said...

Charlie, doesn't Lowell draw APP students from central Seattle as well as from the north end? Do you know what percentage of Lowell students are from north of the ship canal? (I suppose ideally we'd also know what percentage are APP-qualified but chose not to go.)

JA has pretty good Metro bus access, but I'm not sure that matters when K-8 students get yellow bus service instead of Metro passes.

JA grew by 100 students this year. There are 60 students in kindergarten. If they move up as expected for all nine grades, that's 540 students in the building. Plus more because JA gets extra 6th-8th graders, when their families see how crowded Eckstein is. How big should JA be? I'd like to see how much JA grows organically. It would be a shame to have to move APP again because there's not enough room.

If it's working at Lowell, I don't see why it shouldn't stay there. The families who are there have figured out some way to deal with it, and moving it unnecessarily might hurt more than it would help.

TechyMom said...

There was a draft of the APP curriculum shown to parents at meeting at Lowell last spring. It seemed to my untrained eyes to be fairly complete (similar to what's in the EARLs and the published curriculum of a private school we looked at). But, it was presented as a draft. I don't think it has been published, and I'm not sure anyone ever promised to publish it. Of course I think they should, but I don't know if that was actually what they planned to do.

Jan said...

badincentives said:

The problem is that the superintendent is not rewarded for schools that are doing exceptionally well. She is rewarded for not having schools that are performing poorly.

I disagree. She is rewarded regardless of how schools do. Has RBHS improved? No. Has Aki? No (or not much). Has ANY group of children improved their academic performance under her tenure? No. And they extended her contract anyway -- lauding her work on the SAP (and sssshhhh about the Southeast Initiative).

Jan said...

Momof2:

Here is what I think. I think MANY (but not all) APP kids would do ok transferring to their neighborhood school -- if that school was like Ballard, or RHS. I would maybe include Sealth and Ingraham because of IB, but I have heard a lot of worry from parents about access to accelerated and rigorous curriculum before IB kicks in -- and I don't know the answer (but that is why they are not included with Ballard/RHS.

But -- my impression is that Ballard and RHS are also overenrolled this fall -- so we are not really helping enrollment much by moving APP kids to those schools. They both already have reasonable test scores, so the needle there won't move much. What about the APP kids who would be assigned to RBHS?

As Charlie says -- she can't "pull" kids to schools (too much hard work for her, evidently, to make them attractive) -- so she will just try to "push" them there. It is a failed management policy and is, in my opinion, immoral -- not just for the APP kids, but for ALL kids now stuck, by assignment, in an attendance school that the District knows fricking well NONE of them want to attend. (Sorry Momof2 -- my irritation is not directed at you, but at District management (including the Board that has let her get away with this).

During all the clamor (actually, I didn't hear much clamor, but I am not a proponent of assignment to neighborhood schools, so maybe I ignored what I didn't like to hear) at any rate, during all the clamor, I never heard one, not ONE, RBHS parent clamoring for mandatory assignment to RBHS. (I did hear a few call for other people to be forced to go their -- but in my opinion, that is not the same).

ParentofThree said...

What was the projected enrollment for RBHS this fall with the new assignment plan? How many actually showed up?

seattle said...

"How big should JA be? "

The Jane Addams building holds almost 1000 students, so it should accommodate 1000 kids, especially since it is located in the most over crowded area in the district. If JA can grow to accommodate 1000 kids (or very close to that) organically, as a K-8, that's great. But if they can't then it seems perfectly reasonable to expect that they share their building or co-house with another "program" in order to fill the building. It certainly isn't good to have the other NE schools filled way past their functional capacity, while JA has 500 seats to spare.

Stu said...

I wish more families had the confidence to select their neighborhood schools

Although we're within the walk zone of Roosevelt High School, our assignment school is Nathan Hale. We would give up our Garfield spot for Roosevelt but, since there's no guarantee and we can't hold one spot while applying for another, we have no choice but to throw him on the bus. Our son is heavily involved with the arts, especially string orchestra; Nathan Hale does not offer the programs that he needs.

stu

seattle said...

Nathan Hale does have a string orchestra this year. And my guess is with the new student assignment plan, and the Eckstein kids feeding into Hale, the orchestra at Hale will grow and thrive.

Charlie Mas said...

I wasn't arguing so much for the selection of Jane Addams as the north-end elementary APP site - that was someone else's idea. My preference would be for McDonald, John Marshall, or Wilson-Pacific.

The main point is that the program for the north-end students should be in the north-end.

The only students from central Seattle who are enrolled in APP at Lowell are those who live within the Lowell walk-zone. The vast majority of the APP students at Lowell live in the north-end. When the Board approved the amendment that allowed Lowell walk zone students to enroll at Lowell, they mistakenly believed (because the staff misinformed them) that there were only two such students. There are, in fact, dozens.

SE Mom said...

As of this school year there is almost no cohort of 9th graders taking advanced classes at Franklin or Chief Sealth. My kid would have started with Algebra II
and skipped 9th grade science but we were told by both schools that she would nned to be in math and science classes with older kids.

That might be a good experiemce for some kids, but not ours. Having a same grade academic cohort is important.

So, we are in private school for high school as of this year. I have to say, it was delightful being able to register for academically appropriate classes without any push back or stress.

Charlie Mas said...

ParentofThree asked about the projected enrollment for RBHS.

There never really was any projected enrollment for any school. There were some pro forma numbers drafted to estimate the number of students from each attendance area who were likely to choose an option school or be assigned to a service school or leave for Spectrum or APP. Those numbers were used to help determine the appropriate size of the attendance areas, but I wouldn't regard them as "enrollment estimates".

Patrick said...

Rabbit, the District's functional capacity analysis for Summit as of Jan. 2008 said Summit's capacity was 768.

seattle said...

Thanks for the update Patrick. The functional capacity number is apparently fluid. The district listed it as 989 at one point, then 860, and now it's 768. But even at 768, that still leaves 300 +/- seats vacant in a part of the city where all other schools are severely over crowded. Do you think JA will be able to fill the 300 seats? The school isn't adding grades each year, it's already a K-8?? If JA doesn't fill doesn't a co-housing situation seem reasonable?

Dorothy Neville said...

"There never really was any projected enrollment for any school."

Charlie, that's not completely accurate. Schools were given enrollment estimates in the Spring to guide budget planning. That's why RHS had to RIF a couple teachers and now they are scrambling to hire some. Surely RBHS would have had some enrollment estimates to guide their budgeting last Spring as well, I would think.

Patrick said...

Rabbit, it isn't a big surprise that students already enrolled in another school wouldn't be eager to leave it in the middle. So JA is getting students primarily in K and 6th. We're already seeing a bubble, about 60 kids in each of K-2, then smaller grades 3-5.

Some are being added in other elementary grades, too, though -- in 4th grade this year there are 48 students, compared to about 23 last year. One family I talked to changed schools because they wanted to have siblings in the same school and they were out of their older child's assignment area. Now they're together until the older child goes to high school.

Once there are about 60 kids in each grade, that's 540 in the school. I expect there continue to be more middleschoolers who don't want to go to as huge a school as Eckstein. I'd guess another 50-60 each grade, which make make enrollment 700.

There's 463 in Lowell (Oct. 2009 adjusted count), so that program clearly wouldn't fit in JA even now.

wsnorth said...

"As of this school year there is almost no cohort of 9th graders taking advanced classes at Franklin or Chief Sealth."

I have to put a little plug in here for Chief Sealth. The 9th graders may not be taking truly advanced APP level courses, but there is a large cohort of intelligent, high achieving students in "honors" type classes. I think Cheif Sealth is a good model for making a once under-performing school attractive.

Jan said...

wsnorth: I know almost nothing about Sealth -- but from a distance, it seems like you are right. Somehow, a traditionally underselected school has been/is becoming attractive to families. I assume IB is part of that -- but if that is the case, why is it not working as well at Ingraham? Is Ingraham's problem simply that -- even with IB -- it is too close to the more popular Ballard and Roosevelt schools? So that even with the same formula, it can't gain as much traction? Enquiring minds would love to know.

Maureen said...

Dorothy is right. As of March of 2010, the SPS Budget Allocation projected that RBHS would enroll 561 students (231 of them as freshmen.)

wsnorth said...

RBHS: (231 of them as freshmen)

78 10th graders and 231 freshmen??

What, indeed, were they smoking when they did these projections! Yeah, we'll do NOTHING and our success rate will triple. Sure, that's the ticket.

Charlie Mas said...

There are a lot of reasons that Chief Sealth is doing well. Good leadership, a really wonderful culture that welcomes and celebrates all kinds of diversity, and a long-standing reputation as the academic high school in West Seattle.

My daughter started there this year coming out of APP at Washington and is enrolled in an honors section of all four core classes.

I'm sorry. I misunderstood the question about enrollment estimates. I thought it was for purposes of long-term enrollment planning, not current year.

There are a few reasons that Rainier Beach High School would have so many more freshmen than sophomores.

The District's expectation that families would accept the default assignment to Rainier Beach. We'll see how many actually did.

Transfers out. About 40 more students transferred OUT of RBHS last year than transferred in.

Drop out rate.

Any student who did not earn five credits in their first year is, strictly speaking, still a freshman. There were a lot of students at Rainier Beach who did not earn five credits in their first year, so although this year is their second year of high school they are still counted as freshmen.

Anonymous said...

In looking at the Determining Eligibility page within the Advanced Learning section on seattleschools.org (http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/
determiningeligibility.htm) it looks to me as if RB1986 is correct.

It appears students still need to be nominated for advanced learning testing via parent/guardian permission and a teacher/educator input form (as an aside, nice that K instructors have until November rather than the 10/14 deadline for other grades). Then if the student's Fall MAP scores are at or above the 85th percentile, the student is contacted and scheduled for the CogAT.

MAP scores seem to be an additional requirement to be able to get tested rather than a new means of being able to take the CogAT without prior nomination submissions.

Some schools do better than others in alerting their communities abut the 10/14 nomination form deadlines. It would have been nice for families who aren't made aware of the Oct.14 nomination deadline in time to have an additional opportunity to get their child placed in appropriately challenging programs as needed, be that Spectrum, ALO or APP, or a differentiation plan within their regular classroom.

Don

Lori said...

thanks, Don and others. I think you all are probably right that MAP scores are now a requirement for testing, not an additional way to help identify students. I ran into someone last nite who is looking into it for her child this year, and this is what she was told at her school: no testing without MAP scores above the threshold.

That's really a shame. I'd have no problem using MAP to ID students that might not otherwise be nominated, but I have a huge problem with making MAP scores an absolute requirement.

I also wonder if they've fixed the logistical issues. If you look at the parent and teacher nomination forms, there is nowhere to put the MAP scores. Last year during a principal coffee chat discussion about APP appeals, a group of parents were told that you have to request your child's MAP scores and send them to the AL office yourself because the AL office cannot access individual student scores.

So if there is nowhere on the nomination form to check off that the student meets the MAP threshold, and the AL office still can't access those scores themselves, a lot of time is going to be wasted cross-referencing and double-checking (and for an AL office that I'm told is already understaffed).

But maybe the AL office can now access those scores. Even so, wouldn't it have saved them time to require that the nominating teacher verify the MAP scores if that's now the requirement? I guess we'll see in the days ahead how this all pans out.

Anonymous said...

Lori, you're right on all counts. I think it would have been great if the MAP tests could have been an alternate form of identifying students who could benefit from extra challenges and potential program placement.

Right again that the forms this year appear to be the same ones that have been used in years prior, with no additional input areas for MAP scores. It's more disturbing to hear that AL couldn't access MAP scores last year--if they haven't solved that, you're right to point out that cross-referencing adds cost and potential for errors to an already overtaxed department.

One would hope they would have solved this prior to making the MAP tests a requirement for Advanced Learning testing, but I have been amazed at the short-sightedness and costs of mass mailings around the NSAP and split siblings, etc. last year, so my optimism is rather tempered.

Thanks for the insights around the MAP logistical issues. My impression from last year was that MAP tests were not intended to be "high-stakes" tests but rather more informational for individual students, but I am not convinced the information gleaned about our child was actually acted upon in a meaningful way.

Don

hschinske said...

Don't go on secondhand information from the school; they often get Advanced Learning policies wrong. Call the AL office.

What's the timeline for winter MAP testing? Could those scores be used for appeal?

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

Alright, now I have to go all nerdy, but I wonder if the district did an analysis of the sensitivity and specificity of using MAP scores as a screening tool for identifying advanced learners.

We have 1 year of data. How many children who qualified for Spectrum and/or APP last year under the "old" nomination system had scores at or above 85%? Would the new system have missed any of these children?

What about the converse? How many nominated children were not ultimately qualified as advanced learners? What percent of them had MAP scores below 85%?

Finally, how many children in the 85% were NOT nominated for testing last year? Will this new system increase access to testing?

If they have these data and they know that this new system will pick up children previously missed while not failing to identify those who would have been detected solely thru nomination, then maybe it's okay. But I'm guessing no one has thought it through or done this assessment.

Dorothy Neville said...

Look, this APP eligibility thing is another reason to go ballistic over the MAP test and push how it might be illegal from a FERPA standpoint. As a parent, you are supposed to be able to view your child's actual test, the actual answers. It is a federal law. But the MAP format does not conform to this.

Anyone who is denied a chance to test for HC programs could be an important test case here, because the parent is legally entitled to viewing the test that denied them the right to be eligible.

So, send in writing a FERPA request for details of your child's test, including the actual answers they gave. If they cannot or will not provide that for the MAP? Well, then, there you go. Big problem for NWEA, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Helen, re MAP Winter test dates, I got this off of http://www.seattleschools.org/area/mapassess/
2010_2011calendar.dxml:

Fall Testing Window:
September 20 - October 15, 2010

Secondary School Winter Testing Window*(with a *note that "K-8 Schools may begin testing middle school students during Dec 13 - 17"):
December 13, 2010 - January 21, 2011

Elementary Testing Winter Window:
January 3 - January 21, 2011

Spring Testing Window:
May 23 – June 14

Assuming parents press for results right away (which should be instantaneous as I understand it) the Winter MAP results could be used in an appeal process in terms of timing, as the appeals deadline is listed as 2/24/10 on http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/
appeal.htm.

Don

RB1986 said...

I don't know much about the MAP test other that it is given on a computer and adaptive based on the students previous answers. I wonder if the test could be culturally biased or more difficult for ESL students or more difficult for low income students who may not use computers as often and may not read as much over the summer. Perhaps it would be better to use Spring MAP scores instead of Fall MAP scores? Is this MAP pre-screening going to impact the diversity of APP/Spectrum?

Anonymous said...

Kids know their MAP scores right after they took the test: they are displayed on the computer screen. Ask your child to write them down so that you can check for the percentile:

http://www.bismarck.k12.nd.us/uploads/resources/7915/completenorms2008.pdf

This link contains tons of info including percentile tables for each grade. So you can see for your self whether your child has a chance.

"Nerd"

Anonymous said...

The MAP link was cut off:
http://www.bismarck.k12.nd.us/uploads/resources/7915/completenorms2008.pdf.


"Nerd*

hschinske said...

Dorothy, I don't think anyone was allowed to view the ITBS, either, and they certainly made placement decisions based on that. And the CogAT, of course, is necessarily confidential.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

Ah, Helen, you are right about the CoGat. But how was it that activist parents got to use FERPA to see WASL tests against protests from state? Still seems like something to pursue, but I am not well enough versed in the details.

Maureen said...

RB1986 makes an excellent point, poor kids lose ground over school breaks relative to other kids. That makes the timing of the K-5 winter tests problematic as well--the timing will probably create a larger achievement gap than if the tests were given before break. (Of course, then in future years the gap can be magically reduced by moving the date to December if it became necessary for PR purposes.)

Stu said...

Didn't the board only make a three year commitment to Jane Addams, in it's current incarnation?

Just a week or so after open enrollment, when a number of families made the jump to the K-8 program, the board said it was going to convert it to a middle school, didn't it? There was then an amendment to leave it alone for three years.

Or am I mixing up openings and closures?

stu

seattle said...

Has anyone given any consideration as to just how many N, NE, NW families do not even consider APP (even if their children would thrive in the program) because they do not want to deal with sending their kids across town, to another part of the city, and the commute that goes with that? Add to the commute, the inconvenience of out of neighborhood play dates, teacher meetings, volunteering at school, etc. If you haven't considered that, you might.

There is a strong possibility that APP would actually GROW if it split. Many more N/NE/NW families would CHOOSE it.

Moving APP to Hamilton was a great move. There was room in hte building to house the program, and now the north end has an APP option in the north end. It is a start! And, even though there were bumps, and it isn't perfect, I thank MGJ for taking the initiative and doing this.

hschinske said...

I like north-end APP being at Hamilton too -- it's much more convenient for me -- but I also note that several of my older children's best teachers moved to Hamilton, and one or two others have moved to other schools (e.g., Mr. Katz is now at RHS). I don't have a clear sense of how well it's going with the ones remaining at Washington (whom generally I don't know, it's not that I have heard anything at all bad about them).

Helen Schinske

joanna said...

I have been trying to see enrollment information so far for all schools presented by where students are attending school and programs at the school compared by the reference area where they live. I know at least the total enrollment for each school was on line for a bit, but alas the page was removed with a message that it is not the most current. I wish that had left it until they had more current enrollment info. If anyone knows how I can see some of this information I would much appreciate your advice.