One More to Add

Garfield is having a General PTSA meeting tonight and guess what the topic is:

The adverse impact the new enrollment plan has had on our building
is significant and compounding. Some of the issues include:

*Overcrowding (no authority to set capacity limits)
*Lack of teachers, counselors, security, maintenance, and administrative staff.
*Reduced choices for course of study for students
*Impact on school culture and success

Tonight. 7pm in the Commons just inside the main entrance).
District leaders who care want to hear your experience and concerns about this issue.

Special guests at tonight's PTSA General Meeting include:

SeattleSchool Board Director, Kay Smith-Blum
Executive Director of Schools, Nancy Coogan
Director of Planning and Enrollment, Tracy Libros


Greg said…
Anyone who was able to attend, could you summarize the meeting for the rest of us? Thanks!
Hélène said…
Wish I didn't have planning and grading left to do this evening and could attend. Overcrowding has really made the start of the year difficult for us teachers and I'm curious to know what others have to say about it and what some of the potential solutions are.
GreyWatch said…
Somewhat off topic, but an interesting article in rhw NYR on testing:

"Scientically Tested Tests"
wsnorth said…
Would love to hear what they have to say. When some of tried to explain this would happen they didn't seem too interested in listening.
dan dempsey said…
I am still interested in when Judge Laura Inveen is going to rule on the appeal of the School Board's NSAP boundary line approval brought by Glasscock and Ovalles. Coming within the next 10 days, I would guess.
G said…
I went to the Garfield meeting. Nancy Coogan, Executive Director of Schools, Central Region, spoke first. She is quite a dynamite, and is working to resolve any and every thing she can, but does not have the power to cap enrollment. She is at GHS daily.

Kay Smith-Blum spoke more forcefully. She said: She is sorry abut the overcrowding. She said the NSAP is a transition plan this year. The future for Garfield can include a cap on enrollment, other solutions. These are board decisions, governance decisions. Her colleagues on the School Board need to understand what a difficult situation this is at GHS and that it cannot be sustained. She strongly encouraged people to email both herself and all her fellow board members (emphasized) so they understand what is happening. She said if GHS needs extra teachers, extra classes for seniors to complete graduation requirements, whatever it is that needs to be addressed, she will spend the next 3 months working on GHS issues until resolved. She said "this will not happen again". "We are lucky to have Nancy Coogan right here". "I welcome every email".

KSB encouraged everyone to come to the Community Meeting she is hosting at Douglas Truth Library on Sat. Sept 25 from 10:00 to 11:30 Capacity issues at both Lowell and Garfield will be topics for discussion.
Eric M said…
Hey I just sent this to my son's middle school:

My son ________ _______ is in _____ grade at _________ School. I do not want him to be subjected to MAP testing this year.

It's against my religion, since it's useless, corrupt, age-inappropriate, and a waste of resources.

Please advise me on what I need to do to free him from the MAP test.
Eric M said…
Sorry about the off-thread about MAP testing. I was just feeling clever.

Anyway, I ALWAYS love it when the people who CAUSED the big screw-up PLEDGE to fix it.

My instinct is to hold them accountable and fire their sorry asse.
seattle said…
The more I hear about KSB, the more I like her! Funny, I didn't vote for her, she didn't feel genuine, and I didn't think she's have the time to be an effective board member. As it turns out I think she is one of the strongest members of the board. She's never afraid to speak up, does her research, and is knowledgeable. And in a genuine way.
Jet City mom said…
Anyone read the article in Garfield messenger about MAP testing? Since it doesn't affect their grade the kids are blowing it off, filling in the answers as fast as they can or any old thing.
Doesn't seem quite fair ( or cost effective) to use those results to determine teacher placement.

I really feel for the caring adults at Garfield, office staff, counselors and teachers ( and admin) and the students who are going to bear the repercussions of the over crowding for some time.

Interesting that my oldest is so happy in her masters in teaching program she began last month- working full time as a student teacher at an affiliated K-8 school, on top of her class hours. ( not in Wa)-
ParentofThree said…
I think KSB unintentionally helped put the final nail in the APP-cohort going to GHS coffin.

How else do you cap enrollment other than redrawing the boundries? And once all the GHS community starts emailing all the board members that will just serve to reinforce their decision.
Central Mom said…
Unless, Parent of Three, people insist that Garfield students don't pay even more of the price of poor planning around enrollment there. That means don't break up the APP cohort in the next few years in addition to everything else. If you are writing a letter, add that point. There is no need this year or next for even more upheaval at Garfield. The board will listen. Again, why should the school's rep, via an APP move, be even *more* impacted by policies from outside its walls (eg central admin).
ParentofThree said…
Yes, except that at the moment 8th grade APP students are not GHS students, they just have the expectation that they will become GHS students.

I think the best strategy is to give the board ideas for solutions rather than just critizing directors for poor planning, that is a given.

What is the solution?
Charlie Mas said…
The solution is to reduce the size of the Garfield attendance area. The southern boundary should be shifted north.

Then, to avoid shifting the problem to Franklin, move Franklin's southern boundary north as well.

This will enlarge the attendance area for Rainier Beach, but that doesn't appear to be a problem since Rainier Beach has plenty of room.

The obvious problem with this is that it is politically challenging because it will mean that the Board and the District will be telling fewer people that their children will be sure to go to Garfield and telling more people that their children will be expected to enroll at Rainier Beach at a time when Garfield is extremely popular and Rainier Beach is extremely UNpopular.

Fortunately the Board and the Superintendent don't seem to have any trouble giving people bad news about student assignments.
Jet City mom said…
I am interested to hear what Tracy had to say about overenrollment- and what supports the district is offering for Garfield for the teachers/students.

I also have a question about budgets- seems if the enrollment is increased- the budget should be increased- how do schools compare breaking costs down by enrollment?
anotherParent said…
Good luck with the "no Map" mail to the school Eric. I tried the same thing, only to find out that my student was given the MAP anyway.
h2o_girl said…
Charlie's idea makes total sense. Therefore, in this district, it doesn't seem likely to happen.
Central Mom said…
To Charlie's point, yes, the redrawing of the boundary is the most straight-forward solution.

Given the huge amount of data/movement for getting the NSAP rolled out this year, I think Tracy Libros' department did a reasonably good job. But, as would be expected w/ any 1st year plan, there are some glaring problems that need fixing by doing a boundary relook for next year. The changes should be announced NOW so that families have A FULL YEAR to digest the info and plan. We SHOULD NOT be talking about this at holiday time.

Garfield, as described by Charlie.

West Seattle, as PROMISED by Steve Sundquist when he completely punted on fixing the problems last year "for the good of the whole team" or somesuch quote that gave the folks over there no help. He promised to relook at it this year. So do it already.

JSIS in Wallingford...which means the greater look at all language immersion programs...turning them into option schools and managing the boundaries from that perspective.

Possibly Jane Addams. Don't have enough data, but I don't know that projections and reality are matching. Oh, and publicly assuring that the program won't be turned into a middle school in 2-3 years would help stabilize that program.

AS1's future and the greater promise from the District to support, not tear down, our alt schools. Which, of course, affects enrollment in those schools and the surrounding neighborhood schools.

anotherParent said…
As to Garfield overcrowding, maybe students in the "APP cohort" slated to go to Garfield, should have to demonstrate a top 1% - 2% performance on MAP by 8th grade. Afterall, it's likely that many of these students no longer really qualify for a special program. And unlike other special programs, they've never had to demonstrate continued need or qualification. We have a program that is supposed to be for a tiny percentage of students that has grown without limit. Now it's an entitlement to a popular high school. Rather than squeeze out other students or forcing them into RBHS, let's make sure we're really serving everyone according to needs. If MAP can be used for Spectrum, it should be good enough for APP too. You could even lower the bar to top 3% to 4%. You'd probably be able to fit the students who still qualify into the program at Garfield, and let current APP students below the highest threshold return to their neighborhood schools.
Okay, so I need a couple of comments explained.

"After all, it's likely that many of these students no longer really qualify for a special program."

And why is that "likely?" What do you base this on?

"And unlike other special programs, they've never had to demonstrate continued need or qualification."

This has been a rap against Advanced Learning although I know in the past in Spectrum, that students could be exited. I don't know if that's true for APP. I do know that if a teacher sees a student not working up to what is expected, they generally have a talk with parents about placement.

"We have a program that is supposed to be for a tiny percentage of students that has grown without limit."

That is completely untrue. APP tests for the highest level of performance therefore the number of students in that top tier is finite. It hasn't "grown"; the district has either done better is letting all parents know about the program and/or more of these students are being found, tested and entered into the program. You can't create more kids.

And no, you can't lower the bar because APP is based on following certain state/federal regulations.
Charlie Mas said…
The State's definition of Highly Capable is less restrictive that the eligibility requirements for APP. Nearly all Spectrum students also meet the state's minimum eligibility requirements - as do a lot of other students. The District uses more restrictive eligibility requirements and the law not only allows it, but encourages it.

Students in all programs should have not only entrance criteria but exit criteria as well. Some students are counseled out of APP and Spectrum every year. You don't hear about it because it doesn't happen a lot, it is done discretely and it is done through mutual agreement about what is best for the student.

While it is true that they don't have to pass some high stakes test every year (or even every few years), be assured. If there is a student who doesn't belong in APP, that student gets removed from the program.
anotherParent said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said…
anotherparent I posted basically the same thing a few years ago. I wonder if anyone will reply with the "Lake Woebegone" effect this time?!

Two percent of 46,000 kids means that there should be 283 kids in HS APP. There are about 400. (And I think they are supposed to be top 2% in multiple categories so (remember your Venn diagrams!) that would actually be fewer than 2% of the overall population.)

If identified APP kids are being appropriately exited over time, then the remaining ones won't have anything to worry about. They are taking tha MAP anyway, why not allow for the error bar and use the scores? Maybe some new kids will be identified (I had hopes for the year they had all 9th graders take the PSAT, but that didn't seem to go anywhere.)
Maureen said…
Melissa, re score variation, I know a girl whose math cog score dropped nine points in one year. Her previous scores would have placed her firmly in APP, but if you don't enroll you can't use your old scores. If you do enroll they are good forever. (I'm talking about cognitive scores, not subject matter scores--I can see why those could keep you out of the higher grades.)
Charlie Mas said…
The 2% figure for APP is 2% nationally, not locally. It's not all that strange that as many as 4% of the local students were - at some time - in the top 2% nationally.

Also, in real life, normal distributions have fat tails.
anotherParent said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said…
The 2% figure for APP is 2% nationally, not locally That's the Lake Woebegone effect!

It's not all that strange that as many as 4% of the local students were - at some time - in the top 2% nationally. This is more like it: Last time I posted about this, Helen gave a very clear explanation of this reason that made sense (but I can't find it now). An example of this is the girl I mentioned who was in the top 2% one year but not the next. I can understand this, but when I suggest retesting (or allowing Cog scores to stand for kids who don't enroll), APP parents have told me that Cog scores are stable and that no significant variation occurs over time - i.e., that 2% is 2% not 4%. But that kids who don't enroll do need to retest because....there isn't enough room for them, basically.

Sadly, the reason we have this discussion on a regular basis is that our kids do not currently all have equal access to an appropriate education.
Lori said…
I don't follow why it's hard to believe that the distribution of CogAt scores in Seattle differs from that reported nationally. Seattle is not necessarily a microcosm of the nation.

For example, a couple of years ago, it was reported that Seattle had the highest percent of college-educated adults of any American city and the second-highest rate of adults with advanced degrees. That alone tells us that Seattle *differs* from the average city in ways that are likely to affect student achievement locally.

Having 4% of SPS children eligible for a program that requires being in the top 2% of students nationally does not strike me as odd at all.
suep. said…
Another detail about APP & MAP: Advanced learners hit a ceiling in MAP. It is not a valid tool in assessing them past a certain point. (Arguably, it's not a valid tool in assessing anyone at all.)

SPS' MAP (& Broad) people, Brad Bernatek and Jessica DeBarros told a group of parents this fact earlier this year.

By the way, they also told us that MAP is not really appropriate for K-2 kids at all. For that reasons, some school districts don't use it for those grade levels.

Also, as mentioned in this blog in the past, it's bitterly ironic for anyone to talk about evicting APP from Garfield now that it is a popular and successful school. Back when the district placed IPP/APP in Garfield (15-20? years ago), it was neither.

The APP community brought the resources and critical mass needed to help Garfield become an attractive and rigorous school for all the kids who attend it.

As for your math, Maureen, the district has played with threshholds for APP eligibility in the past in a (laudable) effort to increase diversity in the program. That may account for some of the numbers. But Lori has a point also.

Another point -- kids who are taught two years ahead and who are able to keep up the pace though primary and middle school need a curriculum at high school that meets them at that level, otherwise they risk being given work they've already done. So to imply that APP kids somehow lose their capability by the time they get to high school and don't need the rigors of Garfield's curriculum anymore doesn't make sense.

The district screwed up in its management of Garfield's enrollment this year. Don't try to make the APP kids the 'fallguys' (for want of a better term!) for that.

-- sue p.

(WV says don't "flang" our kids out of Garfield now, too -- they've been flang out of enough schools already these two past years!)
Jan said…
G -- I was at Garfield's meeting last night as well. Great summary. I also stopped Kay Smith-Blum on the way out to thank her for her comments and her support, and she encouraged ANYONE who wanted to discuss Garfield related issues (overcrowding and the possible loss of science course diversity with Genetics and Marine Biology not fitting the District's alignment project being the two we touched on -- but I know APP (all three schools in her District -- Washington, Lowell, and GHS, etc. all up for conversation.) So, let's go and give her some ammunition. Alone, as one board member, she cannot change policy -- but she can start voicing concerns. (Please, let not ALL of Dan's targeted "5" be unrousable!)

Helene -- I hope you can come on Saturday. I think pushback from teachers on some of these elements -- both directly and through the SEA -- is going to be critical to the effort to stop the loss of quality education in Seattle schools. If I could grade anything you teach, I would volunteer to help -- but alas, I cannot.
curious said…
Seattle-ED2010-- can you tell me when that meeting was, if you recall (when they told you the MAP wasn't appropriate for K-2?). What kind of meeting was this? I might like to reference that, if I may, in a question to the district. Thanks.
hschinske said…
Maureen, scores on *real* IQ tests are pretty stable under most circumstances, and when circumstances make it likely that a particular test result is an underestimate, any decent psychologist usually has a pretty good understanding of why. With group, grade-level, fill-in-the-bubble testing, especially in the early grades when the questions are all read aloud to the child, you can see a LOT more variation from year to year. Ceiling effects come into play, too, as missing even one question here or there can result in big jumps in standard scores or percentile scores. (Using out-of-level tests reduces this source of error somewhat.)

In addition, as results from several different IQ tests (and different grade-level versions of the CogAT) are accepted, as well as several different achievement tests, you can expect the "top 2%" to broaden, as the tests won't rank everyone in exactly the same order. Requiring top 2% results on *both* an ability and an achievement test, on the other hand, has a narrowing effect.

By and large, high scores are more reliable than low scores -- you can always score any amount *lower* than your ability, but lucky guesses can't take you vastly higher. So if a kid scores 99th percentile one year and 45th percentile the next, and you're pretty sure she didn't cheat, it's a whole lot more likely that something was funky the day that she got the low score, than that the stars were all in perfect alignment for her the day she got the high score.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
Right Ed2010, MAP is a pretty low bar. If you can't score in a high range, then maybe you aren't really a high achiever, and that is a requirement for APP. They're already using MAP for prequalification to spectrum and APP for new students, so this isn't really revolutionary. And, everyone is required to take this, so it isn't an added burden. We're aren't talking about assessing tiny fractions of percentages here, or assesing gains within the top few percents.. we're talking about at least getting in the top 5% (maybe). APP students should all be able to do that, and their parents shouldn't make a lot of excuses for why they can or can not. Garfield isn't an entitlement, right?

--another Parent
hschinske said…
The thing is that if more than 5% of 8th graders hit 11th-grade results on MAP (which I think may be the case, though I haven't looked it up), then there really is no meaningful 95th percentile score at that level, and you've got to look for some other indicator to rank the top 5+ percent more accurately.

Helen Schinske
suep. said…
curious -- It was around the end of April; a small group of parents met with them to discuss MAP.

Also, in my previous comment, I should not have used the word "successful," since there are multiple visions of what constitutes a "successful" school.

I'll amend that to say that, pre-APP/IPP, Garfield was underenrolled and apparently not as popular as it is now.

--another parent: I'm not following you. Just to clarify, kids hitting a ceiling in a test like MAP means they reach the highest level/score of the test, and the test is unable to measure them beyond that. With advanced learners (APP and likely Spectrum kids too) this is happening sooner in the process. That's not an "excuse" of any kind, it's an acknowledged limitation of the test -- stated by the district's two MAP administrators themselves.

I'd like to add that MAP is also problematic for ELL kids, K-2 kids, and any kid who may not do well on tests or with computerized testing. The problems with MAP are numerous and affect many kids, not just advanced learners.

-- sue p.
Jet City mom said…
For example, a couple of years ago, it was reported that Seattle had the highest percent of college-educated adults of any American city and the second-highest rate of adults with advanced degrees. That alone tells us that Seattle *differs* from the average city in ways that are likely to affect student achievement locally.

I don't claim to read statistics, but those adults cited above are not likely to have kids in SPS.
The average length of time someone lives in Seattle is five years.
The % of families who live in Seattle and send their kids to SPS, is much lower than similar families, say in Portland or Tacoma & the families who meet the college educated criteria who send their kids to SPS to be lower still.

I dropped out of high school and we are a strictly blue collar family, but outside of my immediate neighbors, I didn't know anyone who even sent their kids to SPS until my oldest was 16 & her 8 yr old sister began at Summit K-12.

It's my perception that those people who have recently moved to Seattle either don't have kids or their kids are very young. Those with young children, either have moved out of the district, or are private/home schooling them.

More than you would think, and it is not as dependent on education level or income as you might think.

Families might even be more predisposed to enrolling their children in private schools if they aren't educated- our own argument was, we needed extra support, we knew we would not get from public schools, we couldn't afford either the money or the time to supplement public school education on our own, yet scholarships were available for private schools that both provided an enriched education & support for our family.

I also am a bit confused as to what sort of cohort parents are wanting to identify and what the districts intent in serving them is.

AP classes do cover a lot of material- this is true. But it is not necessarily presented creatively, or require anything but reading skills. Students who do well on AP tests, aren't necessarily gifted and classes which are not AP are not necessarily at a lower level.
For instance marine biology at Garfield & while my daughter took marine biology, I assisted in the environmental science class, which was intended for those who " weren't necessarily college material" & I found the class to be quite rigorous and the students to be creative in their approach to the material and quite engaged in their studies.

However, since the choice seems to be coming down to the district curriculum or AP/IB, anyone who is really wanting a strong education, is going to be forced to choose anything but " standardized curriculum".
Anonymous said…
I don't believe that there's a limitation for the MAP as low as the 95% mark. There's nothing special about APP and spectrum students that make a bar as low as 95% unattainable, or without meaning. Certainly not any more than it would be for anyone else. Sure, if we were looking for the top .1%, or even the top 1%, I could imagine the MAP would inappropriate. But, if there's another, better achievement test to get at the top 5%.. then by all means, let's use that one instead. The point is that high school admission should a point of requalification.

--another Parent
Jan said…
another Parent:
Why should high school be another point of "requalification" since that requires another COGAT and another battery of (expensive and time consuming) achievement tests. My impression (from years ago, when I had a kid in APP) was that these kids all go to classes together, and all achieve at a high level together. I don't know of anyone who has been "counseled out" but other posters have indicated that when someone can't keep up, they find a graceful way to exit them (who wouldn't want out, if they couldn't keep up and were failing?)

If your point is the (valid) one about there not being any entry point into the program after 7th grade -- I agree. They should add one. But -- other than that (big) problem, and any problems inherent in the testing protocol (which have been debated before but don't seem to be a problem for you) there is no "lid" on kids in, and no problem that I am aware of with kids who are there. You are suggesting a lot of time and expense in retesting everyone in a program that would seem to have its own built-in system of culling non-performing kids. Why?
Charlie Mas said…
Devising some automated way to remove students from APP - and Spectrum - is a solution seeking a problem. There is no problem to solve here. There are a few - not many - students who find the programs are not appropriate for them and they leave the program. It happens with a minimum of drama and stress.

As for APP students over-crowding Garfield, there is some truth in that. If it were not for APP placed in the building, Garfield would not be nearly so crowded. In fact, it would closely resemble Rainier Beach High School and a lot more students would be in private schools.

Every year a number of rising 9th grade APP students choose Roosevelt or Ballard or NOVA. In the coming years we can expect some of them to choose STEM as well. Neither of my daughters followed APP into Garfield (one to NOVA, one to Chief Sealth). One can only presume that the attrition rate will grow as other schools improve (and as Garfield overcrowds and as Garfield loses signature programs like Marine Biology).

Let's be very clear. Garfield is overcrowded because the District's Enrollment Planning folks made a bad prediction about how many students were in the attendance area and would choose Garfield. The school is not overcrowded because of APP. There was no change in APP that caused this year's overcrowding.
Bird said…
APP students should all be able to do that, and their parents shouldn't make a lot of excuses for why they can or can not. Garfield isn't an entitlement, right?

My impression, whenever this discussion comes up, is that it isn't really about what's best for the APP program or the students in it.

It's usually about parents being unhappy that the district won't allow students to enter the APP program at high school (which is, indeed, ridiculous) or that parents want there to be more room at Garfield for non-APP kids.

The reasoning being "Why should your kid get a spot in APP and Garfield just because they passed some test in Kindergarten?"

I think that both of these concerns are important and need addressing.

Kids should be able to enter the program after middle school, and there should be room for kids near Garfield to attend Garfield (Where that boundary should be is, unfortunately, by its nature somewhat arbitrary. As you say, Garfield isn't an entitlement.)

I can't, however, see any evidence that there is a big problem with kids who should not be in the APP program. The test scores at the APP schools don't indicate a performance problem with APP students (though the tests involved were not designed to detect such a problem). And I've never heard anyone complain about this problem outside of people who are irritated at the district for not providing a seat for their kid at Garfield (in or out of APP).

I'd take seriously the desire to run these kids through a couple more tests every year (on top of the MAP and state testing) if I heard from parents of APP kids who said their kids are having problems with the program because they can't keep up or because their classmates can't keep up. Note: I don't have a kid in APP, so perhaps this is a larger concern than I know about, but so far I have seen no evidence to indicate it is.

But if this discussion isn't really about APP, but is instead about how you can't get a seat for your student at Garfield, I'd have to say I start to lose interest in your arguments.
Bird said…
Oh, and one last interesting data point on Garfield.

I spoke to my aunt this summer. She's in her 70's and attended Garfield long ago. She said it was an awesome school back then. She said she loved that school. It had a very diverse student body, and strong programs, activities and academics.

I know that was a very, very long time ago and the city and the schools have changed a lot since then, but I just bring it up because sometimes folks seem to say Garfield was not a good school till APP came along.

I don't know the immediate history before APP, so it could, indeed, have been a big turn around for the school., but I'm just saying that the school has a long, proud history before APP was even a twinkling in anyone's eye. I suspect it would still be a strong school without APP as well.
Charlie Mas said…
Wouldn't it be great if the District could take all of the students on the waitlists for Ballard, Roosevelt, and Garfield who want a rigorous high school program (and maybe a strong music or performing arts program as well) and enroll them all in a school that meets their expectations?

The District could call the school "Rigor Academy" (or whatever) and they could co-locate it at Rainier Beach High School in the ample space available there. There's already an extra principal on site, Lisa Escobar, available to head the program. Classes at Rigor Academy would, of course, be open to Rainier Beach students who choose to take them.

I know that Rainier Beach seems a long way from homes in the north-end, but thanks to the Rainier Beach Light Rail stop it is accessible from every part of the city. Every neighborhood has a bus that goes downtown. From there, students can make a quick transfer to the light rail, and bang! they're there.

After a few years the District can eliminate the divide and make Rainier Beach High School the school that everyone wants.

If you were on the waitlist for Ballard, Roosevelt or Garfield would you accept a seat at a school full of your waitlist peers, designed to emulate the academics at Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield, and located on the Rainier Beach campus?

Maybe I'm just getting goofy.
hschinske said…
Well, there is technically a 95th percentile mark on the 8th-grade math and reading, but they're not very far off the upper-grade ones. The 95th-99th percentile end-of-grade scores for 8th grade in reading are 241-247, which compared to 10th grade are 88th-97th percentile, compared to 11th grade are 87th-96th percentile.

For math, the 95th-99th percentiles at the end of 8th grade are scores 259-268, which at 10th grade are 90th-97th, 11th grade 86th-95th. (source: Complete Norms toward the end.

I have a hard time believing that one in twenty 8th-graders is capable of being an A student in 10th or 11th grade (top 15% of the class, where students should in fact be learning a great deal from year to year). It's a lot easier to believe that the test doesn't really distinguish very well at the high end.
Charlie Mas said…
Did I read that right?

Are these norms saying that a student in the top 5% for reading in the eighth grade with a RIT score of 241, could learn nothing more all through high school - make no progress at all - and still be at the 87th percentile in the 11th grade?

I suddenly feel a whole lot better about telling people that everything I know about writing I learned by the eighth grade and my writing skills today are essentially the same ones I had when I entered high school.
hschinske said…
Crap. Charlie I think I'm glad I didn't know you as an eighth grader (though I don't mind a bit now ;-) ). It would have been scary.

No, seriously, I've always said that an eighth-grade education would be nothing to be sneezed at if one actually learned everything one was taught in those years, and retained it all. But of course most people don't.

Re Bird's story about her aunt: I don't know the immediate history before APP, so it could, indeed, have been a big turn around for the school

It was. I have a neighbor who was at Garfield about fifty years ago, and two of my sisters were each there for a year or so (long story) in the 1970s, and their stories are, well, pretty different.

The 1960s and 1970s were pretty bad decades for Seattle schools in general (and it wasn't all white flight; I was in a pretty white elementary school and it wasn't very good either). I try to remember that when I think things are terrible now; believe it or not, the district's better than when I was a kid.

Helen Schinske
Jet City mom said…
my mom went to Garfield in the 50's ( she was in the same class as Overton Berry)- she lived at the end of Yesler ( its been torn down) above a grocery store.
It wasn't a bad school- schools were much different then, they had principals that stayed for 20 years, students were expected to behave a certain way- classes were large ( my dad attended Lincoln, another large school), and even when I was in school in the suburbs elementary classrooms were 32 kids.

But the neighborhood was in " transition" and they looked at adding programs as a way to keep people in the neighborhood I suppose.

They didn't have AP ( neither did my high school), but they had a strong music program & I hear their football team was regarded as pretty strong even though I thought it was pretty gross that the maid of honor at my moms wedding was going out with the football coach ( they married later )
Slightly Off topic said…
Some comments about MAP, CogAT and eligibility testing:

1) The MAP norm data (from NWEA) does indicate that the K-2 MAP may not be as reliable as the test given to 3rd graders and up. First of all, there are significantly fewer data points on which to base the norms, since fewer tests are administered at this age.

The AL eligibility testing acknowledges this by requiring addtional achievement testing if a student meets the CogAT cutoff. Of course, a student won't be given the CogAT unless they meet the 85% MAP cutoff. Hmm.

2)There used to be language in the appeals info about the CogAT results being valid for 3 years, but achievement testing being valid only for one year. So if your child had taken the tests, done well, but didn't enroll in Spectrum or APP - and then tested again the next year and totally blew the test - the previous qualifying CogAT scores could be used for an appeal, but additional qualifying (and recent) achievement tests would need to be submitted.

3) When the student is testing at the 99% level on the MAP, they are being given questions with content that is above grade level and probably hasn't been taught in class. At a certain point the student will ceiling out and there will be little measurable growth in scores. It almost becomes noise. Search the NWEA 2008 RIT Scale Norms data and look at the graphs and data. I can't imagine high school APP entry being based on MAP scores. The thought makes me cringe.
dan dempsey said…
A thought on grade school competence:

From 1968-1970 I taught 7th grade everything from 8AM until 3PM each day in rural Idaho.

In 1970-71 I returned to College and completed my Math degree.

All students were required to take the under-graduate record exam as the college used it to evaluate itself.

A week before graduation my counselor informed me that I had the highest score on the general knowledge portion of the exam. His question was: To what can we attribute this high score Mr. Dempsey?

"I know absolutely everything taught in grade 7 in every class for every subject offered."

Of course I've forgotten most of it now.
mirmac1 said…
Eric and another_Parent, don't let SSD and MAP steamroll you (oops, off topic, sorry). After my daughter's technology teacher started talking about MAP on Day TWO of school, I knew I didn't want her having to learn test taking ad nauseaum. After I wrote to say she would not be taking the test, we were informed she could sit in the office(!) What a clever and thoughtful use of my daughter's time, NOT! She could be assisting in younger grades, reading in the library, even helping with bulletin boards. Any case, the administration's initial suggestion didn't go over well.
Jan said…
Two more (minor) notes that I picked up from the Garfield meeting (not from the speakers, but from comments made TO Kay Smith-Blum afterwards -- in both cases, I didn't know the identity of the speaker, so although she seemed very knowledgeable about what was going on with class sizes, etc., this is all "ed gossip," I guess.) But this wasn't info coming FROM Smith-Blum, it was information being given to her in individual discussions after she spoke.

First -- there was a comment to the effect that ALL (or virtually all) classrooms are now in use for classes all periods. That means that NO teachers (including science teachers) have any prep time in their own classrooms. No clue as to where they go (but if I see any teacherly looking folks hanging out on the parking strip on 23rd, or on the football field, I will pass it along).

The second (and worse, in my opinion) comment was to the effect that, in the past, the GHS PTSA has used some of its funds to "buy down" class sizes for kids who are behind and need more individual attention because they are in "catch up" mode (just the sort of thing I think they SHOULD be doing). Well, no more. All that "excess" capacity has been absorbed, and those classes are now also up to the mid- to high twenties.

Just one more example of how "Excellence for All" MGJ style is in fact leading to the degrading of the "on the ground" learning solutions that principals, teachers, and parents have devised.

Do I think they will fix this? I doubt it, because as noted above, I don't think they have the actual "rooms" for those smaller classes anymore. So, it's NSAP 1, Students 0, yet one more time.
Dorothy Neville said…
To add onto Jan's comment and also in the realm of ed-rumor. On Kay Smith-Blum's facebook page, someone reminded her that Ted (Howard?) warned them about the remodel losing capacity (which it did, if it really has a smaller functional capacity than Roosevelt).

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