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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Special Education test results

This disturbing news comes to us straight from the Special Education PTA listserv:
OSPI has published MSP/HSPE test results for 2010. How are our special education students doing?

Well, let's look at 10th grade, since that's what's needed to graduate. Rubber meets the road. 9% pass math and science in 10th grade. 9%!!!! And, that's 9% on each test... so the number who pass both... well, it's WAY less than 9% (though not published).

Around 60% of our IEP students are cognitively normal (LD/SLD)... so the fact that only 9% pass, well it represents a real problem. That might be OK for now, since it isn't required for anything... but moving forward, those tests are required for graduation... and it means lots and lots and LOTS of our students won't be graduating.

At my, very high performing school... only 1 student with an IEP passed the science portion of the MSP. 1. Uno. Food for thought. Where's the accountability for students with IEPs?
Ponder this, folks.

19 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Thank goodness OSPI provides this info, because we can't seem to get it from SPS Special Education.

The major question is: to whom do we look for accountability? The gened educator with 32 students in her class? The special educator who sees the child 1-2 hours a week? the IA? The principal and the environment of expectations at a given school?

Frankly of all children, SpecEd, ESL and other special populations should not be measured solely on standardized test scores. They are never going to fit the box that privitization and standardization creates.

reader said...

Well, does it matter or not? If we aren't measuring these students based on standardized scores... then who cares if OSPI provides the info? (They only provide it because it's the law and they have to.) And why should SPS provide the information either, if the standardized test doesn't matter or apply? Which is it? It matters and we want to know. OR. It doesn't matter. SPS doesn't provide that info for any group btw.

Plus, isn't that "poor teacher" stuff a bit over the top? Does the teacher really have 32 students? The poor teacher really should be exempted from teaching certain groups, the "unteachables". ??? Are there any other groups that should be exempted from accountability? Maybe poor students. I hear they're pretty hard too, no sense testing them either. Minority students? And, don't those special ed teachers actually see students a lot more than 1 - 2 hours per week? If the teacher isn't really accountable, why should the students even be there? Do they just need desk somewhere?

What's the "privization" bit? Is there some private company dying to get their hands on the disabled? or dying to test them?


And one last question. So.. the specEd and ESLs shouldn't be measured "solely on standardized test scores". Well, who in the world should be measured "solely on standardized test scores"? I can't think of that as being appropriate for anyone, nor have I seen it suggested.

Unknown said...

These results just break my heart. I wonder if anyone has done work on looking at the testing methodology and seeing if it's biased against special education students.

I can't see any other reason for the high fail rate among special education students who are cognitively normal.

Jet City mom said...

This illustrates how badly IEPs are written. They are supposed to outline support needed for progress & are supposed to be evaluated and adjusted as needed often


What I see happening is IEPs that are so poorly written and administered to be practically meaningless. Principals who have little idea about requirements of IDEA and care even less because they have so many things on their plate. Parents who are overwhelmed and who want to believe what the school tells them ( which is Johnny is making progress even though there isn't any way to show that)

My daughter had an IEP from 3rd to 8th grade, she was removed by me not because she attained grade level, but because her hour of resource time everyday was basically a study hall, but not as quiet as she sat and watched the teacher try and help 8 other students with differing needs while she tried to work on her homework.

In high school, her school ( Garfield) had ACE, a support class for students to attain grade level in math/english. Timewise, it cut quite a bit into any electives, but despite starting high school two grades below in math, she was at grade level in two years ( granted she was more motivated than some- as she wanted to take chemistry received an A& then physics- but she was not the only student in her support classes who also was taking APs) The ACE program was cut of course by the district.

I see SPED students being assigned to schools to fill seats, ( & to bring their extra monies), not because the school has supports others do not.

It is even MORE important that SPED students are assigned to schools where their family can easily be involved. Long bus rides make them more anxious and worn out making it that much harder to begin their academic day. But this district has never been too interested in students who don't fit into the box.

mirmac1 said...

Did I say poor teacher? BTW, reader, to improve your mood, watch this:

http://www.theonion.com/video/in-the-know-are-tests-biased-against-students-who,17966/

mirmac1 said...

emeraldkity,

You raise excellent points. To serve students closer to their homes, SPS is going to have to spend some money and get highly-qualified teachers. Right now, I see alot of education money going down a rathole.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, what are you talking about? Students can't graduate without passing the WASL (or its new name). So yes, we are measuring the students and yes, we all would like to see the stats.

And where did you get this "poor teacher" stuff from this thread? It's mystifying.

Anonymous said...

The MAP test

Teachers will be voting this afternoon on the contract that has been tentatively agreed upon.

I am asking all teachers to not allow an evaluation system that depends on testing particularly the MAP test.

As parents, we do not want to see our students’ teachers focusing on the minutia of test questions when the focus should be on the broader subject and include an opportunity for the student to develop creative and critical thinking skills.

And why particularly the MAP test? Because it is unproven, because Brad Bernatek, former Broad resident and now head of REA, Research, Evaluation and assessment, the department that has been heading the implementation of the MAP test, told several parents in a meeting that I was a part of that the MAP test was not designed as an evaluation tool to assess a teacher’s performance.

I sat across the table from him and looked him straight in the eye while he said that.

I sent an e-mail to him and Jessica DeBarros, the other REA representative who attended the meeting, and a Broad resident, three weeks ago asking them to confirm that was stated by Brad. Neither Jessica nor Brad returned my e-mail.

The use of testing students to evaluate a teacher should not be accepted on any level. Period.

Please do the right thing tonight and vote against high stakes testing and teaching to the test.

It’s not fair to our students.

Dora

Note:

From the SPS website, this is the description of REA.

“The Department of Education Technology REA is primarily responsible for official student statistics for the Seattle School District. This includes statistics on enrollment, student demographics, evaluation, standardized testing and surveys.”

reader said...

Mirmac, when you exaggerate the teacher responsibility, and minimize the time that is actually spent with special educators, you seem question the teacher's role in education, a common theme around here. Hence the "poor teacher". (Sometimes you need to fill in some blanks, Melissa.) Mirmac, when you state the obvious, "students shouldn't be measured by MSPs"... then why should we care about getting the information? Melissa, the stats are simple. Just look at the website, if you're so interested.

mirmac1 said...

reader, you truly read alot into my post. Do you know me? I ask questions and don't have or get answers.

I understand that the SpecEd PTSA has requested a breakdown of information about our kids in SpecEd: important things like racial composition, type of disability, pass rate, location, grade, program, % time in regular classroom, % time in SpecEd. I think we got the big zilch. How do we advocate for improvements for our children in SpecEd if we don't have information? I'm asking again so don't jump my sh*t. Fill in the blank.

reader said...

Sorry Mirmac, I didn't realize that you were looking for disaggregated information. Yes, that would be a great thing to have available. Disaggregated by program for example. Unfortunately, OSPI only does the bare minimum. And the district, nothing at all. But, special education isn't special in this regard.

mirmac1 said...

Yes, reader, let's keep after the info. The scales are too unbalanced in favor of a secretive, non-transparent school administration and against the rest of us.

casey said...

I understand that at the SEA meeting, a number of special educators questioned their ability to support students when there were 22 on their caseload. SEA president said that they were told by Executive director, Marni Campbell that "supports were in place." And so that's that? No changes in caseloads for special education teachers. And we ask why kids aren't learning?

mirmac1 said...

Casey, that's Marnie Campbell's mantra: supports are in place, supports are in place blah blah. Because of the district SpecEd inclusion on the cheap, ratios have deteriorated steadily over the years. Some of those 22 would have otherwise been in existing inclusion programs with 8:1 ratios. The district is not following the recommendations in the external peer review (ratios of 10:1 for K-5, then rising slightly). The district's saving a dime on our disabled children's back. Guess they don't worry much about our children's academic outcomes.

spedvocate said...

The ratio's used to actually be 6:1 for autism inclusion programs. Now, they are 22:1. Look at the contract. Do you see the supports? If they aren't in the contract, they aren't at the school.

Anonymous said...

But, where were all those special education teachers during the negotations? What nonsense to speak out only at the ratifying meeting. It is also telling, in terms of the union's care and concern for kids with disabilities and the special educators who would like to feel a bit of professional satisfaction at the end of the day, that the union president would quote such an empty statement "supports are in place" as a justification. How checked out is that?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kprugman said...

I think that's true the special education teachers were not invited to be on the bargaining team and its also true that middle school teachers were not represented either. The deliberate oversight on the part of the district is telling of how disingenuous they were during bargaining.

reader said...

Yes pretty checked out. Olga was more worried about making sure none of her teachers ever had to lift a finger, or do a thing to help kids get to standard... even if the reward was as little as a cup of coffee per day at Starbucks. It's not the special education teachers who will be in trouble. When all the autistic kids are in a general ed teacher's classroom, and there's no special ed teacher, no aids in sight. Then who should have paid attention?