Washington State Students Still Tops in SAT Scores

The Times is reporting that for the 8th straight year, Washington state students had the highest SAT scores in the country among the states where more than half the eligible students took the tests. They ranked highest in all categories - critical reading, math and writing - than other states where at least 25% of students tested. (This is important because in general, the more students taking the test, the lower their scores.) I am happy to say that my son and his friends are in these SAT numbers for 2009.

As well, Washington State's participation rate of 54% beats the national rate of 47% AND is the highest among Western states.

The College Board says more than 37,000 Washington students took the SAT test last school year, including nearly 29,000 public school students.

Let's sit back and just feel good about this news. Always more work to be done for sure but this is nice to hear.


Charlie Mas said…
So there for all those folks who go one about how bad public education is in Washington and in Seattle.
Anonymous said…
But the times editorial staff, Edu-reform groups say it so it must be true; the schools are underperforming and need fixin! I am wondering how they are going to spin this?

dan dempsey said…
Let us not forget all those who never make it to be Seniors. WA's graduation rate is around #35 out of 50 states I believe.

Washington is a very advantaged state in terms of adult level of education. A lot of that comes from high tech imports from elsewhere.
Unknown said…
You don't think any high school teachers are teaching to that test, do you? That would be awful.
SC Parent said…
Great news! Positive news! And good to know that the people on this blog want to improve student performance even more.
How many of those who take the test also do test prep? private or independently via a book or computer program? Perhaps our test prep industry is really the one to thank.
Jan said…
Actually, Rosie -- I am sure no high school teachers teach to the SAT, though there are lots of SAT prep courses (public AND private -- and lots of kids take practice tests, etc. in an attempt to improve their scores). And, I suspect that some of the groups within schools that target getting kids from under-represented groups into colleges "teach" to that test -- but all of it is in addition to whatever courses they are taking. None of it involves diminishing, or "aligning" or "pacing" the curriculum or eliminating opportunities for music, art, sports, etc. in order to force kids to spend extra time getting high SAT scores.

In fact, I can't think of anything that the SSD administration has done in the past five years that could possibly be said to have any effect on SAT scores whatsoever. But hurray for the kids, and their teachers, and their parents! That is great news.
Sahila said…
well, I am going to rain on this parade and ask what is there to be proud of?

Compared to most other OECD countries American education results are average or below average....

check out the various comparisons here:

Anonymous said…
But how many of the students taking the SAT were private school students versus public school students?

According to this article, in Seattle 1 in 4 students are private school students. Whereas the national ratio is 1 in 10.

-Dave Higley
dan dempsey said…
These are State results not Seattle results. What Seattle's piece of this is ... remains unknown.

End of Course testing arrives for some high school classes from OSPI next year.
dan dempsey said…
HERE is the link to the article.
reader said…
Yah yah Dan. Seattle's among the best in the state. OK. Maybe Bellevue is better. But despite the pissing and moaning about math, the kids did fine when and where it counts. Not to say there isn't room for improvement, of course.
Dave, the article stated that 37,000 students took the test and 29,000 of them were public school students.

You know the saying, if you don't have anything nice to say....

Sometimes it would be nice to be able to say one good thing and not have people who can't believe there is one good thing TO say.

It's a hard way to go through life.
kmk33 said…
I heard this news on NPR this evening on the drive home from work. Yay! Great news and good timing!
dan dempsey said…
Reader said:

"But despite the pissing and moaning about math, the kids did fine when and where it counts.

When and where would that be?

What kids are you speaking of?

Have you checked Math Remediation rates at the College level?
dan dempsey said…

You also said:
"Yah yah Dan. Seattle's among the best in the state."

To what Seattle data are you referring?
Charlie Mas said…
I think the significance of this comes when you remember that Washington students no longer take any other national assessment in such numbers. This is our only opportunity to measure the mass of Washington students relative to the nation and get a sense of our education system on a national scale.

The NEAP is the other chance. While that is intended to use a representative sample it isn't a large sample like this.
reader said…
Dan, I'm saying Seattle is the largest district. And I'd sure as heck rather have my kids in SPS than in all the Tonaskets, Everett, Issaquah, etc. The data includes Seattle btw. In fact, I'd bet Seattle students are the largest group taking it.
Sahila said…
Melissa - the best of mediocre is not something to sing Hallelujahs about....

Singing the praises of mediocre (not mediocre kids and teachers, a mediocre education in terms of content, delivery and management) is an act of self delusion, justification, making of excuses and avoidance of responsibility, and encourages people to settle for less - which really robs the kids of their most promising futures...

I sure wouldnt be proud of being at the top of the heap of mediocrity, on an international scale....
Jet City mom said…
My daughter took the ACT
The SAT is generally a good indicator of parental income/education level. It would be nice to see that broken down- but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth.

My oldest took the SAT untimed and it was indicated on her score report that she did so. However, SAT no longer identifies the students who are receiving accommodations, and it would be interesting to see if their numbers have increased from 10 years ago.

I also believe the math level in SAT is algebra? SAT lls are used for higher level math.

So I think it is good- but not necessarily an indication of how we are addressing groups who don't take SATs, as many groups of students are attending community college first to save money and also because with two years at CC you don't need SAT scores.
"...an act of self delusion, justification, making of excuses and avoidance of responsibility, and encourages people to settle for less "

But what do you really think?

Again, that everyone doesn't think like you do doesn't mean you are right. And it doesn't mean that other people are anything like what you posted above. It means that sometimes you look for little victories and push on.

We may not be the best academically in the world but don't forget what this country has created in less than 300 years. We didn't get where we are by being dumb. (And don't go off on all the ills, mega-mistakes, etc. that the U.S. has done. No one in history gets off easily.)
Charlie Mas said…
Why should we expect to be first and the best at everything? That's a pretty unreasonable expectation.

Why is it that Americans think that if you aren't in first place then you're a loser?

There's no reason to believe that our nation should be a leader in education. Our culture is not all that supportive of education and academics. Our popular heroes are athletes, actors, and entreprenuers, not scientists or philosophers. Our society pays more attention to the decisions of Jon and Kate or Brad and Angelina than the decisions of the Supreme Court.

For every winner there are dozens of losers. Odds are you're one of them.
Maureen said…
When people start talking about rankings based on some measure, I always try to ask myself if the measure actually reflects what it is we care about.

The USNews HS ranking uses AP class enrollment for a proxy measurement of quality of education. I can believe that that number is in some way correlated with some (nonexistent or hard to) measure of how well a HS prepares a kid for college. However it is by no means a perfect proxy. And now we have the problem of HSs signing up every kid for AP just to improve their ranking. Has the underlying quality of the education increased? We don't know.

I feel the same way about the science WASL. I think my kids have had a fabulous science education at their K-8, but the school's (and my kids') science WASL scores actually are not great. To me, that means the science WASL is a bad proxy for what I think is a quality science education.

For my family, the SAT is a better measure of what I want my kids to know than the WASL/HSPE/MAP. It is also possible to use SAT scores to compare WA kids to those in other states. I am happy that WA state kids do well on the SAT. I think that means something. It doesn't mean everything, but it means something. good.
Sahila said…
Really Melissa?
look what its achieved in 300 years?

NZ gave women the vote before any other country in the world, barely 90 years after European settlement began...

Sept 19, 1893:
With the signing of the Electoral Bill by Governor Lord Glasgow, New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant national voting rights to women. The bill was the outcome of years of suffragette meetings in towns and cities across the country, with women often traveling considerable distances to hear lectures and speeches, pass resolutions, and sign petitions. New Zealand women first went to the polls in the national elections of November 1893. The United States granted women the right to vote in 1920, and Great Britain guaranteed full voting rights for women in 1928.

NZ had one of the first social welfare systems - free education and free health care, child benefit payments to all families

A New Zealander split the atom - Ernest Rutherford

A New Zealander flew a powered aircraft three months before the Wright brothers - Thomas Pearce

A New Zealander was the first man to stand on the top of Everest - Edmund Hillary

A New Zealander started the first maternal-baby home health visit service - Plunket Society, founded in 1907 in Dunedin by child health visionary, Sir Frederic Truby King. His vision was to help the mothers and save the babies that were dying from malnutrition and disease.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce the 8-hour work day

A New Zealand woman became the first woman mayor of a municipality - Elizabeth Yates in 1894.

New Zealand was the first country to successfully transport refrigerated meat in large, commercially viable quantities, beginning the modern international meat and food trade... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunedin_%28ship%29

New Zealand has produced more than its fair share of artists, musicians, scholars, athletes and has suffered proportionally many more deaths and casualties in the last wars it took part in than the US...


the problem with this country (the US) is that its less than 400 years old but thinks it knows everything - more than the other cultures in the world who have been around for 2 and 3,000 years... and it acts that way...

and then it gets shitty when others point out that it fails in fundamental measures of a civilised and healthy society...http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/usadecline.html

Please note - this analysis is more than 17 years old, and though its been published by a 'right winger' whose 'solutions' I dont necessarily agree with, things have not gotten any better...

reader said…
Right on Charlie. Why indeed should we be first in everything? Especially when we educate, or at least send to school, nearly everyone? Wikipedia rates nations by literacy. Guess who is number 1? Georgia. Do you want to live there? Cuba is #2. I don't want to live there either, but I'd like to visit. US is 21st with lots of ties. Not bad. Same with the oh, so, sad, math rankings.

Shahila, if this is the location of the height of mediocrity, then it is quite the surprise that it is the place you have chosen to live, raise your children, and educate them. Why? You chose this place, unlike most of us.

Of course SATs matter. That's what gets people into college, if for no other reason.
Anonymous said…
Dear Reader,

I do not always agree with you, but thank you for saying the words that I have thought so many times. Sahila, if you dislike this country so very much, if we are the very pit of mediocrity that you continually suggest, then why are you still here?

With regard to the SAT, I don't think it is the be all and end all of student achievement but it is still nice to know that our students do well. It's an important measure for many schools outside of the state, schools that don't give a rip about MAP/WASL etc...

Sahila said…
Sad to say, reader, I thought love would overcome all - I was wrong...

In true American fashion, the person who sold himself to me as a well rounded, self aware, reasonably healthy individual did a Jekyll and Hyde 'bait and switch', not revealing his true self until after the point of no return...

I am unused to such duplicity in either individuals or on public institutions or in society generally... my mistake, not one I am likely to make again but it in part explains my insistence on transparency...

Just FYI - I am raising one child here (his father is an American) in the interim... My other children, all grown up, were raised in New Zealand and Australia. Several factors I have no control over preclude our leaving at this point in time...

But please, spare me the "oh you're projecting your own unhappiness and cynicism/bitterness on all things american" pop psychology... I have met some wonderful individuals here, but your country, on the whole, sucks...
Anonymous said…
For the record Sahila, I grew up in Australia, where the primary school teacher repeatedly hit my left hand with a ruler in order to encourage me to use my right hand. Where I was forbidden to spell "Mom" instead of "Mum" and where I was teased mercilessly for having an American accent. You know what, those were crappy people and I still love Australia. I would never assume that my little experience reflected and entire country. I am sorry that you cannot do that.

News about the SAT is good. To deride other commentators for celebrating mediocrity is petty and frankly simple minded. Can we not agree to celebrate successes? A "C" in algebra may be mediocre but if the previous grade was "F" it is still worth celebrating.

Anonymous said…
Wow, Sahila, that's one heck of a blanket statement. But thank you for explaining (when you didn't have to) your history and why you're here. What happened to you and your feelings about this country "as a whole" certainly explains a lot, from the reason you're here at all to the way you seem to dislike pretty much every facet of life in this country as you see it.

It's a real shame you feel this way, as there are some pretty wonderful things to experience here.
SP said…
Sorry, Melissa, but here's a sobering chart from the College Board site (originally from FairTest.org), with the relationship between family income and SAT scores. It's just like clockwork. I guess I should feel happy that my kid did better than our income group, making me feel rich for a day? But it's sobering to see the direct correlation between income & SAT scores.

Unfortunately they don't have the full 2010 results up yet, but this is from 2009 which I'd guess would be similar:


(sorry- I misplaced my handy cheat sheet from the blog on how to make fancy links)
Charlie Mas said…
If you hear of the correlation between student test scores and the value of their home you might conclude that the best way to improve your child's test scores would be to remodel your bathroom.
Charlie Mas said…
The Seattle Times has editorialized on this report.

They give the credit to... increased participation in AP classes.

Well, you knew it wouldn't be a reflection on the teachers or their work since the Times doesn't think teachers influence student test scores at all.
Maureen said…
...the best way to improve your child's test scores would be to remodel your bathroom.

OMG perfect timing!! The 16 yr old takes the SAT this year! I knew I was putting up with sheet rock dust in my breakfast cereal for SOME good reason!
Anonymous said…
problem i see with the fair test data, they dont/cant tell you how many or which group payed for a Prep course. Might there be a correlation between remodeled bathroms and ability to pay for a Prep course?

Thinking i might remodel my bathroom, kitchen and living room in 5 years when my child will be taking the test. with three rooms remodeled, he should score really high.

found this article, quotes the person who prepared the fairtest data.

Maureen said…
Anonymous remodeler, but then you, like us, won't have enough money left to pay for a prep course! I'm hoping that the increased house value alone will pull him through it!
reader said…
But then, all the houses are doing another price dip in value... remodelled or not. Should we expect a dip in test scores due to the reduced value?

Shahila, you thought love would overcome all? ???!!! And so, you moved to this rathole? Sounds like you were watching too much TV during your own formative years, and had no useful education at all!
hschinske said…
Even the highest-income group didn't score *that* much higher than the average for the group as a whole -- under a hundred points per section difference. I find that actually encouraging in a way. I also think it's largely because there are very few high-income students who score really, really low on the test, rather than rich kids getting super-high scores because of all-you-can-stuff SAT courses.

Okay, so if you make $200K+ per year, your student is extraordinarily unlikely to get SAT scores in the 200 and 300 range. That's kind of like pointing out that rich kids almost always get enough to eat.

I don't want to imply that I think there are no disparities in how the average poor child and the average rich child fare educationally in this country -- far from it. I just don't think this particular data really tells the story on that.

Helen Schinske
reader said…
Isn't the bottom score 400? That is, if you answer nothing at all, you score a 400. Of course if you answer a bunch of stuff wrong, you get points subtracted and into the 200 to 400 range. Rich kids probably have been taught at least that 1 test strategy. If they aren't going to be able to answer anything right, they don't take the test. The poor kids I have known who took the SAT and did poorly, didn't know that, nor did their families.
Jet City mom said…
We may not be the best academically in the world but don't forget what this country has created in less than 300 years.

I think we got to our highest point, because we took risks, because we went with our gut, because we gave it our all.


Now, in terms of public education, it feels like we are jumping around so much from standard to standard and ways to break out statistics that we would do better if we stood still.

Since College Board has $ into SAT & AP, I would like to see if schools that DON"T offer AP have students who do as well. I am ok with AP, however, there are plenty of people who don't qualify for FRL for whom $80 per class is a chunk they can't afford ( like us). We had charming daughter take the class and the test anyway, but I know many who don't.

( and to all those that asked, I don't know ANYONE- who did test prep & my oldest went to SAAS & youngest to Garfield)
Sahila said…
reader - yes, silly me... thought love would overcome all - besides, this was only supposed to be a 5-year sojourn...

and a long time ago, naive little 10-year old me was suckered by the lines:

"The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle, and the hills the greenest green are in Seattle... like a beautiful child, growing up free and wild, full of hopes and full of fears, full of laughter, full of tears, full of dreams to last the years in Seattle..."

courtesy of "Here Come the Brides" playing on Saturday afternoon TV in Dunedin, New Zealand... Lies, lies, damn lies = rolling on the floor laughing my arse off at the irony of it all... couldnt have imagined a satire better than the one I'm living! Big grin....

the smallest lie is that the skies are blue, let alone bluest you've ever seen (not often enough to qualify) ... hills are no greener than the ones where I grew up... the biggest lie of all is that this city/state is free and wild - if it was, it wouldnt be playing these stupid games, wouldnt be so passive aggressive, wouldnt be so ready to conform...
seattle citizen said…
When I was in college, I studeied assessment methodoligies (the state (WA) at that time (1988) wanted to institute a rising junior test of college students to determine how well colleges were doing. The tests would be anonymous. (sound familiar?) The provosts of the seven state colleges and universities asked for time; I was on the study group with admins and professors for one year. The state retracted its intention to test.)

During that time, I became interested in the differntial between test scores of those who didn't pay for prep and those who did. As I was interested in issues of poverty and access, I promised myself that when I took the GRE I would do a little experiment:
I took the test cold, after skimming a GRE prep book; I took the test after studying hard; I took the test after paying some four hundred dollars for a prep course.

Granted, familiarity certainly raised my score each time, I'm sure, but the results were astounding. I raised my score about five percent by studying hard; I raised it another 17 perent by taking prep. So the difference was 22 percent between light study and prep, with most of the difference brought about the the prep.

I wonder how many poor families can afford a prep course, which is now over $500.

(YMCA offers an excellent, and I think free, SAT test prep course, look 'em up.)
Okay, not to restate the obvious but this is a thread about the SAT scores. Please stay on topic.
Sahila said…
maybe blogger is being perverse again... seems my response to Melissa's post requesting kudos for what this country has achieved in 300 years has gone - I do remember typing it and posting it and re-reading it... but not there now - and I know some of you replied to it - havent read all the posts since...... or is censorship back on the menu in the guise of staying on topic?
Anonymous said…
per the fairtest.org site, there are 800+ colleges who dont use the SAT or ACT tests to determine who is accepted and who isnt. refeshing. some schools do use it if high school grades are not at the level they expect, but, there are many who dont require the test.

Okay, to review, Charlie and I have explained, a couple of times, that this blog site has its own built-in spam block that he and I have NO control over. None. I have no idea what triggers it. There is no censorship only trying to stay on topic.

Also, as we explained, we will try to go and look in the spam folder a couple of times a day. I just did and yes, Sahlia, your post about me telling you what is so great about the U.S. is there.

But I'm not pulling it out because:
1) it's not on topic
2) I don't need to get involved in some one upmanship about this country. You think ill of it and I love it warts and all. So be it.

And now, for the second time today, I am saying goodbye to yet another commenter. This kind of deliberately provocative, in-your-face, I'm smarter than all of you put together stuff is just tiring and annoying.

Anyone else can comment on what these two say for sure but not me.
hschinske said…
Re 200-300 scores: I meant the bottom score per section.

Sahila, I see several posts from you on this thread, and they match with what I remember seeing earlier today. Maybe you've got something set up on your reader so you're not seeing your own posts?

I think test prep can raise scores a ton if you previously had test anxiety, and a ton if it actually involves subject matter tutoring that you badly needed, but I don't see it providing big huge jumps just through teaching test-taking tips and tricks to students who weren't previously that anxious or that ill-prepared.

In any case, there are lots of cheap books (free at the library), and lots of free online services like number2.com. You can take a sample PSAT online through the Seattle Public Library, for instance, and they may have other tools, I haven't looked recently.

Helen Schinske
reader said…
It's ironic how so many are so appalled at Broad, Gates, KIPP, etc... but have no problem with College Board (or was it College Broad?), AP, etc. Hasn't that company hijacked education as much as anyone else? And, it even has a monopoly. I can't think of a bigger "teach to the test" scam than AP... yet nobody really has a problem with it.
seattle citizen said…
Reader, my feeling is that some people (me) might disagree with undue emphasis on tests (including the SAT), but that some people (me) thik that if people are using these standardized tests to lay into education ("Eek! HSPE scores not good!) then they should also lend credence to OTHER scores. It's hard to be "data-driven" if you exlude the positive data. That said, I'm not a fan of SATs, or of HSPE as a grad requirement. Both tests are relatively narrow in assessing who we are as people and what we've learned.
Jan said…
reader: I totally agree with you on SAT/AP tests. I always tested well (on SATs/GREs/LSATs) with or without buying prep books (maybe they didn't even have courses way back then -- I never heard of, or took one). But two of my kids struggle with them (one more than the other) -- the 3rd is better at them than I ever was -- without any prep, and outscored most highschoolers in math -- when he was in 7th grade. And in terms of intelligence, hard work, success in school, etc. -- it is utterly meaningless, from what I have observed in my kids. Both of the kids who test badly outwork, and have outlearned, the other (that one has compensating positive attributes, but academic achievement is not his strong point).
I also think that with a few exceptions (AP Calc., AP Chemistry being 2 of them), the AP test encourages kids to go a mile wide and an inch deep. Most of my college classes, on the other hand, were far less broad -- and MUCH deeper in terms of the critical thought/reading/etc that the professors wanted.
I wish people would stop bowing down to -- and throwing so much money at -- the SAT and ACT, and the AP exams -- and just teach deeply. ON the other hand -- IF it is the existence (and passing) of AP exams that gets kids to take slightly harder (if shallower) courses and to study harder -- I guess that is worth something, and maybe I should just be glad for that and stop kvetching.
Jet City mom said…
I wish people would stop bowing down to -- and throwing so much money at -- the SAT and ACT, and the AP exams -- and just teach deeply

I think I have said this before ( but I am sure I am not the only one who repeats herself- lol)- when an experienced &/motivated teacher is allowed to do what they are trained to do, you don't need AP courses.
Oldest didn't have any offered at her prep school- didn't take any AP tests, but did VERY well on her SATs.

She did remark however, that she wished she HAD taken AP, because while her courses at SAAS were rigorous & deep, she didn't have a lot of experience juggling the breadth of material that AP forces students to take on & her college pretty much kicked her in the butt.
Although I think Reed does that do everyone anyway.
( and she was an excellent writer, which is what I think got her admitted in the first place)

Youngest had a marine biology class at Garfield, that while not AP was at LEAST as rigourous as any AP I have seen, and even covered material that her sister a 2nd year biology major at Reed hadn't dealt with yet.

We also found that the ACT suits some students much better than the SAT, different material, presented in a slightly different manner.

Also- while some colleges either accept other forms of evaluation besides SAT/ACT or even DON"T accept test scores, they also require quite a bit of other material instead of the scores. So much , that in some cases, it would be MUCH easier just to take the frigging test.
Patrick said…
I do have a problem with the college board. Yet, at the same time, I'm not sure what the alternative is. High schools vary enormously throughout the country. The tests. for their many faults, at least rank kids on the same basis. The tests are pretty expensive and are a barrier in themselves for families of modest means, but the College Board seems to spend a lot of money that it wouldn't really need to spend. They can do that because they have a monopoly. Well, there are alternatives to the SAT, but none so widely accepted. There's no alternative to the AP tests.

There seem to be a whole lot more AP tests now than there were when I was in high school. In a heavily college prep high school, we just had classes preparing us for calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, and there might have been one for American history. Only the smartest kids in each subject would take them -- less than 10% of the students in each grade. It makes me thing the exams have been watered down, or else there are a lot of kids taking the class who never take the exam, or maybe they just take it and don't do well enough to get college credit.
seattle said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said…
I like the idea of a nationally normed college entrance test. For that matter, I wish we had a nationally normed high school proficiency test, so that we could see how our students do in reference to the rest of the US.
Jan said…
I don't, rabbit -- in part because I think that there are so many ways of getting an "education" -- and so much knowledge out there -- I don't want anyone to definitively decide exactly what must, and need not be, covered (we are moving in that direction, I know -- but still, the less far in that direction we go, the happier I will be). And there are so many different kinds of colleges, looking for all sorts of different kids and knowledge bases, and strengths. A little off topic -- but I was glad to read this year about a med school (or schools, can't recall which now) that take X number of kids who have NOT been through a pre-med program, didn't take organic chem, etc. Their theory is that there are a lot of smart young adults out there who decide -- after college -- that they are interested in medicine. The four years of med school (they think) plus internship, residency, etc. is plenty rigorous enough to cover what they need -- so, they invite applicants who were NOT pre-med and do NOT have the pre-reqs to apply. I don't know all the other details, but again -- there are multiple, multiple paths to most careers. I think that if you (or your child) really wants to know how they do against a nationwide of samples -- go ahead and find an SAT or an ACT (depending on what you want tested). But the testing companies are making out like bandits, having convinced too many people that they "have" to take the tests, and thus "have" to buy the incredibly expensive prep books, take courses, etc. Again -- I enjoyed taking the tests -- but that is just me. I think the thing has gotten out of hand and should be de-emphasized (and made less of a monopoly).

HA -- wv says, of all things, "cheat" --I guess he (she?) doesn't like tests so much.
seattle said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said…
" I don't want anyone to definitively decide exactly what must, and need not be, covered "

Jan - SPS has already "definitively determined exactly what must, and need not be, covered". They have set (GLE's) Grade Level expectations, and (EALR's) Essential Academic learning requirements - and the WASL/HSPE already tests kids on their acquisition of these skills/standards. In fact passage of the math portion is a graduation requirement.

From the SPS website:

"Seattle Public Schools is a standards-based system. The District system is aligned with the Washington State system in establishing expectations for what students should know and be able to do.

Washington State has adopted Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALR) to articulate the State's expectations and learning standards. EALRs are specified for reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. EALRs are aligned with the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). Click here to review Washington State EALRs. http://www.k12.wa.us/curriculumInstruct/default.aspx

EALRs now include grade-level expectations (GLEs). GLEs specify what a child is to know and be able to do, grades K-10 in reading and mathematics. GLEs were developed to clarify the skills and strategies all students need to demonstrate proficiency in for each of the content areas. Click here to review Washington State GLEs in reading and mathematics."
Jan said…
Rabbit: Thanks for the post! You are much more proficient with GLEs and EALRs, etc than I am. But, I am aware (though more fuzzy than you, to be sure) that SPS has standards, and that the State has them (and that we are considering swapping the state ones for the new federal ones -- but I hope we don't -unless we already did in our RttT application?). But I would rather keep the decision-making/control as local as possible. I don't want to wake up one day and find out that California and Texas have decided what math (not that we could do much worse) we should learn -- or that "capitalism" is now out, and "free enterprise" is in instead -- or that Jefferson is out, in favor of John Adams and ...who, Madison? Hamilton? Whatever. I have no doubt that in any class where critical analysis comes into play, my children are influenced, for good or ill, by the views of teachers -- but in the end, I believe education is personal to the person who is learning. After that, the "authority" over what is learned, or not, goes up to parents, and then teachers, and then to principals, and school districts -- then to the state and federal levels. At each level, the opportunity to innovate, experiment, challenge, etc. becomes more diffuse and less subject to individual control (and to common sense). And, until we are Borg, and resistance is futile -- we ought to be pulling it all back down as close to local/individual control as we can.
In the end, I trust the "questing human spirit" far more than any bureaucracy, and its cost efficiencies, consensus building, etc.
But I am now so far from discussing SAT scores that I had better stop.
WV now says "disourph" -- which I think means, she only gives out "real words" once every 40 ro 50 times -- and RELEVANT real words are scarce as hens' teeth.
reader said…
I'm not so opposed to AP/SAT exams, it's the actual coursework and machinery behind it. We've got all these courses which are basically "teach to the test" machines. Do we really need 20 or 30 "teach to the test" AP classes? And now, colleges are expecting students to take as many as possible to be admitted. How ridiculous. They want a widget. I find that pretty stifling, right up there with KIPP.
Patrick said…
Yes, Jan, I'm not so bothered by the AP exams in math and science, because they have a defined body of knowledge that they need to teach. But what if, say, Texas decides the AP history exams shouldn't include those incidents that show the U.S. in a bad light? No Philippine war, no trail of tears, no Japanese-American internment camps, no legally-required segregation even in northern cities like Seattle?
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