Washington State Test Results

The pass rates for the Measure of Student Progress (MSP) and High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) have been released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and can be found here.

You can also use that web page to get results for districts or schools.

There isn't much to say about the results for Seattle Public Schools. The pass rates for reading are up in four grades and down in three grades. The pass rates for math are up in four grades and down in three grades. The pass rates for writing are down in all three of the grades in which writing is tested. Science is also tested in three grades and is down in one and up in two. In short, there is no change worth noting.

More to the point, these results represent extremely poor progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan, "Excellence for All". There are just three years until 2012-2013, the school year when the plan is supposed to bring the District to its five year goals.

3rd grade reading, 2012-2013 goal: 88%, 2009-2010 result: 74.5%, year-over-year change: +1.2%

7th grade math, 2012-2013 goal: 80%, 2009-2010 result: 64.2%, year-over-year change: +7.9%

10th grade reading, 2012-2013 goal: 95%, 2009-2010 result: 74.8%, year-over-year change: -6.8%

10th grade math, 2012-2013 goal: 82%, 2009-2010 result: 44.8%, year-over-year change: -4.1%

10th grade writing, 2012-2013 goal: 95%, 2009-2010 result: 83.5%, year-over-year change: -1.4%

10th grade science, 2012-2013 goal: 80%, 2009-2010 result: 46.4%, year-over-year change: +4.9%

We are not making the progress that we need to make to reach the goals. Not by long way. The Board will get their quarterly update on the Strategic Plan on September 8. I presume that this data, and the obvious conclusion that we are not on pace, will be included in that report. What adjustment will the District make to increase the MSP and HSPE pass rates to reach the goals?


ARB said…
I'd like to pass on info being circulated on the Seattle Special Ed PTSA listserv (on Yahoo, edited for length):

"OSPI has published MSP/HSPE test results for 2010. How are our special education students doing? ... 9% pass math and science in 10th grade. ... 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)... Where's the accountability for students with IEPs?"

However you feel about required testing, these statistics are shocking to me.
ParentofThree said…
What I find most concerning about test results is math. District wide 3rd grade shows a 68.6% pass rate, 10th grade 44.8%. This means the longer a student stays in SPS Math the less likely they will pass the exam, the one year when it counts the most.

For the 2008/09 year, same trend. 3rd grade = 71.4%, 10th=48.9%

For the 2007/09 3rd=73.6%, 10th=50.4%.

So what is happening grades 4th - 9th math? And is anybody looking at this trend?

And as the years go by, less 3rd graders are initially passing and less 10th graders are passing. Another distrubing trend.
Charlie Mas said…
Director Martin-Morris has been doing a lot of work lately around the process for schools to seek waivers from using the Board-adopted materials.

One of his primary interests is not only setting the criteria for allowing the waivers, but also setting criteria for revoking them. If the student outcomes with the alternative materials don't meet pre-determined benchmarks, then the school's waiver will be revoked and they must return to using the Board-adopted materials. He really wants to monitor the outcomes when the alternative materials are used.

Oddly, he is not interested in keeping eye on the outcomes with the Board-adopted materials. Not only are there no benchmarks for outcomes using the Board-adopted materials but he has specifically stated that the use of Board-adopted materials will continue to the end of the seven-year cycle without regard to outcomes.
ParentofThree said…
And it would appear that the board adopted math materials....are not working over the course of a students math education. At least that is my read.
Unknown said…

There are two ways to spin the data (aka lie with statistics).

You laid out one scenario. We could also say that the current crop of kids are doing far better in math than the last crop, so the current curriculum is a wild success. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

The data set we would really need to test these claims is how the current 10th graders did when they were in 3rd grade. If they were also at about 70% pass rates, then we'd guess that the current curriculum might be an issue, especially if there were a crash in test scores recently. If they were at 40% pass rates, then we could say the new curriculum is likely better. Of course, we won't know for sure until the current 3rd graders are in 10th grade.

And there's always a high probability that there are several factors that all play a major role.
ParentofThree said…
OK, fair enough. This years 10th graders were in 3rd for the 02/2003 test year. That year they did not test third graders. So the first year we have data for this cohort is 03/2004, 4th grade. Here is how this cohort has tracked:

4th grade = 59.6%
5th grade = not tested
6th grade = 49.3
7th grade 53.3
8th grade = 53.8
9th grade = not tested
10th grade = 44.8

Shows the same trend.
Maureen said…
I'm not sure it is at all meaningful to compare the 2010 HSPE/MSP scores to past years' WASL scores. The test has changed quite a bit. Do we know if the new test was designed to have scores reliably comparable to the old (I would hope so, but...)
ParentofThree said…
"And there's always a high probability that there are several factors that all play a major role."

There are always outliers in any test data. But at some point you have to look at your data and make some assumptions.

I also know that as far as curriculum goes, this 10th grade group has had the reform/inquiry based math throughout. (TERC/CMP for K-8.) It is too soon to make a judgement about Discovery Math, but I wouldn't put any money on its success.

I guess I would like to see somebody spin my analysis to show that the math IS working for our students.
wseadawg said…
A Republican would reason that we need even more tax cuts, and believing we haven't cut taxes enough.

An Edu-Reformer would say we need even more reform, believing current reforms haven't gone far enough.

A heroin user would seek a greater dose of heroin.

An alcoholic would consume more alcohol.

Only a rational person would recognize the circularity of such reasoning, and that the hole they were digging was getting ever deeper. That excludes all of the above.
Patrick said…
Isn't it typical for test scores to drop in higher grades, regardless of the district or the textbooks they use?
dan dempsey said…
About Math...

High School (with Discovering) definitely worse in 2010 for Black Students and Limited English Speakers. Remember $800,000 for books and $400,000 for professional development produced these high school results.... not to mention the $11 million in academic coaches for teachers sprinkled about.

The MSP used 3 through 8 is the first time the New 2008 Math Standards have been tested.

The HSPE at high school still tests the old math standards. It will be gone next year when course ending Math assessments are used (I believe).

It was easy to evaluate "Discovering" before adoption. It sucks.

The Math Adoption lawsuit filed on June 5, 2009 looked at likely consequences for Limited English Speakers and Black students.... well they happen.

Rainier Beach switched from College Prep Math and saw the following for Black students.

Pass Rate "09"= 15.6% => 3.9% in"10"

Level 1 "09"= 64.5% =>80.4% in"10"
The Pass rate for Limited English speakers that was horrible at Cleveland and Garfield with IMP and which the SPS gurus led the Board to believe would get better .....(Got worse).

Here is the two year average of 08 and 09 compared with 2010

Pass rate:
Cleve from 2.4% => 0.0%
Garfi from 8.35% => 0.0%
Sealth from 8.85% => 0.0%
West S from 15.65% => 6.70%
Frankl from 16.45% => 13.20%

Level 1 + No Scores:
Cleve from 75.8% => 86.7%
Garfi from 64.1% => 76.5%
Sealth from 84.9% => 82.6%
West S from 73.25% => 83.3%
Frankl from 77.25% => 71.0%

Average of 08 and 09 compared to 2010
Black Student Pass rates:
RBHS from 15.6% => 3.9%
Cleve from 15.05% => 5.7%
Garfi from 26.15% => 16.70%

Average of 08 and 09 compared to 2010
Black Student Level 1 + No Score:
RBHS from 64.5% => 82.4%
Cleve from 70.1% => 71.6%
Garfi from 53.0% => 62.0%

For Pass Rates in Math if we take the cohort average from grades 7 and 8 (years 07 & 08) then compare with the 10th grade score(2010) we get this:

White students 59% => 47% ratio .79
Black Students 24% => 12% ratio .50

Here is George Will's thought on this.

Write me if you want the Giant Excel Sheet I made ...
dan dempsey said…
Patrick asked:
"Isn't it typical for test scores to drop in higher grades, regardless of the district or the textbooks they use?"

Lots of variables is your question.
In regard to Seattle Definitely.

Drop outs would tend to have a positive effect as they are no longer in the tested pool in grade 10.

Complete failure to provide effective interventions and mindless belief in "Differentiated Instruction" that continues to fail in math when skill gaps become enormous.. certainly lowers scores as kids become progressively more confused.

Middle School failure to apply classroom disruption law RCW 28A 600.020 contributes to producing a chaotic situation.

The SPS math situation is completely out of control and yet the board would be willing to believe that Value Added Models for teacher performance (test kids to evaluate teachers)is what is needed.

What math teacher or any teacher that teaches math in the SPS would be willing to be evaluated based on any outcomes when forced to use this complete crap in a totally pathetic k-12 math system?

Note UW CoE et al can also share blame for pushing this crap.

So Director's Carr, Sunquist, Martin-Morris, and Maier will continue to push this crap regardless of court decisions or test scores.
dan dempsey said…
Now that we find that Discovering is continuing the Math Implosion at Cleveland .... next comes the ridiculous New Technology Network approach to math at Cleveland that has yet to work anywhere. NTN was a complete disaster at New Tech Sacramento, where Sundquist and Martin-Morris visited.

Again we saw Carr, Sundquist, Martin-Morris, and Maier refusing to use evidence in voting for NTN.
Charlie Mas said…
Here's what I would reason:

Without change in our practices, we won't see changes in our results.

The numbers we see here - for the District as well as the state - reflect a distribution of outcomes for students that is essentially where they have always been since the beginning of public school. There has been some incremental improvement, but not a lot.

Despite ten years of hand-wringing about WASL pass rates, graduation rates, and the academic achievement gap, none of them have improved. Clearly hand-wringing is not proving an effective means for positive change.

The Education Reform fans mostly focus on the teachers' contract. We could change the way that teachers are evaluated, rewarded, and dismissed, but that won't change anything for students. In the vast majority of cases it won't change their teacher and in no case will it change the teaching.

A few of the proposed reforms and projects in the Strategic Plan promise change for students. Unfortunately, the local version of these reforms have been either horribly short-cut (we got standardization as a cheap substitute for curricular alignment) or horribly short-changed (Response to Intervention was gutted and abandoned).

I do believe that these outcomes can be improved, but only through a much more rational and radical set of changes.

At the risk of over-simplifying this, the first step is to identify the students who are not working at Standard. The next step to do something different for those students than we are now doing - something that will help them get to Standard.

Astonishingly, Seattle Public Schools doesn't do that. The District doesn't identify struggling students and the District doesn't help them. Instead, the District identifies struggling schools - schools with a lot of struggling students - and sends the help to the schools in the form of teacher coaches to help the teachers. Well that's stupid. The schools aren't struggling, the students are. For all we know, the schools may be doing great. And the teachers don't need coaches, the students do. Ah, well.

And what could be done for these students that would be effective? Not more of what we have been doing.

When I heard about Response to Intervention I thought it could be just what we needed, but it has been abandoned and is no longer discussed. There was no clear decision to abandon it; it has just faded away.

I have proposed before - and would still support - the creation of a program with an extended day, week, and year, with smaller class sizes, and with lots of enrichment. The sole purpose and design of the program would be to quickly get students up to grade level and return them to their general education classroom.

Were the District to implement such a program I believe that they could get every student up to grade level - on Standard and passing the MSP and the HSPE - wihtin three years.

I don't understand why Reform efforts are so focused on making changes in the teachers' paychecks instead of classrooms. That's where a real difference can be made.
Central Mom said…
How did the Everett schools, lauded in a previous Seattle Times article this year, do on the new tests? Folks may remember that this is the District which intervened in a manner much as Charlie proposes in the post above mine.
Patrick said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said…
Sure, struggling kids who drop out completely would raise the 10th grade passing rate. But it seems intuitively that more kids start having trouble in high school -- the work gets harder and other life issues become bigger problems. Are there other school districts where the passing rate does not decrease between elementary school and high school?
Charlie Mas said…
HSPE pass rates for the Everett School District:

- Everett 81.6%, down 3.9%
- Seattle 74.8%, down 6.8%

- Everett 44.9%, down 7.1%
- Seattle 44.8%, down 4.1%

- Everett 88.1%, down 0.3%
- Seattle 83.5%, down 1.4%

- Everett 53.8%, up 3.1%
- Seattle 46.4%, up 4.9%

So in every category the pass rate in Everett is better than the pass rate in Seattle. In Reading and Writing the year-over-year change is better in Everett than Seattle. In Math and Science the year-over-year change is better in Seattle.

Is that helpful?
wseadawg said…
Charlie, you hit it out of the park. I've stood by astonished myself at the top down nature of reform efforts aimed at schools instead of students.

I don't get it. Perhaps it's as simple as people not wanting to identify or call out actual struggling students, but believing instead that if they enrich the waters in the environment enough, they can just immerse or dip kids in it, and they'll magically be cured.

The interventions are so indirect for so many struggling kids, they never reach their target.

On the other hand, my kids attend a school with a fair amount of before and after school enrichment programs, and while I can't comment on how well they work, I can say I've witnessed my kids' UNION TEACHERS working very hard to help the struggling kids in the school, often committing early morning hours to read and tutor children who aren't in their class.

They know what works and what's best for the kids. Too bad nobody listens to them, but instead try to redo the framework of their employment, presuming non-teachers know better than teachers what is needed.

From Arne Duncan (who never taught) to Michelle Rhee (who taught for 2 years), the idea that they are leaders or experts worthy of serious influence in education is preposterous on its face.

And so it goes...
Jan said…
Thanks for the Everett information, Charlie. I was curious about that as well. I will have to go back and read that article in full, but my recollection is that the "goal" at Everett was to increase the graduation rate hopefully in 4 years, but if not, then in 5 (which includes satisfying the WASL/HSPE requirement, but is not limited to that). A lot of what was discussed was getting dropped out kids to come back, keeping discouraged kids IN by providing support to get them up to passing level grades, etc. I don't recall much discussion of the WASLHSPE, though maybe it was there.

When I looked at the scores yesterday, I couldn't immediately tell whether they were ONLY for sophomores, or whether they also included scores for jrs and srs who might be taking the tests a second or third time. Those results, wherever they are, would be very relevant to evaluating the effect that the Everett program has had on test passage results.
dan dempsey said…
Note: Everett uses "Discovering" for High School Math and has for some years.
dan dempsey said…
South Whidbey like Seattle adopted "Discovering" last year.

10th Grade Math
Year District State
1998-99 WASL 34.5% 33.0%
1999-00 WASL 45.6% 35.0%
2000-01 WASL 36.5% 38.9%
2001-02 WASL 46.1% 37.3%
2002-03 WASL 53.2% 39.4%
2003-04 WASL 52.5% 43.9%
2004-05 WASL 53.5% 47.5%
2005-06 WASL 68.8% 51.0%
2006-07 WASL 59.0% 50.4%
2007-08 WASL 52.3% 49.6%
2008-09 WASL 48.2% 45.4%
2009-10 HSPE 41.4% 41.6%

So I wonder what they are thinking about that choice?
Jan said…
Ah, yes, Dan -- I had not thought about what curriculum they might have. Foolish me.
I recall that a lot of their efforts went into two things: (1) hiring a group of paraprofessionals to follow up, one on one, with kids in danger of failing to graduate or of dropping out (or who had dropped out), and (2) periodic brainstorming/reporting meetings of all the principals of high schools, to try to come up with practical ideas for moving the ball forward and share what seemed to be working or not. Plus a bunch of other small, but arguably effective stuff. Nothing as expensive (or helpful) as changing to a better curriculum -- but progress in getting kids out of high school, at least.
Jan said…
Boy -- I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the Superintendents office of the South Whidby district! At one point, 5 years ago, they had math passage rates of almost 70%. That gives them a drop of more than 27 percentage points, and (from where they started) a drop of almost 40%. At least I think it does (-- I worry about trying out my rusty ability to come up with correct interpretations in this crowd, but someone will set me straight if I am wrong, I don't doubt).
Even if the 68% year is thrown out as anomalous, the drops from 06-07 and from last year to this year, are pretty large.
Jan said…
Charlie: what was Response to Intervention? Any chance they might resurrect it? Did it predate MGJ, or was it one of her early initiatives?

Any chance that would be a good question for Kay Smith-Blum when she has her community meeting later this month? (I hope to be able to attend).
dan dempsey said…
I had an extended conversation with a curriculum guy at South Whidbey just as they were starting to use "Discovering". He said they had really gone whole "Reform Hog" with TERC. CMP, and Core-Plus.

The WASL scores were reasonable but the Math remediation rates for kids in College were unacceptably high.

They settled on "Discovering" because coming from k-8 reform they doubted the kids could do "Authentic Algebra" so they went with "Discovering" as a "four to five" year bridge to Real High School math. They hoped that major revisions to k-8 would enable kids to do real High School math eventually.

Here are grade 4 results:
4th Grade Math
Year District State
1996-97 WASL 18.8% 21.4%
1997-98 WASL 33.9% 31.2%
1998-99 WASL 34.8% 37.3%
1999-00 WASL 56.9% 41.8%
2000-01 WASL 33.3% 43.4%
2001-02 WASL 48.1% 51.8%
2002-03 WASL 49.0% 55.2%
2003-04 WASL 56.4% 59.9%
2004-05 WASL 55.2% 60.8%
2005-06 WASL 56.6% 58.9%
2006-07 WASL 52.5% 58.1%
2007-08 WASL 39.9% 53.6%
2008-09 WASL 63.0% 52.3%
2009-10 MSP 40.2% 53.6%

and grade 7:
7th Grade Math
Year District State
1997-98 WASL 19.1% 20.1%
1998-99 WASL 24.4% 24.2%
1999-00 WASL 39.7% 28.2%
2000-01 WASL 37.6% 27.4%
2001-02 WASL 31.1% 30.4%
2002-03 WASL 42.6% 36.8%
2003-04 WASL 46.4% 46.3%
2004-05 WASL 52.2% 50.8%
2005-06 WASL 51.3% 48.5%
2006-07 WASL 54.9% 54.6%
2007-08 WASL 56.2% 50.5%
2008-09 WASL 49.6% 51.8%
2009-10 MSP 56.6% 55.2%

Well at least grade 7 came out OK.
Check out Singapore Math at grade 5 with Craig Parsley at Schmitz Park.

5th Grade Math
Year School District State
2005-06 WASL 75.5% 57.0% 55.8%
2006-07 WASL 75.4% 63.2% 59.5%
2007-08 WASL 87.8% 66.4% 61.2%
2008-09 WASL 86.2% 67.7% 61.9%
2009-10 MSP 94.5% 59.8% 53.6%

Note: here is the breakout for SP in grade 5 math 2010:

level 4 65.50%
level 3 29.10%
level 2 1.80%
level 1 3.60%
no score 0.0%

So does the District have a response for Schmitz Park school that uses none of the District's Math coaches and doesn't give a rip about the lame SPS professional Development or the defective SPS adopted Everyday Math program?

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. Your move SPS Central Admin.
dan dempsey said…
Highline also adopted Discovering:

10th Grade Math
Year District State
1998-99 WASL 28.2% 33.0%
1999-00 WASL 29.5% 35.0%
2000-01 WASL 34.6% 38.9%
2001-02 WASL 31.3% 37.3%
2002-03 WASL 33.9% 39.4%
2003-04 WASL 34.6% 43.9%
2004-05 WASL 38.3% 47.5%
2005-06 WASL 39.2% 51.0%
2006-07 WASL 37.7% 50.4%
2007-08 WASL 37.0% 49.6%
2008-09 WASL 34.5% 45.4%
2009-10 HSPE 31.6% 41.6%
dan dempsey said…
Mount Rainier High School in Highline

10th Grade Math
Year School District State
1998-99 WASL 44.8% 28.2% 33.0%
1999-00 WASL 35.3% 29.5% 35.0%
2000-01 WASL 35.9% 34.6% 38.9%
2001-02 WASL 44.6% 31.3% 37.3%
2002-03 WASL 41.0% 33.9% 39.4%
2003-04 WASL 41.0% 34.6% 43.9%
2004-05 WASL 45.1% 38.3% 47.5%
2005-06 WASL 49.6% 39.2% 51.0%
2006-07 WASL 61.6% 37.7% 50.4%
2007-08 WASL 47.4% 37.0% 49.6%
2008-09 WASL 39.9% 34.5% 45.4%
2009-10 HSPE 36.9% 31.6% 41.6%

seattle citizen said…
Jan, Response to Intervention (RtI) is a tool that offers a pyramid of response to student "not-at-levelness"

It is, mainly (as all things seem to be, lately ) directed at students who are struggling. It could be used for above-level, too, but as we know, the push for the "reform" that is now happening mainly comes from the parent/guardians of students below level (or those who purport to speak for them, Our Schools or Tim Burgess, for instance)

RtI has at the base of the pyramid (the biggest part, the broad part) response in the classroom: Teacher notes "problem" (I think, as mentioned above, the "problem" focused on would be academic, not behavioral, though personally I would use it for both). Teacher "intervenes" with various strategies. Second level is more intensive intervention (hence, middle of pyramid, fewer incidences of this) which might require outside interventions IN the classroom. Top level (lowest incidence) is moving the student to some outside support.

My feeling is that RtI is directed mainly at academic, because it fits in with the whole differntiation piece of this new systemizing of education: Teacher, in an ugly, extreme example, would be handed script. Teacher would teach. Teacher would note divergences from script in individual students (not understanding....not focused...nodding off...) and intervene with a planned (and documented, in some academic sense in "keeping track" of one's efforts) intervention that came from some packaged (and aligned?) "toolkit" Teacher would, I suppose, reteach or reassess (or both) to ensure efficacy of intervention. If it didn't work or was too serious teacher would call in the cavalry, and that, too, would be the scripted intervention (and I'm using script as an extreme...I mean "programatic; with the program (alignment, curriculum, assessment, evaluation...) and if THAT didn't work, then student is sent off for help.

Of course, this requires the various non-teacher supports be present. It also seems to suggest a programmed system of response to make it all part of the plan, but I could be guessing on that point.

I wonder how RtI fits into teacher evaluation: If a teacher documents an "issue" with a student, and goes through levels of intervention, and the student STILL doesn't "perform" (like the trained seals we know them to be) will that student count in the student growth measures of teacher evaluation?

Which brings us to differentiation: When a teacher gets a student who just doesn't get, documents that, TRIES to differentiate to instruct that student (all the while meeting 29 other student "levels") and student just doesn't learn anything, should the teacher be dinged?

Or will this be taken care of in the "data analysis" tying "growth" to teaching? After all, they promise to use categories to manipulate the data regarding a teacher: If the teacher has, say, 15% Black students, evidently there will be a formula that says, well, Black students don't learn as well, so we won't hold teacher to the same learning growth outcome as teacher's White students, so instead of being only 50% "quality," teacher is 60% quality."

Look at the tentative contract. It's all in their: If a teacher has these "sub groups," these will mitigate a teacher's lower overall score: This means that it will be assumed that "sub groups" don't learn as well, or are a tougher nut, or are otherwise not to be counted as severely when evaluating a teacher.

Not only is this VAM system full of uncertainties, but it's racist and classist, too.

But I've seen for awhile that the misuse of student categories is racist and classist. No surprise there.
dan dempsey said…
Charlie believes that interventions for under-performing kids are needed but the district does Zip.

So we have seen the Coaching of teachers. The extensive Professional Development. The purchase of a vertically aligned set of materials. We have listened to too many hours of rambling and where are we?

Right Here for grade 10 math:
2007-08 WASL 50.4% 49.6%
2008-09 WASL 48.9% 45.4%
2009-10 HSPE 44.8% 41.6%

I would venture to say after spending all the bucks and watching SPS scores decline by 5.6% while the state declined by 8%. We need a better plan and better leaders both on a District and on a State level.
seattle citizen said…
strange. I posted a half hour a response to Jan's questionabout RtI.

I saw it up, now it's gone. I don't think it's being deleted, I think it's just....*poof*

anyone else having this problem? Happened to me 45 minutes ago on the contract thread.
Sahila said…
Seattle Citizen... I had a whole day of that a couple of days ago...three, four, five attempts to post something... they would appear for a half a minute or so and then be gone...

Seems fine now...
spedvocate said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
spedvocate said…
Response to Intervention is not dead. It's being piloted at a number of schools right now. I saw a slide show on it. The 2 schools I remember being RTTI schools are McClure Middle and Montlake, I'm sure there are more. The presenter was pretty hazy on what it actually was, so there wasn't much detail. It was heavy on the shapes (triangles and arrows) on a powerpoint presentation. But, it is incorrect to say it's dead.

I have proposed before - and would still support - the creation of a program with an extended day, week, and year, with smaller class sizes, and with lots of enrichment. The sole purpose and design of the program would be to quickly get students up to grade level and return them to their general education classroom.

So... you mean something like "special ed"? Isn't that what special ed is already? There's already extended day (for some), and extended year (for many), and extended school length(for all) up to age 21. There's already reduced class size. How does 13 sound? Sounds great, doesn't it? Enrichment, by all means! Every special ed class is as enriched as the teacher can dream up. And that "quickly bring them up" and put them back into general ed, also a goal of special ed. But, we see how well that works.

So, who would go into this "special ed" light, and who would go into plain old special ed? I can answer, special ed students would of course be entitled to this "special ed" light, as they are entitled to all programs available to everyone else. That is, it would be illegal to discriminate against disabled participation. How would this become anything other than another type self-contained special ed classroom? Or, at the very least, a disproportionately disabled classroom. How are those working out? (hint. not so good)

For all the data lovers, the intervention thing just doesn't cut it. Since I have shown that this would essentially be another type of self-contained special ed classroom, we have loads and loads of evidence showing that performance never really improve there. And, people don't ever really exit these self-contained special education classrooms, more simply join and are stuck there. Having a disproportionately impoverished, segregated environment does nothing good.

Better to stick to firing the teachers. It's just as good.
seattle said…
Spedvocate what is your idea for helping students (all of them not just special ed) that are working below, and far below, grade level?
Charlie Mas said…
Want to see a bright spot in the test scores?

A really bright spot?

How about a Seattle public school with 5th grade MSP pass rates of 88.9% for reading (district average 70.4%), 94.5% for math (district average 59.8%), and 81.5% for science (district average 40.5%)?

This school is Whiter than the district average and has fewer FRE, ELL, and Special Ed students than the District average. But the school does not have APP or Spectrum or even an ALO. It is a regular attendance area neighborhood school in a middle class neighborhood. Can you guess which school it is?

Take a moment and guess.

You will find it here.
spedvocate said…
Rabbit, from an educational perspective, there is no magical distinction between having an IEP, and not having one. Sometimes it is simply a matter of parental preference. If something works for students with IEPs, it works. You can teach to a broad range of learners, or choose not to. We will not ever close any achievement gap without doing something about students with IEPs. It is a hole sucking up any student underperforming. You can't fix the problem, when you can always just throw the problem in the available hole.

What should we do? For starters, desegregation. We know segregation doesn't work. Charlie's model already has many examples. They haven't seemed to produce anything notable. We've got millions of flavors of self-containment at all levels. We've got blended things in middle school and high school. We had them in K. They practice all sorts of "intervention". (That seems to be his basic proposal) They do all sorts of enrichment. The basic issue is that deficits based education doesn't work. You can't "fix" people, or "intervene" and straighten them out. Clustering students by deficits doesn't work either. If something were to have worked, wouldn't we have found it by now? Wouldn't that "intervention", whatever it was, just become the norm?

Why not follow the model of Eckstein? They have many struggling learners there: autistic, EBD students, deaf students, learning disabled students. In short, the most difficult students. They have co-teaching available to all students, and there's never pullout. All teachers, teach everyone. From my experience, we've got to move away from lecture based education and into a system of varied sized groupings of instruction. You see lectures everywhere you go. How ineffective is that? And, who wants to hear it? Not me. You've got to use multiple approaches. Figure out what works, with who, and keep trying until you get it.
Charlie Mas said…
The problem with Special Education, or skill-based grouping, or tracking, or whatever it is called, isn't in the segregation of students, it is in the rigidity of the groups.

Kids go into Special Education or the slow track without any exit strategy. In fact, they often go in without any exit criteria.

What is needed here is change in expectations. We not only have to know how students change tracks, but, in the case of the remedial track, we need an expectation that they will return to the general education classroom - and quickly!

Creating skill-based groupings isn't an innovation. Neither is small class sizes or extended time on task, or extended day, week and year. The innovation is the expectation that the program assignment is strictly temporary. The innovation is that the whole focus of the program is to return the student to the general education classroom - and to place them there with the tools they need to succeed there.

To give up on the idea of intervention is to give up on these students ever reaching Standard. I'm not ready to do that.

Would it be adopted universally if it worked? Of course not! Why in the world would anyone expect that? Do we ever see duplication of successful programs?

Look at the success that Maple Elementary has been achieving. Why isn't every other school in the District - let alone every other in the country - with a similar demographic doing what Maple does? Because they don't. Schools don't work like that.
spedvocate said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
spedvocate said…
Again. More self-contained special ed. Where exactly is that working? The special ed audit found that skill based groupings are THE problem. Based on the evidence from our special ed programs, that failure is pretty obvious. Right! Skill based groupings isn't an innovation, it is the problem. And it's everywhere already. Yes, there's an exit plan from special education. At a maximum, there's a complete re-evaluation every 3 years. So you want it sooner? That is already available on request or need. Don't you think everyone wants a speedy exit? Do you really think everyone can make lots and lots of progress just because it's a "goal"? How MJGish. And wrong about the "intervention" being the only road to standards. We've got intervention already. Loads and loads of it, programs like you describe, in every flavor, in many locations. They don't bring people to standards. Intervention is actually the problem. If the goals is to "bring people back to general education", do it immediately. In fact, don't leave. And that's exactly what I tell people who are stuck in these type of programs. Get out as fast as you can because it NEVER gets easier.

You don't think intervention is a problem because your child has never been subjected to it. Nobody has every tried to "fix" you kid with "interventions", most of which don't work, and only serve to get them further behind.

The one disabled kid I know at Maple, went there specifically to get avoid the programs you describe. It worked well for the student, and specifically because there was NO special-ed-lite type of thing there.

I'm not sure why you continuously laud this school. From test scores, it is exactly what one would expect. A mostly Asian/Hispanic school performing averagely. Very few whites or disabled. Asians are doing well. Blacks and Hispanics are not. Blacks and Limited English have caused the school to fail AYP. Isn't that exactly the stereotype we're trying to move beyond? Test scores aren't everything, in fact, there's so much more. And, I'm totally prepared to believe there's lots of good going on there, despite average tests.
spedvocate said…
Again. More self-contained special ed. And where exactly is that working out?

Yes. There are exit plans for special ed, required by law. Re-evaluation every 3 years at the most. Want it sooner? Also available as needed or as requested. Don't you think everybody already wants a speedy exit? Making speedy exit a goal, doesn't make it happen. How MJGish.

Ability based groupings isn't an innovation, it's the problem. And it's already everywhere. That was the finding of the special ed audit. Key finding: homogenous ability based groupings of flexible sizings, NOT self-contained segregation. And if you look at the results of your proposal, you'll see how poorly they have worked out.

Wrong also about intervention. It isn't the road to coming to standard, it's been the road to failure. We've been there, have it in many flavors, in many locations... it isn't working out. You aren't prepared to give up on intervention because your child hasn't been subjected to it.

But don't worry. You can certainly still have it. We've got it. It's not going away. Lucky for you, your kid won't have to do it. Funny how people always have so many recommendations when they've got no skin in the game.

I agree the goal is to get back to general education quickly. Right. Better yet. Don't leave. That's what I always tell people in those situations. (the ones you think should be more available) It NEVER gets easier to return to general ed. Do it now.
hschinske said…
"Again. More self-contained special ed. And where exactly is that working out?"

The Read Right program at Garfield, for one.

Personally I also see models for the kind of thing Charlie is talking about in the Rainier Scholars program and the two-years-in-one math class at Garfield that gets motivated students prepared to take calculus by the end of high school. The same thing is going on: intensive prep, then back in the game.

Countless parents can tell you about outside tutoring programs that help students get back on track. Many of these parents would have *jumped* at the chance to get the extra tutoring through the school district, I can tell you -- always supposing they could trust the district to do a decent job with it.

Generally speaking, it seems to me that Charlie isn't specifically talking about special ed, which quite obviously needs its own set of reforms: he's talking more about how to serve students who happen to be behind academically, but who could be motivated to get back on track if they really believed anyone would help them do that. Or are you claiming that there isn't a significant number of students in that category?

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
Correction: I meant the key finding was: heterogeneous ability based groupings.

Great if there are a few working programs. So, why list it as a need? (I wonder if they really do work all so wonderfully though. The posters aren't usually participants.) Generally speaking, they haven't. But it is illegal for those programs to descriminate against students with disabilities, including those with disabilites impacting motivation. And the issues aren't really much different.

spedvocate said…
Ranier Scholars is definitely NOT a segregated, deficits based remediation program that Charlie is proposing. The students have to be at standard to be admitted.

Yes, a segregated program. And like KIPP, that is sort of cherry picking results. It seems to be basically a path to private schools and colleges for minority students. Great! But, the existance of Rainer Scholars hasn't changed the achievement gap or addressed the problem of underacheivement, or brought anybody to standard. They were already at standard. I'm all for segregated programs if people select them, and if they're equitably available.

Read Right sounds great. But, lots of schools have similar things already. (probably most) Sound Partners. etc. It hasn't really effected persistent failiure to meet standard. And, Garfield has had it for a long time now. Still lots of failures. And, it also isn't the all encompassing self-containment Charlie proposes.
hschinske said…
"Ranier Scholars is definitely NOT a segregated, deficits based remediation program that Charlie is proposing. The students have to be at standard to be admitted."

The kids who qualify for Rainier Scholars are considered to have deficits in terms of the kinds of programs that they should be qualified for -- hence the tutoring. The difference isn't the level of achievement that they're going from and to. The difference is that there is a real expectation that they will change the level of their achievement. And they do.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
Spedvocate is correct-Rainier Scholars is intended to help minority students who are already acheiving to go even further, through intensive classes along with concentrated, one-on-one help for families who have never sent kids to college. The idea is to get them into APP and/or private school down the line and continue advising them as they apply to college. While they admit some kids already in a program like APP, that is because those students come from disadvantaged backgrounds or have parents who have not been to college, are single moms, low-income, etc.

That Charlie and others tout this program as a remedial program to close the achievement gap is a sign that they don't really know or understand it. It's a great program and it most certainly gets minority kids into traditionally overwhelmingly Caucasian settings such as APP and private school, but they are NOT kids who need to be moved up from failure.

And his continued insistance that some failing schools should replicate Maple is an indication that he doesn't understant that either-as you pointed out Sped-it continues to fail African American kids. It's also a largely open-concept building, where the noise level can be very overwhelming and certainly not a good fit for many kids, especially those who need a lot of one-on-one attention to improve. Again, while it works for some kids, it's not the best model for "saving" kids who are behind.

The funny thing is, Charlie and others who are practically grabbing torches and pitchforks over the use of test scores, particularly MAP, for, well, ANYTHING, use...test scores to show why Maple is so great and why Aki is so terrible. Go figure.

There's something else at work here besides just good programs vs. bad programs, good teachers vs. bad teachers, and even (yes, EVEN, Dan, "good" math vs. "bad math). It's more than parents supposedly not knowing how to or even bothering to want to help their kids succeed. It's more than caring vs. poor principals.

I don't have all the answers, but I do know that there are MANY families of color in South Seattle who DO encourage their children DO push them, DO seek outside help, but are not interested and DON'T WANT TO send their children to "escape" schools away from those around the corner from their homes. They send their kids to Dunlap, and Aki and Franklin and all they want are good teachers and interested principals with a culturally relavant curriculum taught by teachers who understand that.

They don't want "Maple 2" they want Dunlap (or Aki, or Van Asselt) done right. And I daresay, they don't want north Seattle "liberals" who haven't set foot in any of their schools or sat in on any of the programs they laud, telling them what they need.

It isn't special long days, double classes, all those nice, middle-class type field trips. It's something more-it might be a good idea to start ASKING, rather than TELLING the population everyone is wringing their hands over, what it is they WANT and than INCLUDING them in the solution.
hschinske said…
"That Charlie and others tout this program as a remedial program to close the achievement gap is a sign that they don't really know or understand it."

I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying, agibean. I gave Rainier Scholars as an example of a successful program that is ORGANIZED in the same way as what Charlie is proposing be done for remedial programs: intensive prep followed by re-placement at a higher level.

Yes, I do think that RS does something to close the achievement gap *at the high end* (though I don't remember ever specifically making a point of it). I don't suppose it has much effect on the achievement gap at lower levels, at least not in any direct way.

Helen Schinske

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