Tuesday, January 04, 2011

No Private Lesson on Colorado Growth Model

When Brad Bernatek presented to the Board on the changes in the School Reports, a couple of Board members asked for more instruction in the Colorado Growth Model. Mr. Bernatek told them that he would meet with them and provide it, but Mr. Bernatek is no longer with the District.

The Board members will not be getting that tutoring in the Colorado Growth Model. Not by Mr. Bernatek, and, apparently, not by anyone else.


Melissa Westbrook said...

We'll see. Sherry and Kay were pretty clear on this point and if the staff wants to continue in this direction, the Board needs to know how to clearly explain it to constituents. How about our other Broadie, Jessica de Barros or one of the people who helped Brad with his presentation at the Road Map conference?

Charlie Mas said...

Apparently the staff might back down from the Colorado Growth Model. I have proposed a method that I'm still showing as my avatar that would show the scores for the current year and the scores for the previous year sorted by Level 1, 2, 3, and 4.

I'm not sure who to sell the idea to because I'm not sure who controls the report. Is it Ms de Barros?

Melissa Westbrook said...

She has a new position so no, I don't think she's the right person. Ask Dr. Enfield would be my guess.

Maureen said...

This is a job for the new Board Manager. This is exactly what a Policy Analysis degree teaches you to do so presumably the new hire won't have any trouble translating it to the Board. They can start here.

Of course, they will still have to check in with staff to make sure SPS is applying it correctly. Let's hope Bernatek left good notes and an email address.

Bird said...

The Board members will not be getting that tutoring in the Colorado Growth Model. Not by Mr. Bernatek, and, apparently, not by anyone else.

Mr. Bernatek wasn't the only one who understood this statistic, was he?

If not, someone else should be able to step in for the tutoring.

Lori said...

I agree, Bird. But either way, the district doesn't look good.

If the metric is so complicated that only one person could possibly explain it to the Board, then what in the world was it doing on the school reports?

Conversely, if others understand it and it was important enough to put on those reports, why the stonewalling about explaining it?

Lori said...

and to clarify, Charlie, how do you know that no one else is going to give the tutorial? I assume you've been in touch with the board members and asked to participate? Did one of them confirm to you that there will be no such tutorial?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd be willing to bet money that no one on staff has contacted any Board member about a tutorial. Might be a good question to ask.

Charlie Mas said...

Lori is exactly correct.
I have been in touch with the board members and asked to participate. One of them told me that there will be no such tutorial.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's face it, if the Board members want instruction on the statistic then it has no business on the school report. This is the only statistic on the report that they wanted tutoring to understand and they wanted that tutoring AFTER the statistic was explained to them.

dan dempsey said...

So here are the highlights from above:

"Of course, they will still have to check in with staff to make sure SPS is applying it correctly."

"If the metric is so complicated that only one person could possibly explain it to the Board, then what in the world was it doing on the school reports?"

Hey if it is not complicated enough, it is just too easy to figure out how they are lying.

Here is my latest post on:

Grade Inflation: in Grade 8 Math
Some schools inflate grades
more than others

Grade inflation is just another way of lying. The inflation is the worst at low income high minority schools.

Middle school math is pretty sad but that "8th graders ready for High School Math", which the district figured for school report cards is worthless.

It simply gives the percentage of 8th graders earning a C or better in grade level math courses or above level for Grade 8.

Note in 2009 Madrona 8th graders were 100% ready for HS math and yet only 15% could pass the OSPI math WASL.

Seems like there are sure a lot of lessons the Board needs to receive, if they are interested in the truth.

Of course in many instances some Directors ignore the truth.

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

Score one for honesty? To give a lesson means Brad knows how to explain it?

Everyone involved in running or reforming Ed thinks that education naturally follows a lower standard. All teachers are idiots, so let's lower the standards for everyone. Do what Brad did. Make it up and bet you won't be asked to explain. The lies don't matter. You'll walk into a better job either way. A few board members will question, but most will inevitably vote with the majority.

It's perfect for everyone except the teachers who are better than their superiors, and the kids who still look up to adults for assistance in mastering skills, a little mentoring?

Where do these Broad Brains fail upward once they fix the achievement gap for SPS?

klh said...

I googled "Colorado Growth Model FAQs" and found several informative sites. Really hope the Board does the same if there isn't anyone at the District who can explain it to them. Although I'm sure it's difficult to calculate, the concept isn't that hard to understand.

It's another one of those statistics that compares students among themselves on percentiles. It is looking at growth (or change in test scores) rather than absolute test scores. First, it groups students by their historic scores (meaning it will put the kids scoring "unsatisfactory" together with others with the same scores, and will group the "proficient" with others who also score "proficient" before it does its next calculations). Then it looks at the growth, on state tests, of the students in each group. Some students will show growth that is average (50th percentile) for kids in their group. Others will not grow as much, and still others will show greater growth than average.

I assume that it is important to Colorado to track growth compared to academic peers, instead of change in absolute test scores. Not sure why this is important enough to do these very elaborate calculations, though. I'm a fan of having good, clear standards and measuring progress toward those standards - and not much else. I don't really care if my kid is progressing faster or slower than the other kids - only that he's progressing and that he will get to where he needs to be at the end.

My understanding probably isn't very thorough, but I'm pretty sure this is going in the right direction.

The Colorado Growth Model is statistic focused on percentiles, which IMO has limited value. No matter how well or poorly all the students do, there will be some scoring at the 5th percentile and other scoring at the 95th percentile. Being in the 5th percentile of a group in which everyone is doing well enough to ace the SAT's is not a problem...whereas being in the 95th percentile at a school where no one even scores in the 400s on the SAT's is not very impressive. (See Dan's posts about schools saying that kids are ready for math but can't pass the tests.)

I had hopes that MAP was going to be a test that would at least track increases in actual achievement through time (those mysterious RIT scores), rather than just percentile comparisons. Oh, well...since that test doesn't test our curriculum or state standards it has limited value as well.

Maureen said...

Thank you klh.

The problems I see with applying the Colorado Growth Model in Seattle is that (1)we don't have state level (MAP) scores to compare District progress to and (2) MAP is not aligned to state standards. That is why (1)it always looks as though the District is making 66% progress and (2) school level growth may mean absolutely nothing at all.

I would do the tutorial myself for the price of a latte if the Board could guarantee REA would answer my questions about how it's been applied. But there is no need for that--their new manager will have access to staff and should have the skills to do it.

I assume that is what the Board member Charlie talked to meant--they won't need a staff member to provide a tutorial because they have their own analyst now?

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