Tuesday Open Thread

Uh oh, testing in Tennessee came to a crashing halt yesterday, after the state spend $108M for on-line testing.  From Diane Ravitch via Nashville NPR:
The state commissioner, a huge fan of Common Core, blamed the vendor. She told schools to go back to the “worst case scenario,” that is, pencil and paper testing.
 The worry is that their computer system for testing cannot "perform consistently."  This comes on the heels of the story that students who took PARCC tests on paper did better than those who did on a computer so see, maybe a silver linings.   Hilarious comment from those involved:
"It is true that this [pattern exists] on average, but that doesn't mean it occurred in every state, school, and district on every one of the tests," Jeffrey Nellhaus, PARCC's chief of assessment, said in an interview.
Hmmm, maybe this guy doesn't realize how the pattern got there "on average." Someday, all of Common Core may be the silver linings playbook for those who are the glass half-full types.

What about the SAT? Shades of our old state test, the WASL.  From the NY Times:
Chief among the changes, experts say: longer and harder reading passages and more words in math problems. The shift is leading some educators and college admissions officers to fear that the revised test will penalize students who have not been exposed to a lot of reading, or who speak a different language at home — like immigrants and the poor.
SPS is also asking for help in conservation/recycling and has a good webpage, Utility Conservation Programs, how your student's school can do it.  Your school can get money back from the district in some programs.

Nearly 200 black men came to support the National African-American Parent Involvement Day yesterday at South Shore Pre-K-8.  They had hoped for 100 so it was a great show of support for the school.  That kind of community support, plus the $1M grant they receive each year, is the kind of thing that will support better outcomes.

What's on your mind?


Owler said…
That Conservation program is a good idea, but I don't know how schools do it without a massive amount of parent support. My kiddo's school has a parent who's leading our Green Team, and I'm pretty sure the time she puts into it is the equivalent of a full-time job. That $800 grant would barely cover the first month of her time if we had to pay someone to do it.
Po3 said…
We have been advised by several college counselors in the Seattle area to take the ACT.

We are opting out of the free SAT test given to all 11th graders across the country on March 2nd and will take the ACT, which is offered April and June at three locations in Seattle. Curious to see what other 11th grade parents are doing.

Anonymous said…
Is there a timeline for a new high school in the North? I had heard something about 2018 and Lincoln, but I am concerned that is going to swizzle the assignments

Looking Forward, there's a whole discussion of this in the high school thread, Herndon to Speak at BHS PTSA Meeting Tonight.
Rufus X said…
A nice story about Board President Betty Patu on KING last night.
Anonymous said…
Po3, our daughter (a senior) took both, and good thing. Like many students, she did better with one than the other, in her case, the SAT. She has friends who did better with the ACT. Not everyone does this, much less repeat any of the tests after getting a "baseline" score on both, but it worked for us. Our daughter got awarded scholarship money she'd have not received had she stuck with only the ACT.

Higher test scores, for better or worse, are still used for admissions and scholarship money at most colleges. The new SAT is supposed to be more like the ACT has always been, minus the science component. So don't look to escape wordy math problems by avoiding the SAT. If the testing itself is an issue for you, look at test optional schools. There's a list at fairtest.org.

Po3 said…
SrMom. Your student took the old SAT and the ACT. The old SAT is no longer available and initial reports around the new SAT are not good, which is why we are avoiding it.

First the test not been normed. (Probably why they are giving it free to 11th graders across the country so they capture a gigantic pool of test data.)
Test results are also going to be delayed (sounds familiar? SBAC).
It is also slated to be very very hard, much harder than the ACT. (So why put a kid thru that, when every college in the country will take the ACT score?)
It is based on Common Core standards, which is not the set of standards this particular cohort has been exposed to.
The Math portion includes Statistics, a class that is not usually taken until 12th grade. (and other issues around the Math portion scared us off.)

Here are some articles that helped us make our decision for our student. Maybe a few years down the road we will reconsider the SAT, but not this time!

"(Probably why they are giving it free to 11th graders across the country so they capture a gigantic pool of test data.)"

On that point, tell your students to only fill in the minimum necessary for information. They also want to do massive data gathering on students.
Anonymous said…
Po3, I understand all of that. But it remains that some students will do better with one or the other, regardless of format. Fwiw, test results were delayed with BOTH the SAT and ACT when our daughter took them this fall. That was with the old SAT and the ACT that's not changed in awhile. As well, some colleges did not get the score reports that we paid for. Both companies leave a lot to be desired.

If you are convinced that your child(ren) will do fine on the ACT, then by all means, skip the SAT. It's not a matter of how good or bad the test is, it's what it all comes down to when scholarships and admissions are handed out. Colleges don't seem to be changing the baselines for merit money based on the new vs. old SAT format.For our family, anyway, money mattered enough to go with both.

NO 1240 said…
Rainier Prep charter school is enrolling students for next year. Such confidence.
Anonymous said…
Donald Trump's New Hampshire victory speech on the radio included right up at the top of the list "We are going to get rid of Common Core." Then he repeated it again. Said education must be handled at the local level. First I have heard any K12 education points in prime time speechifying from any candidate.

Anonymous said…
I don't just call that confidence, No on 1240. I call that hubris.

EvenMoreCoalitons!! said…
We have some more "coalitions" backed by the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform.

First up:

Act NoW for Washington Students. This PAC is composed of parents, LEV, DFER and Stand for Children. Act NOW for Wa. Student's main goal is to pass charter legislation. They have a PAC and have contributed $20K to key Democrats and Republicans. They claim to have the ability to raise $500K

Then, we have Excellent Schools NOW coalition. "The Excellent Schools Now coalition steering committee is comprised of: League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, Schools Out Washington, Stand for Children Washington, and Tabor 100." This group wants great teachers, "flexibility" serve students best (ahh...must be charters)and tools for accountability.


NO 1240 said…
Hubris indeed, CT. The Mary Walker School District is working with the Center for Reinventing Education. They will be flying around the country looking at charter schools.
And FYI, Act Now for WA students - a PAC - isn't registered with the PDC.
Anonymous said…
Did you know SPS has over 8,000 employees, only 3,100 are teachers?

Inquiring mind
Anonymous said…
Interesting re: Act Now - are they officially considered a PAC? Or are they technically a lobbyist organization? - who only have to register under certain criteria - I suspect that's how they are flying under the radar.

NO 1240 said…

Thanks, reader47

I will check to see whether Act NoW considers themselves a lobbyist organization.

According to this article, Act NoW is a PAC.

NO 1240 said…
The PDC does not list Act Now for Washington Students as a lobbying group.
Anonymous said…
Clearly MWSD does not know that everything CRPE touches turns to CRAP. Tennessee ASD - failure. New Orleans- failure. Their "portfolio" ideas - not a success anywhere except in PR spin.

CT and where does that "portfolio" idea come from? The Gates Foundation.

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