Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Advanced Learning Referrals Due Soon

From Advanced Learning:

This year’s window for parent referrals for K-8 students currently enrolled at Seattle Public Schools is May 15, 2018 through Sept. 24, 2018 to determine eligibility for school year 2019-20.

Applications for students in grades 9-12 will be available in January.

How to Submit a Parent Referral

Referring a student online is easy and can even be done on your smart phone! Simply access your parent or guardian account on The Source.

Once you login to your parent or guardian Source account, click on the "Advanced Learning Parent Referral” button to start the referral process.

Read more about how to submit a referral on the Advanced Learning referral webpage. If you need technical tips for The Source, we have some on our Source Technical Tips webpage
Need help? Contact mjokun@seattleschools.org or mskawasaki@seattleschools.org .

Read more about Advanced Learning Services and Programs.


Grouchy Parent said...

I notice they got rid of the crazy appeals cutoffs.

I also note that kindergartners who might need advanced learning services apparently cannot opt out of MAP testing:
"All Kindergartners who are referred to Advanced Learning are required to participate in Seattle School District administered MAP testing, taking place in January 2019."

Although then they say:
"SPS Kindergartners will be taking MAP achievement tests in November/December of 2018. It is required that all kindergartners who are referred to Advanced Learning participate in this testing cycle at your child’s school."

So MAP testing is in January. Or it's in November/December? Sigh. Some things, they're not clear about. The one thing that comes across loud and clear? They don't really want kids to get into advanced learning even if it would be the right fit for them.

It's like if the district said, "sure, we offer Spanish, but we don't really think you should take it." It's a great class, and we offer it. But you need to be referred for Spanish classes. And have a teacher and a parent separately vouch for your desire to take Spanish. And you'll have to pass 3 tests to measure how appropriate Spanish would be for you. Oh, and they're on Saturday and you can't miss them, or else, no Spanish for you! And if you meet all our requirements and we decide you can take Spanish, you'll have to opt into Spanish during a brief window in February. We haven't decided when it will be yet. ¡Buena suerte!

Anonymous said...

It is very frustrating that the CoAg testing begins before the SBAC percentile rankings are released. My son is signed up for the CoAg in early October and I know his SBAC scores but I won't know what percentile he is in until after he goes through the CoAg.

And while I am ranting - it is also very frustrating that he has achieved 98% on the CoAg, but will have to take it again because he did not have the achievement scores the prior spring needed (again, which I did not know ahead of time because they were not released until late the following fall). Isn't this a waste of money on SPS's side?

Agreed that on the whole, this is a small problem. But a solution does not seem that difficult to implement.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Funny, huh? How Advanced Learning is blamed for so many problems - equity, rigor, buildings, etc. and yet with all the problems it seems to cause, the district and the Board are both content to drag out this process of reform for a year through the AL Taskforce (to whom I mean no disrespect).

The district doesn't mind these oddities of enrollment that, of course, are even more onerous for someone who doesn't read/speak English or doesn't have the time to go thru it all.

Anonymous said...

@Grouchy Parent,

The ridiculous appeals score cutoff remains.

It is important to note that a successful appeal for HC eligibility will need to include supporting evidence that the student qualifies as “Most Highly Capable” or “Highly Gifted.”

Those qualifications usually indicate that the student’s scores approach three standard deviations (approximately 99.6%) above the norm on standardized cognitive and achievement tests. This threshold does represent a higher standard than that required for initial eligibility because the student has been given the benefit of individually administered assessments.


Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks GP and FP! I'm glad FP found that wording, because I had missed it as well.

Staff seems intent on choking access to HCC, although our district's HC numbers are actually low for our size compared to nearly every other neighboring district. Access has to be expanded, not reduced. Our program is too small, not too big.

The appeals standards are objectionable because they assume the Cogat is accurate (it is known to be less accurate than conventional IQ tests). They also seem to be saying that a child three standard deviations above the mean is whom they serve with the HCC program. Two standard deviations would be in the 98th percentile; three standard deviations is in the 99.9th percentile (!!!), corresponding to an IQ of 148, or only 1 out of about 2,000 people. That means that Seattle Public Schools considers children who demonstrably have "genius-level" intelligence of IQ > 140 do not qualify for hicap services (???).

They also seem to be saying that one-on-one testing is more susceptible to corruption, but glass houses and all.

Anyway, such a high standard is not statistically defensible. They can defend it only on ideological grounds, not evidence-based grounds.

I can assure you that many if not most students with IQs over 130 both benefit from and likely need the intervention provided by a hicap program. Ironically, also, the higher the IQ, the less well a student tests in a group situation such as the Cogat.

Thus, the very structure of the HC qualification process in Seattle Public Schools actually keeps out most of the kids whom HCC specifically exists to serve. It is literally crazy.

The district also, falsely, claims that one-on-one testing raises scores, when in fact properly administered Cogat tests actually correlate to IQ tests. When Cogat scores are lower than IQ tests, it's almost always because of errors in the administration of the Cogat, not in the administration of the IQ test. The IQ test is used to confirm/corroborate Cogat scores, not the other way around.

The high appeals standards make appeals nearly impossible for most actually-hicap students, and it does nothing to change the racial equity of HC identification. Things that would actually help racial equity in HC identification that we do not do:

- Universal testing in ca. 2nd and 6th grade during school days (to be inclusive of low-income students)
- Using nonverbal assessments like Naglieri as screeners
- Not relying on parent or teacher referrals
- Key thing >> Offering multiple pathways to qualify for an HC program (cf. what North Shore does, with 5+ distinct avenues to qualify: https://www1.nsd.org/schools/programs-services/highly-capable-services/qualifications). By the way, North Shore has an even stricter appeals process that disallows outside testing, but their 5+ qualification avenues more than compensate for this!
- Using trained hicap "headhunters" who get to know students personally at certain schools with low HC identification rates and spot the unique combinations of traits that principals and teachers are not trained to recognize, in order to steer more students of Color toward hicap services, whether or not they seek services in a cohorted program
- Requiring professional development in hicap ed for principals, who have a disproportionate impact low on HC identification rates


Anonymous said...

By saying that the 1-on-1 testing is a benefit, they are also somewhat admitting that their own group testing is problematic. It’s less accurate. Maybe they should do a pilot test and administer IQ tests to a random sample of those who get in via the district’s test, to see how many would make in using the appeals criteria. Maybe then they’d get it.

The district also seems to have a warped perception of the relationship between who qualifies for HCC and what the program provides. There’s a huge mismatch. The program is not a good fit for students 3 SD above the mean at all, so requiring that on appeal is absurd. Maybe they should have a true expert in giftedness come on and assess the HCC curriculum for its suitability to students at the 140+ IQ level. Oh wait...there isn’t really a curriculum. Oops.


Grouchy Parent said...

Thanks for finding that passage, Fairmount Parent. Better to know than to not know. Believe it or not, I am a native speaker of English with a graduate degree who already has a child in HCC and I studied the AL pages for a good 40 minutes without finding that. I thought this program was supposed to be looking for gifted kids, but apparently it's looking for gifted adults and I've failed :-(

Anonymous said...

At UW Robinson Center I heard Nancy Hertzog arguing SPS should not be testing kids in Kindergarten, I assume because it is too unstable. As Preschool experiences vary, I also wonder if some kids who had would be far more likely not to score high enough to qualify on the achievement tests. Our own kid tested in 1st grade and missed the cutoff slightly. When rested later for Evergreen (private WISC test) qualified, but also qualified same results through the SPS Cogat & tests as well, over 99%. The tests are not always accurate. This is my own theory, have no idea as I am no expert. Maybe as kids are developing brains & bodies they have different growth spurts that would enable them to qualify or not depending upon their own growth, environmental factors etc.

Anonymous said...


The tests are inaccurate but not in the ways people think. We know from large data sets that conventional IQ tests are the "gold standard." The Cogat is a less "precise" tool. It is used not because it is more accurate; it is used because it is more economical. No district can afford to test thousands of students one on one, so the maker of the Cogat designed it as a group test to be affordable to buy, use, and grade. A lot of the problems from the Cogat arise from how it is administered, which is why it is a less precise and less reliable tool.

IQ is not static, however, as you observe. IQ does not test "stably" until mid elementary years, which is why so many hicap students are identified in about third grade, after they all know how to read. IQ tends to go up over time and then plateaus in the mid to late teen years.


Anonymous said...

But really, what’s the big deal about K testing potentially qualifying a portion of students who are high achievers rather high IQ? If they are advanced in K, for whatever reason, they probably need more than what a typical K class would offer, or a typical 1st grade class the next year. After all, our actual HC programs/services are based on high achievement more than gifted ed, so those kids seem to fit. If they do well, great. If they don’t, they can opt out of HCC or other HC services.the key is to provide the essential supports so that all types of kids who could benefit from HC services have access. We need to find ways to help more underrepresented students qualify for HC services, not worry about whether some kids who get in don’t really “deserve” it. We need more teachers and principals at lower performing schools to see it as part of their mission to help identify and nurture the abilities of the highly capable students who are surely there but who are overlooked because they don’t—yet—test at that level. When you think about the current situation at WMS, you can see how principal philosophies may exacerbate rather than narrow disparities.


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Anonymous said...

I have a question - for appeals they state that your child has to test above 99.6% percentile. However, for the ITBS and MAP scores posted on the Source, they appear to round to the percentile. So my child is listed as 99% for everything, except for the ITBS test which I assume is what disqualified her from HC services. But I don't see any way to tell if her MAP test is 99.0 or 99.3 or 99.7, so I do I know whether to appeal or not?