Disqus

Saturday, November 02, 2019

The Long-Awaited Data on "Honors for All"

Actually, Honors for All is the wrong nomenclature.  It's now called, "Integrated Honors."

I read it and while I am a fan of Eric Anderson, the Director of Research & Evaluation, I am not a fan of this document.

While the document acknowledges that there isn't near enough data to make it conclusion, it seems promising.  Kind of.

I don't have time to do a full thread on it but I thought it might be of interest to many readers.

I can say that while is has a bit of fairness in there - in terms of providing data that would go against the plan - it is pretty skewed to make it seem like a good thing.

What it definitely shows is that doing this creating this kind of class population means teachers need to have more PD and more resources and supports.  You hear it from both students and teachers.

And the district means to enact this district-wide by next fall? Complete folly.

Do let me know your thoughts.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good to see the initial report. Still very early, so not much data. For hard outcomes, it will take more time and more data. That there is no evidence that either the students of color nor the HC students do better than they have done in years past is largely due to small samples sizes. Only larger sample sizes and longer follow-up will allow a more rigorous assessment to determine whether there is a benefit, or whether the subtle decline is a real phenomenon. Regarding softer outcomes, it appears that students were interviewed in focus groups only. Future studies should administer anonymous questionnaires to ensure that students (and teachers for that matter) do not respond a certain way due to social pressure.

Thanks to the district for its efforts in studying the policy they are implementing to ensure that the intervention achieves the desired outcome.

BLUE SKY

Anonymous said...

"I am not a fan of this document." Of course you aren't! It doesn't get rid of Honors for All, which you've been fully against from the get-go. "Advocate for the underserved?" It seems so when they know their place.

Course Par

Anonymous said...

The terminology in the report is a little puzzling and makes we wonder whether I'm misunderstanding these terms. "Students of color furthest from educational justice" appears to be used interchangeably with a certain racial / demographic group (e.g. Latinx / African American / Native American but not Asian American or those from the subcontinent). I had always assumed that this phrase referred to students of color who were also furthest from educational justice. In other words not all Latinx / African American / Native American students, but those students from this demographic who were furthest from educational justice. This is not how this report uses this phrase. For instance, it states that at Garfield, 9% of the HCC students are "Students of color furthest from educational justice." Clearly, it would be folly to argue that any HCC student is furthest from educational justice in the traditional sense. It seems strange to refer to all students of color who are Latinx / African American / Native American as being furthest from educational justice, as some are clearly on the leading edge of educational justice.

For those with greater knowledge on this, when SPS uses this term, are they simply referring to a racial demographic, or are they specifically referring to those students from these racial groups who are indeed furthest from educational justice?

BLUE SKY

Anonymous said...

@Course Par. If you have a comment on the document, I'm sure readers would be happy to hear it. Otherwise, why all the misplaced vitriol?

BLUE SKY

Anonymous said...

Since when are documented facts, as evidenced by months of pushback on this blog about the negatives of Honors for All, my "misplaced vitriol"? I think you've gotten that upside down!

Course Par

Anonymous said...

Where is the infinitely awaited “Honors for Few” report? What was the outcome? What were the SBA and SAT improvements? How many elite colleges were enrolled?

Oh yeah. Nobody cares about how good the exclusion was. 1 hour of integration in an entire high school experience? Give ‘em an inch the mob will take it all.

Go Private

Anonymous said...

Another day another HCC post by the "Not going to cover SPS any longer" blogger

Wake up

Anonymous said...

Wake up, Go private, Course Par

If you don't like the blog/blogger, why keep reading and commenting? I'm pretty sure you won't be missed

Buh bye

Darrin Stephens said...

If you don't like this blog, go away!

Not Yet said...

Despite Juneau's desire to break HCC, the report indicates that SPS does not have the capacity to provide Advanced Learning Opportunities to those in the top 2%. Advanced Learning Opportunities to certain groups of students is considered Basic Education

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...which you've been fully against from the get-go."

Nope, I was against it without the supports and resources and, if you read the comments from teachers and students, rightly so.

Wake Up, I said I was easing out but I never said I would not cover the school board races and since HCC is such a hot topic, I'm covering it.

Not Yet said...

The district does not have the supports and resources to break, HCC, either. Advanced Learning Opportunities is considered Basic Education to these students. The HFA report should be used for pending litigation, if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Please sue!

Then the state will get a close- up look at private appeals that invalidate test scores, lack of diversity, poor cohort outcomes compared to non-cohort, and the rest.

Bring ItOn

Stuart J said...

I read the first few pages. I am wondering if the word "not" is missing from a key sentence at the bottom of page two. Here's the original version:

There appears to be inconsistency across courses in the degree of rigor and challenge experienced by all students – likely in part because teachers have fully specified a consistent, concrete curricular and pedagogical framework for Integrated Honors. It’s not clear teachers have the materials, training and support to fully differentiate instruction in order to meet the diverse academic and social emotional needs of students – though this is a common challenge for teachers in many schools across SPS.

and then here's the version with what I think is the missing term:

:
There appears to be inconsistency across courses in the degree of rigor and challenge experienced by all students – likely in part because teachers have NOT fully specified a consistent, concrete curricular and pedagogical framework for Integrated Honors. It’s not clear teachers have the materials, training and support to fully differentiate instruction in order to meet the diverse academic and social emotional needs of students – though this is a common challenge for teachers in many schools across SPS.

Anonymous said...

@Bring ItOn. I agree that private testing appeals are problematic on many levels.

Re lack of diversity, this is clearly a complex issue. The majority of issues leading to lack of diversity in HCC are not things that are within SPS's control. Eliminating private testing appeals and instituting universal testing, at least for schools with a high FRL population, will modestly address the diversity issue. Providing early education / preschool is as important, if not more so - this is something the district should fully address. But in a city like Seattle, where the demographics of employees of UW, Microsoft, Amazon, etc, do not look like the demographics of the rest of the city, it is not surprising that HCC largely reflects demographics of the city's high tech and academic work-force. To expect otherwise would be counter-intuitive.

Poor cohort outcomes is an interesting issue. What do you mean by this? Please provide a link that shows evidence for your definition of poor cohort outcomes, so the discussion can be based on facts rather than conjecture.

BLUE SKY

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stuart, thanks for the catch; I saw that and then forgot about it.

Anonymous said...

RCW 28A.185.020

"District practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students."

Don't see anything about how high tech progeny in SPS shall dominate HC identification and that's just fine. Do you?

Enough

Anonymous said...

@Enough. Your logic eludes me. Equitable identification means identification of those eligible in the population. Because equitable identification is crucial and the letter of the law, barriers to identification for low income students must be eliminated. Hence, universally testing all students (or at least low-income students) must be a priority.

However, equitable identification does not mean allocation equal to the demographics of the larger population. It means allocation equal to the demographics of the eligible population. It is quite likely that the demographic breakdown of those eligible is not proportionate to the demographics of the larger population. Hence, because HCC will likely be enriched with tech and UW academic progeny, it will likewise reflect those demographics.

BLUE SKY

Getting Tired said...


Honors All correlates to the New Student Assignment Plan and TAF because TAF would break a HCC pathway. Geary (and only Geary) offers an amendment to bring-in TAF. I don't see a single document detailing costs.

Minutes from the Operations Committee have NOT been updated since August. So, what is with that?!

I have not seen costs outlined in Friday Memos.

The last documented C&I minutes (Geary's Committee) does not include costs related to TAF.
https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/C&I/2019-20/190910%20C&I%20Minutes%20-%20Final.pdf


https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/19-20%20agendas/November%206/A05_20191106_Amendment%201%20to%20Student%20Assignment%20Transition%20Plan%202020-21.pdf

It is possible that I'm missing something. I just don't see it, but moving forward with a plan to break HCC, add TAF etc. without incorporating costs is incredibly irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Meeting minutes from the October ALTF are now posted. Members were polled on whether they'd participate in a Healing circle outside of scheduled meeting time. Results: Yes 29% No 14% Maybe 57%

References to 2-tier identification system to identify more "Black and Brown" students, plus ALTF support for additional financial resources allocated to schools.

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

A Healing Circle? Well, that's not good.

Also, I have heard that the POC on the committee had asked if they could go to a Board meeting and directly address the Board and were told no. (My opinion is that they should do what their conscience tells them to do.)

Anonymous said...

Back to addressing people of color by alphabet letters? Not humane.

At all

Melissa Westbrook said...

At All, so LGBTQ is out as well? Because that refers to many people of many races.

Anonymous said...

Re: Nov 6 board meeting, the revised draft Student Assignment Plan for next year reads:

Highly Capable Cohort (HCC): Students enrolled as HCC receive an initial assignment to their HCC pathway middle school based on where they live. If they apply for their attendance area middle school during Open Enrollment through May 31, they will be assigned to that school (unless they apply for and are assigned to a higher ranked choice).

If a Joint Operating Agreement between the Technology Access Foundation (“TAF”) and the District has been executed to implement the TAF model at Washington Middle School beginning in the 2020-21 school year, then beginning in fall 2020 6th grade students assigned to Washington Middle School who had been receiving HC services in the cohort model in 5th grade will continue receiving HC services in a blended model.

It doesn't explicitly say it, but I guess what they really mean is this:

NORTH-END students enrolled as HCC receive an initial assignment to their HCC pathway middle school, while SOUTH-END HCC students will no longer have access to a cohort model and will instead be sent to WMS for STEMbyTAF, and educational model NOT developed specifically to support the needs of HC students, but rather intended "to contribute to the District’s strategic plan priority to 'support students of color who are furthest from educational justice.'"

Note how it also says in the community engagement section that the level of engagement merited by this action is "inform." As in, "no, we won't engage you in this huge change to the nature of services your child can receive. We'll simply TELL you what we decide. Deal with it."

Oh, and they also try to pass off the "95% graduation rate" and "100% college acceptance" as proof that this model will work for HC students. I guess they didn't bother to look at TAF's actual test results for percent of students performing at--or for god's sake, above--grade level? Hey Director Geary, care to explain why test scores don't matter? Or maybe how many MAP/SBAC Level 4 students TAF has worked with in the past, what approaches they've used with them, what their growth trajectories were like, etc?

Juneau and Geary should be ashamed by these efforts to just ram things through without engaging the HC community. So paternalistic. If TAF is all that and can do great by HC students, wouldn't HC students gladly choose it if given the chance to see--ahed of time--how, and how well, if works for HC students?

all types

Anonymous said...

Sorry, typo. Should read:

"WMS for STEMbyTAF, an educational model NOT developed specifically to support the needs of HC students, but rather intended "to contribute to the District’s strategic plan priority to 'support students of color who are furthest from educational justice.'"

all types

Anonymous said...

Do you think they truly care about how well TAF may or may not work for HC students?

real question

Anonymous said...

I am confused by everything being discussed. I had heard the HC cohort model would be phased out over 6 years. Now I am hearing it will be discontinued Fall 2020. Does this apply to elementary and middle? I am aware that most if not all middle schools are now offering non-cohort classes except for science, but still have a pathway so there are still many HC students in the non-cohort classes.

High school is not cohorted, and although about 1/2 the high schoolers identified as HC have gone to neighborhood high schools, there is still a "pathway" at Lincoln, Ingraham and Garfield. Will there still be pathway for high schoolers in 2020 or will HC students be served at their neighborhood high schools? When is the district planning to serve HC students at all neighborhood high schools?

Parent

Anonymous said...

That's a good question Parent. I know that Hale doesn't do a very good job of having enough classes for advanced students.

HP

Anonymous said...

About Honors for All...

To me, the preliminary evaluation document basically says "it's not really working all that well now, and we're not sure how to change that, but we still like the idea of it (that's why we did it in the first place), so let's expand it across the district!"

SPS logic

Seattle Parent said...

According to the study the district did not conduct as single anonymous evaluation by either the participating students or participating teachers. Every college course I’ve ever taught or participated in had anonymous student evaluations at the end that were used to calculate summary statistics. The same goes for most professional courses.

The document quotes a teacher as stating, “Schoolwide I would say about 85% of staff are supportive.” Who cares what one teacher thinks? Not only is this quote meaningless, but it's also potentially misleading because another teacher might have said the exact opposite and had their views omitted from the study. Why not simply ask all the teachers through an anonymous questionnaire?

One student is quoted as saying, “Honors for All classes are more diverse but a lot easier.” Another student is quoted as say, “I had one honors class that worked. The teacher ran the class like an honors class.” So, we have two students saying opposite things. The district could have asked the students after the completion of each course anonymously and quantified the results, but didn’t.

The study is full of 40+ such “quotes”. If a researcher selects 40 quotes from a thousand to present as a study, what exactly does that mean? It means absolutely nothing.

Out of the 45 slides in the “study”, in my opinion, there are only two that are of any interest. One slide shows the percent of students of color taking at least 1 AP class, which appears to have increased by 1% between 2015 and 2018, but the numbers vary significantly from year to year, so it’s difficult to draw any real conclusions, but if true, that would be great.

The second slide of interest shows AP Exam scores for HCC Students, which went down in 2017. Interestingly, the study does not show the AP Exam scores for students of color. It also does not show the total number of AP classes taken as opposed to simply the number of students taking at least 1 exam. I assume the district, in fact, has this data, and it's curious that it’s not included.

The “study” concludes with a “Summary of Key Findings”, which again is completely anecdotal. In my opinion, the study is weak, misleading, and disappointing. The School Board has been asking for the “promised study” for a long time. It appears that the staff’s answer was to send a researcher down for a few days to conduct “focus groups” and to label it a study. Data related to AP Exams that does exist was not included. I think it reflects poorly on both researcher Eric Anderson and Seattle Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

@SeattleParent. Couldn't agree more. I was cutting them some slack in my assessment, given that we're barely a year or so into this. However, the methodology of the assessment is weak and anecdotal. Yes, anonymous questionnaire pls! And for the harder outcomes (AP scores, classes taken, etc), larger sample sizes and longer follow-up is needed to determine whether there is a benefit to integrated honors, or whether the subtle decline that the report is suggesting (e.g. drop in AP scores) is a real phenomenon.

BLUE SKY

Anonymous said...

One student is quoted as saying, “Honors for All classes are more diverse but a lot easier.” Another student is quoted as say, “I had one honors class that worked. The teacher ran the class like an honors class.” So, we have two students saying opposite things.

I read those not as students saying opposite things, but rather similar experiences. The first student said the HfA classes are a lot easier, and the second said they had ONE honors class that worked and was like an honors class--implying that others did NOT work and were NOT like honors classes.

A decrease in AP exam scores for HCC students could be one of the most obvious indicators that HfA is not working well to support students sent there via the HCC pathway. Why were 2018 AP scores not "yet" available for this report? Shouldn't 2019 AP scores also be available by now? If the Board is going to review this report, they should insist that AP score data be updated to reflect additional years of data first. It would also be good to see a comparison of how AP scores for the same classes for HCC students at Garfield vs. other SPS high schools compare for the pre-and post-HfA years. If scores are going up elsewhere but not at GHS, that says something.

HF

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle Parent, good assessment and I concur. This is not research.

Seattle Parent said...

BLUE SKY,

You said, "I was cutting them some slack in my assessment, given that we're barely a year or so into this."

Actually, according to the "study", "Honors for All" has existed for 3 full years 16/17, 17/18, and 18/19. It would appear the district has run 450+ students through these classes.

According to the study, "It was beyond the scope of this preliminary study to observe classroom instruction, analyze curricular materials, or conduct a full survey of staff, students, or families."

In other words, after 3 years and 450+ students, the district hasn't bothered to do even the most rudimentary analysis.







NESeattleMom said...

Seattle Parent, Thanks for the analysis of the report. What you said about the anecdotal comments by students about its success and rigor, and the teacher's guesstimate about their Is this the kind of statement that the superintendent should repeat to the public even if she heard it once? I've been at GHS as a parent for 8 years, and haven't heard it ever. It is not a common expression, and not one that should be repeated.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, where did you find this? i.e. is this document available on the Seattle Schools website? Thanks.

FNH

Melissa Westbrook said...

FNH, it was sent to me.

Yes, I don't know why the Superintendent would continue using such inflammatory language which divides people. Ask the Board.

z said...

Seattle Parent said: Actually, according to the "study", "Honors for All" has existed for 3 full years 16/17, 17/18, and 18/19. It would appear the district has run 450+ students through these classes.

I'm pretty sure it's far worse than that. It's not simply all students of one teacher, but the whole dept, right? And didn't it spread to both LA and SS now?

I'd conservatively estimate at least 1,000-1,500 kids have been through this, and the report amounts to nothing but a few cherry-picked quotes and very limited, self-supporting data. Worthless. No, it's worse than worthless, it was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Like so may district initiatives that hide from any scrutiny, it's either due to incompetence (which I don't think is true in this case) or purposely trying to hide or distort reality (which I totally believe).