Tag Archives: proficiency

New PARCC Scores Are Ugly, but the Real Question Is Why

(An important note for today’s post before we get started: PARCC results cannot and should not be compared to previous TCAP or CSAP results. Seriously, don’t do that. Yes, I’m looking at you.) A lot of kids my age would love to go to the park on a fine Friday like this one. I, however, feel obligated to spend some time trudging through a PARCC of a different sort today. Buckle your seatbelts for some intense nerdery. Yesterday saw the release of Colorado’s first-ever PARCC results. For those not in the edu-loop, PARCC is Colorado’s new statewide assessment in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. It officially supplanted the TCAP last school year. Many of you probably know that PARCC hasn’t exactly been happily embraced. A great many states have run away from it like scalded dogs (note that the number of PARCC states is now six, with D.C. tacked on for good measure) despite recent changes designed to make the test less onerous. Given all the hubbub, saying that folks on all sides of the issue were anxiously anticipating these results would be an understatement. Unfortunately (though not unexpectedly), those results were less than flattering. I’ll let you dig […]

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Don't Fall Victim to MisNAEPery

It’s NAEP season, my friends. The 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress results were released this week to a barrage of spin, rhetoric, and general “misNAEPery.” I’ve mostly seen this misNAEPery pop up in the form of certain folks using the data to show that education reform efforts aren’t working. (For now, we’ll ignore the crushing irony of using test scores to prove that testing isn’t valuable.) That’s a bummer, so let’s spend a few minutes today talking about what this year’s results do and do not mean. First, let’s talk briefly about the results themselves. Chalkbeat ran a pretty good piece on Colorado’s 2015 NAEP scores that included some nifty graphs. Nifty or not, however, I take some issue with the graphs’ reliance on percentages of kids scoring proficient or better rather than scale scores. Not that I blame Chalkbeat for going this way; graphs showing what appears to be actual change are a lot more exciting than what you get when you look just at scale scores over the past ten years. Those graphs look like this:

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Student Growth Model Enlightens Public … Financial Transparency Next?

More clear, accurate, available and usable information about public education is a good thing – good for parents, teachers, policy makers, and taxpayers — and ultimately for students like me. One good example of a step forward in this area is the Colorado Department of Education (CDE)’s new student growth model, featured in today’s Denver Post: The model shows how students have grown academically compared with peers in the same grades with similar scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program over the past two years. “The bottom line is, the model tells us how much growth the child has made and whether that growth is good enough to meet state standards,” said Richard Wenning, associate education commissioner. Other states have adopted growth models, but Colorado is the nation’s first to use percentiles to describe the growth, Wenning said. Fortunately, the growth model doesn’t just compare students with their peers. It also uses an objective standard:

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Ocean City Elementary Makes Case for Fewer Excuses, More Parental Power

One of the most common critiques of No Child Left Behind is that its goal of achieving proficiency in reading and math for all students by 2014 is impossible to achieve. While it may be impossible for all American public schools to achieve the 100 percent proficiency marks, should we let that excuse stop many schools from achieving 100 percent proficiency, schools that really are able to get there? The Washington Post highlights a Maryland elementary school that already has hit the mark: Last spring, all 184 students in the third and fourth grades at Ocean City Elementary School passed the Maryland School Assessment, or MSA, a battery of tests given by the state every year since 2003 to satisfy the law. The school was the first in the state, apart from a few tiny special-education centers, to meet the goal that has defined public education this decade. “We think of MSA as the floor, as sort of the basics of what all students should be doing,” Principal Irene Kordick said. “We shoot for the ceiling.”… The school serves 568 students in a coastal resort town with an odd mix of families — in oceanfront condominiums, middle-class colonials and Coastal […]

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