Thursday, May 19, 2005

Scores & More Scores

Did you hear the news? Fourth graders in NYC increased their scores on the state English test by about 10 percentage points. The eighth grade results were pretty much stagnant. The two districts in my region had the 1st & 2nd highest gains!

A few comments. First, this is something to take note of. I'm pretty sure we didn't do it the Houston way*, it's statistically significant, and although the tests aren't perfect, they do measure some important stuff. So if the kids are doing better on the reading test, we should all celebrate.

Last year, Bloomberg & Klein held-over all the third graders demed not ready for fourth grade. So one thing to think about when considering this improvement is what will happen when those third graders reach fourth and take the test? Were they provided the extra support and services they needed to catch up? Or have they fallen even farther behind? I don't know: wait & see.

And of course, one year is just one year. Are the gains sustainable?


We don't have any fourth graders, but we do have eighth graders. And we got our scores. Note that our tests are graded on a 1-far below the standard, 2-approaching the standard, 3-meeting the standard, 4-exceeding the standard rubric. 3 & 4 are considered passing, although 2 is often used for promotional purposes.

Out of 60 eighth graders, 45 got 3's or 4's, and the other 15 (including one special ed student) got 2's. I don't remember the exact breakdown of 3's & 4's, but more were 3's. So we had 75% of our students meeting the standards... not bad. Then again, they came in with pretty good scores, so the real question is how their 8th grade scores compare to 4th. When people talk about data-driven instruction, it seems so obvious to me: how could you get your scores back and not start asking a million questions? Did they gain or lose? Who gained or lost? How do students with us for 3 years compare to those with us for only 2? Which areas were they strongest in? Weakest? That's what tells you how to do better as a teacher.

I will be on a school retreat through Saturday. More on that when we get back!

*Yeah, I know that's a bit unfair. Many of the good people of Houston did NOT cheat. And yes, I do have something personal against Houston: godawful humidity and no cafes!


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Blogger zh01 said...

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3:23 AM  

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