Archives for category: Student achievement & scores

Reading_Workshop_pie_chart_.jpg_960×720_pixels
source:
Launching the Reading Workshop Highlights and a Few Freebies

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, the subject of the middle school’s Lucy Calkins-style reading workshop came up, sparking an interesting exchange between board members and the curriculum director.

Board members raised the possibility that having students choose their own books, effectively designing their own curriculum, might be related to the middle school’s poor ELA scores. (See here, here, here and here.)

The discussion that followed went something like this:

Curriculum director: Students don’t choose their own books.

Board members: Yes they do choose their own books.

Curriculum director: No they don’t choose their own books, they’re guided to choose certain books.

Board members: Yes they do choose their own books….

And so it went until the curriculum director prevailed, and no discussion took place of the merits of having 7th grade students read only two whole-class books in an entire year of school, or of the fact that close reading requires whole-class instruction (and quite a lot of whole-class instruction at that).

Mini-lessons and 20 kids reading 20 books in the same class are incompatible with the Common Core’s emphasis on close reading. Thus middle school students will be tested on their ability to do close readings of challenging texts, but they will receive very little in the way of explicit instruction and practice in how to do close readings of challenging texts.


Books 7th grade students chose for themselves (or were guided to choose for themselves) in school year 2011-2012:

(Click on screen shot to enlarge)


The other issue that did not come up is the question of community values.

What is the community’s goal for English class?

(Or, if different segments of the community have different goals, what are those goals?)

My own goal, which I shared and share with many parents, was that my child should not only read well but become well read, a concept that disappeared from public schools approximately 20 years ago, according to Sandra Stotsky’s The Death and Resurrection of a Coherent Literature Curriculum.

Being “well read” means having read (closely!), understood and, if possible, appreciated or actively enjoyed a comprehensive selection of canonical texts drawn from the standard literary time periods, preferably in coherent, sequential survey classes.

Irvington schools do not provide this option. Very few public schools do.

This situation needs to change because the idea that students should be well read is a value, and the community, not administrators, determines the values their schools should serve, or should.

Boards set the vision; administrators execute the vision.


College Preparatory Reading List: What College Chairpersons Wish Incoming Freshmen Had Read (1986)

1. The Bible 11. Gulliver’s Travels
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 11. Hamlet
3. The Scarlet Letter 11. Moby Dick
4. The Odyssey 11. Paradise Lost
5. William Shakespeare 11. Pride and Prejudice
5. Robert Frost & other 20th century poets 11. Ernest Hemingway
8. The Iliad 21. William Faulkner
8. Charles Dickens 21. David Copperfield
8. Macbeth 21. House of the Seven Gables
8. Prologue to the Canterbury Tales 21. Return of the Native
11. The Aeneid 27. Romeo and Juliet
11. T.S. Eliot 27. Emily Dickinson
11. Walt Whitman 27. William Wordsworth
11. The Great Gatsby 27. Red Badge of Courage

source:
Should Students Be Well Read or Should They Read Well? by Anne
..McCreary Juhasz & Leslie R. Wilson NASSP Bulletin March 1986

I say “substantially” because the math gap between Chappaqua and Irvington may not be statistically significant. Hard to say.

(My statistician friend says that the enormous gap between Irvington & Dobbs Ferry is large enough that we should assume statistical significance there. For Dobbs to adopt the best math curriculum in the English language and produce results that poor — not good.)

This is wonderful news. Wonderful. I’ve read the sample questions for 8th grade, and I’ve had a child go through the middle school accelerated math track back when it was far more accelerated than it is now (at least, according to what I picked up at a BOE meeting a few years back).

My impression:  many if not most students taking algebra that year would have had difficulty passing this test.

Of course we want everyone passing the test (or at least 90% of all students in the class) — and we can get there. 

District Gr 8-Math. Gr8-ELA
%
scoring
3 or 4
%
scoring
3 or 4
Chappaqua. 75% 71%
Blind Brook. 70% 71%
Irvington 68% 57%
Briarcliff 68% 75%
Byram Hills 68% 74%
Yorktown 67% 57%
Bronxville 65% 66%
Scarsdale* 61% 70%
Bedford 53% 50%
Dobbs Ferry* 30% 58%

*Singapore Math

I attribute this improvement to 3 factors:

  • At least 12 years of parent activism on the issue of math curriculum, math teaching, and math achievement
  • The Parents Forum, which ended the era of one-way communication (administration/BOE to parents, but not parents to administration or parents to other parents beyond their circle of friends and acquaintances) and made it possible to keep the math issue alive from year to year, month to month, and even day to day  (Here’s one of my favorites, from 2010: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/irvingtonparentsforum/conversations/messages/3000)
  • Interim curriculum director Maryann Doyle’s decision to teach math facts to “automaticity” via timed worksheets

Worksheets were the magic. All “tool” and “component” skills must be learned to a criterion of speed as well as accuracy, and timed worksheets make that happen very quickly.

Mad Minutes are a student’s friend.

All scores for Westchester County schools

Sample ITBS report | ANNOTATED

Pages from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills Guide for Administrators (posted by University of Memphis)

UPDATE 9/19/2013: Our 8th-grade math scores are terrific. Will get a table up soon, but in the meantime, I’ve uploaded all scores for Westchester County Schools.

Per pupil spending:  $28,436 % Levels 1 & 2 % Levels 3 & 4
Grade 3 ELA 45% 55%
Grade 3 Math 39.8% 60.2%
Grade 4 ELA 25.4% 74.7%
Grade 4 Math 33.8% 66.1%
Grade 5 ELA 38.1% 61.8%
Grade 5 Math 38.1% 61.9%
Grade 6 ELA 25.9% 74.1%
Grade 6 Math 32.1% 67.9%
Grade 7 ELA 50% 50%
Grade 7 Math 39.6% 60.5%
Grade 8 ELA 43.2% 56.7%
Grade 8 Math 31.9% 68.1%

Source:
Irvington Scores | 2013 ELA and Mathematics

The tests don’t seem to have been released, but you can see sample questions below.  (Source: New York State Common Core Sample Questions).

UPDATE 8/31/2013:
Some Test Items have been released.

Also relevant: IUFSD’s 21-page Strategic Plan from September 2008, which deliberately omits a college-readiness goal. The administration and then-board were asked to include college readiness amongst the goals, and the answer was ‘no.’

Common Core Sample Questions

English Language Arts (ELA)

Mathematics

Grade 3 ELA (626KB) Grade 3 Math (420KB)
Grade 4 ELA (640KB) Grade 4 Math (520KB)
Grade 5 ELA (663KB) Grade 5 Math (440KB)
Grade 6 ELA (715KB) Grade 6 Math (524KB)
Grade 7 ELA (633KB) Grade 7 Math (542KB)
Grade 8 ELA (638KB) Grade 8 Math (283KB)


Image from What big drop in new standardized test scores really means
By Valerie Strauss, Published: August 7 at 5:00 am

And see:
NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT: District and
School Performance
  ALL DISTRICTS
Common Core Sample Questions
Test Manuals for School Administrators and Teachers

New York Times | New York’s Common Core Test Scores August 8, 2013
Message from Commissioner King
Office of State Assessment
State Education Department Releases Grades 3-8 Assessment Results
Release of Data – August 7, 2013

IUFSD taxpayers are spending roughly $49K for each student passing at least one AP exam by graduation.

Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL, which has a culture of continuous improvement, spends roughly $29K.

2012-2013
Enrollment Budget  Per pupil
spending
% Students
Passing AP
# Students
Passing AP
Budget
High School 
Est. Spending
Per Each 
AP Test Passed**
Adlai Stevenson 3,881 $88,398,949 $24,144 77.0% 2,988 $88,398,949 $29,585
Irvington Estimate:
581*
$51,156,000 $28,404 58.20% 0.338 $16,502,724
(581 x $28,404)
$48,825

* I.H.S. enrollment for 2011-12. I will update when I have the 2012-2013
figures.

* Total high school budget ÷ Number of students passing at least 1 exam
by graduation

School
2013
% Graduating
Seniors Who 

Have Passed
At Least
1 AP Test
Bronxville 95.0% (2012)
Rye 88.70%
Edgemont 87.0%
Jericho 85.0%
Chappaqua 79.10%
Dobbs Ferry* 79.0%
Adlai Stevenson
Lincolnshire, IL
Per pupil spending:
$24,144
77.0%
Yonkers (2012)* 77.0%
Pleasantville 72.0%
Hastings 71%
Briarcliff (2012) 61.0%
Irvington
Per pupil spending:
$28,404 (2012-2013)
58.20%

*I assume (but don’t know) that both the Dobbs and the Yonkers figures are for IB tests.

UPDATE 11/23/2013: According to the high school principal, the most recent figure for Irvington is 63%. By graduation, 63% of last year’s seniors had passed at least one AP test with a score of 3, 4, or 5.

Why the AP pass rate matters

AND SEE:
AP pass rates
55.6% I.H.S. pass at least 1 AP exam by graduation
What is the Equity and Excellence score?
College readiness scores (US News)
Challenge Index’s unabridged methodology
By Jay Mathews 5/23/2011
Per pupil spending

Richard DuFour raised student achievement when he stopped focusing on teaching and started focusing on learning:

Confessions of an Instructional Leader

When I entered the principalship a quarter century ago, the research on effective schools warned that without strong administrative leadership, the disparate elements of good schooling could be neither brought together nor kept together (Lezotte, 1997). I heeded the message and embraced my role as a strong leader with gusto. I was determined to rise above the mundane managerial tasks of the job and focus instead on instruction—I hoped to be an instructional leader. I asked teachers to submit their course syllabi and curriculum guides so that I could monitor what they were teaching. I collected weekly lesson plans to ensure that teachers were teaching the prescribed curriculum. I read voraciously about instructional strategies in different content areas and shared pertinent articles with staff members.

But my devotion to the clinical supervision process at the school was the single greatest illustration of my commitment to function as an instructional leader. I developed a three-part process that required me to be a student of good teaching and to help teachers become more reflective and insightful about their instruction.

During the pre-observation conference, I met with teachers individually and asked them to talk me through the lesson I would be observing in their classroom. I asked a series of questions, including What will you teach? How will you teach it? What instructional strategies will you use? What instructional materials will you use? During the classroom observation, I worked furiously to script as accurately as possible what the teacher said and did.

During the postobservation conference, the teacher and I reconstructed the lesson from my notes and his or her recollections. We looked for patterns or trends in what the teacher had said and done, and we discussed the relationship between those patterns and the lesson’s objectives. Finally, I asked the teacher what he or she might change in the lesson before teaching it again. I then wrote a summary of the classroom observation and our postobservation discussion, offered recommendations for effective teaching strategies, and suggested ways in which the teacher might become more effective.

The observation process was time-consuming, but I was convinced that my focus on individual teachers and their instructional strategies was an effective use of my time. And the process was not without benefits. As a new pair of eyes in the classroom, I was able to help teachers become aware of unintended instructional or classroom management patterns. I could express my appreciation for the wonderful work that teachers were doing because I had witnessed it firsthand. I observed powerful instructional strategies and was able to share those strategies with other teachers. I learned a lot about what effective teaching looks like.

In Hot Pursuit of the Wrong Questions

Eventually, after years as a principal, I realized that even though my efforts had been well intentioned—and even though I had devoted countless hours each school year to those efforts—I had been focusing on the wrong questions. I had focused on the questions, What are the teachers teaching? and How can I help them to teach it more effectively? Instead, my efforts should have been driven by the questions, To what extent are the students learning the intended outcomes of each course? and What steps can I take to give both students and teachers the additional time and support they need to improve learning?

This shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning is more than semantics. When learning becomes the preoccupation of the school, when all the school’s educators examine the efforts and initiatives of the school through the lens of their impact on learning, the structure and culture of the school begin to change in substantive ways. Principals foster this structural and cultural transformation when they shift their emphasis from helping individual teachers improve instruction to helping teams of teachers ensure that students achieve the intended outcomes of their schooling. More succinctly, teachers and students benefit when principals function as learning leaders rather than instructional leaders.

May 2002 | Volume 59 | Number 8
Beyond Instructional Leadership Pages 12-15
The Learning-Centered Principal
Richard DuFour

AND SEE:
Common characteristics of high-achievement schools 6/13/2013

School
Year
Budget % Budget
Increase
Enrollment Per pupil
spending
2004-05 $38,543,225
(calculated)
1,998 $19,290
2005-06 $42,154,726
(calculated)
9.37% 1,959 $21,518
2006-07 $45,691,508
(calculated)
8.39% 1,961 $23,300
2007-08 $48,432,999
(calculated)
6.00% 1,942 $24,939
2008-09 $50,583,424 4.44% 1,888 $26,792
2009-10 $51,009,065 0.84% 1,799 $28,354
2010-11 $49,896,676 -2.23% 1,798 $27,751
2011-12 $50,324,892 0.91% 1,747 $28,806
2012-13 $51,156,000 1.65% 1,801
1,799 (5/10/2013)
$28,435
2013-14 $54,070,000 5.70% 1,801
(estimate)
1783
$30,325
2014-15 $56,294,000 4.1% 1,795 $31,361.56
2015-16 $57,664,000 2.4% 1,760 $32,763.64
  • Average percent increase past 9 years 2004-2005 to 2012-2013: 3.9%
  • Total percent increase in per pupil spending across 10 years’ time: 55.7%
  • Total percent increase in CPI inflation across the same 10 years’ time: 20.2%
  • If spending had risen at the rate of CPI inflation, next year’s budget would be $46,342,246.80
  • Percent decline in students: 9.86%

Student achievement did not rise with spending.

Curriculum quality fell.

Sources (2004-2005 to 2012-2013):

UPDATE 4/23/2016

AND SEE:

NOTE: “Calculated” budget numbers are based in percent-change figures drawn from Budget to Budget Percent Increases/Decreases | 2005-06 thru 2010-11 | page 36 from IUFSD Proposed Budget  March 1, 2011

Enrollment as of 6/10/2013: 1801

Grade 8: 21% score 1 or 2

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Grades 3-8 ELA 2012 FINAL
8th Grade Rankings - Student Performance Review 12.2012
High School English Regents 2.2012

Legend (top chart):

“As of July, 2010, NYSED updated its definitions for achievement levels. Lev1 is defined as “Below Standard”. Lev2 is defined as “Meets Basic Standard”. %Lev3 is defined as “Meets Proficiency Standard”. Lev4 is defined as “Exceeds Proficiency Standard”. See the NYSED web site for more information.”

Source: Student Performance Review
Presentation to the Board of Education
December 18, 2012

From 2008: “Irvington students, in fact, perform very well on standardized tests, especially in grades 3-8 where they scored at least in the 93rd percentile in ELA state standards.
From 2010: On New York School Tests, Warning Signs Long Ignored
Also from 2010: The Test Mess

All posts related to student achievement and test scores
INDEX of topics and posts
Per pupil spending $28,517

(click on images to enlarge)


SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012
(please click on link for full report)

AND SEE:
ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

[T]he percentage of ALL graduating seniors, including those who never got near an AP course, who had at least one score of 3 or above on at least one AP test sometime in high school.

Challenge Index’s unabridged methodology
By Jay Mathews 5/23/2011

AND SEE:
AP pass rates
55.6% I.H.S. pass at least 1 AP exam by graduation
Why the AP pass rate matters
What is the Equity and Excellence score?
College readiness scores (US News)

The 2012 Challenge Index shows 55.6% of Irvington students passing at least one AP exam by graduation.

The reason this figure matters is that Advanced Placement courses are, in theory, the equivalent of a college course.

So: 92% of Irvington students attend a 4-year college the year after graduation, but just 55.6% of Irvington students have passed at least one AP exam during high school.

What happens during the summer after graduation to make the other 36% ready to take a college-level course and succeed?

AND SEE:
AP pass rates
55.6% I.H.S. pass at least 1 AP exam by graduation
Why the AP pass rate matters
What is the Equity and Excellence score?
College readiness scores (US News)
Explanation of “Equity and Excellence” score (E&E)

Click screen shots to enlarge



SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012
(please click on link for full report)

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
math scores (5/1/2012)
math scores compared (5/1/2012)

per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?
what people who do not have children in the schools spend to educate the children of people who do

AND SEE:
ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

Click screen shots to enlarge



Levels 3 and 4 should be disaggregated and the cut scores and ranges specified.

From presentation: “As of July, 2010, NYSED updated its definitions for achievement levels. %Lev1 is defined as “Below Standard”. %Lev2 is defined as “Meets Basic Standard”. %Lev3 is defined as “Meets Proficiency Standard”. %Lev4 is defined as “Exceeds Proficiency Standard”. See the NYSED web site for more information.”

SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012
(please click on link for full report)

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
math scores (5/1/2012)
math scores compared (5/1/2012)

per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?

AND SEE:
ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

Equity & Excellence (E&E) scores.

Equity & Excellence is “the percentage of grapduates who passed at least one college-level test [AP or IB] during their high school career.”

New York
high schools

(131 schools)

2012
Equity and Excellence:
% passing at least 1
AP exam by graduation
Bronxville  95.9%
Rye  91%
Horace Greeley
2011
 79%
Edgemont  78%
Yonkers  77% (IB program)
Dobbs Ferry  74% IB (52.8% in 2011)*
Adlai Stevenson
High School
Lincolnshire, IL
 70.8%
Pleasantville  66%
Rye Neck  65%
Briarcliff  61%
Irvington  55.6%
Croton Harmon  55%
Sleepy Hollow  39.8%

* With only 2 years of data, it’s not clear how to interpret Dobbs Ferry’s jump.

UPDATE 11/23/2013: According to the high school principal, our most recent “Equity and Excellence” score is 63%. Sixty-three percent of last year’s graduating class had passed at least one AP test.

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
Math scores (5/1/2012)
Math scores compared (5/1/2012)

Per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?

ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

ADVANCED PLACEMENT
AP pass rates
55.6% I.H.S. pass at least 1 AP exam by graduation
Why the AP pass rate matters
What is the Equity and Excellence score?
College readiness scores (US News)

Click screen shots to enlarge



SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012
(please click on link for full report)

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
math scores (5/1/2012)
math scores compared (5/1/2012)

per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?

AND SEE:
ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

Click on screen shots to enlarge


from presentation: As of July, 2010, NYSED updated its definitions for achievement levels. %Lev1 is defined as “Below Standard”. %Lev2 is defined as “Meets Basic Standard”. %Lev3 is defined as “Meets Proficiency Standard”. %Lev4 is defined as “Exceeds Proficiency Standard”. See the NYSED web site for more information.




SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012
(please click on link for full report)

The Powerpoint doesn’t tell us how many students took Algebra/Trigonometry.

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
Math scores (5/1/2012)
Math scores compared (5/1/2012)

Per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?

AND SEE:
ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts

(Click on image to enlarge)


SOURCE: Student Performance Review – May 1, 2012 (Please click on link for full report) s

Not entirely sure what this means. Assuming “N Taking” means “number of students who took the AP exam,” we see a 67% pass rate on AP exams (500 exams taken, 336 passing scores).

UPDATE 11/23/2013: Assuming the slide above is the same as the slide in this year’s report, “N Taking” means the number of students taking the test — not the number of students taking an AP course.

We don’t know what proportion of the total student body has taken and passed at least one AP course by graduation. update 6/1/2012: The percentage of Irvington graduates who passed at least one college-level test [AP or IB] during their high school career is 55.6%

Another 112 exams weren’t taken at all. We don’t know how many of those students would have passed but skipped the exam due to senioritis or other factors.

And we don’t know the distribution of 3s, 4s, and 5s, which is especially  important in a high-performing district.

AND SEE:
ELA scores – grades 3-8 & Regents (5/1/2012)
ELA scores compared (5/1/2012)
AP pass rates (5/1/2012)
Math scores (5/1/2012)
Math scores compared (5/1/2012)

Per pupil spending
What do home buyers want?

ADVANCED PLACEMENT
AP pass rates
55.6% I.H.S. pass at least 1 AP exam by graduation
Why the AP pass rate matters
What is the Equity and Excellence score?
College readiness scores (US News)

ALL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT POSTS
INDEX of topics and posts