Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 93

Thread: Elementary School MCAS scores

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default Elementary School MCAS scores

    A poster in the comments section under the 9/29 Town Crier letters to the editor alleges incorrectly and without any supporting analysis alleges that (a) elementary MCAS scores are slipping, (b) that Happy Hollow's scores are slipping worse than Claypit Hill's, and (c) that this slippage is the result of the elementary school reconfiguration.

    There are two important ways to look at MCAS data, which is available here.

    Type 1. Examine scores for a given grade and test (e.g., 3rd Grade Reading) over a relatively long period of time (say, 10+ years). The reason for the long period of time is that differences in specific groups ("cohorts") of students can be evened out to consider the impact of differences in instruction.

    Type 2. Examine scores for a given cohort of students (e.g., 3rd graders in the 07-08 school year who become 4th graders in the 08-09 school year).

    The elementary reconfiguration has been in place for only one year. As such, one can't perform a Type 1 analysis--enough time hasn't passed. So let's take a look at the MCAS scores for the following Type 2 student cohorts.

    Cohorts that did NOT experience the reconfiguration
    Cohort A. 3rd graders in 2006-2007 who became 4th graders in 2007-2008
    Cohort B. 4th graders in 2006-2007 who became 5th graders in 2007-2008

    Cohorts that DID experience the reconfiguration
    Cohort C. 3rd graders in 2007-2008 who became 4th graders in 2008-2009
    Cohort D. 4th graders in 2007-2008 who became 5th graders in 2008-2009

    The appropriate comparisons are to see how Cohort A (no reconfiguration) did relative to Cohort C (reconfiguration), and similarly, how Cohort B (no reconfiguration) did relative to Cohort D (reconfiguration) in moving from one year to the next.

    The Boston Globe MCAS data referenced above reports a score that is the sum of the percentage of students scoring advanced and those scoring proficient (maximum: 100). Let's look at how the non-reconfiguration and reconfiguration cohorts compared for reading-ELA and math for Claypit Hill (CH) and Happy Hollow (HH).

    3rd grade Reading to 4th grade ELA comparison
    • CH Cohort A (non-reconfig) dropped 18 points
    • CH Cohort C (reconfig) dropped 8 points
    • HH Cohort A (non-reconfig) dropped 2 points
    • HH Cohort C (reconfig) did not change
    • Observation: reconfiguration cohort did better for both schools
    • Observation: HH's difference was better than CH's


    3rd grade Math to 4th grade Math comparison
    • CH Cohort A (non-reconfig) dropped 12 points
    • CH Cohort C (reconfig) dropped 8 points
    • HH Cohort A (non-reconfig) dropped 9 points
    • HH Cohort C (reconfig) dropped 15 points
    • Observation: reconfiguration cohort did better at CH, worse at HH


    4th grade ELA to 5th grade ELA comparison
    • CH Cohort B (non-reconfig) increased 9 points
    • CH Cohort D (reconfig) increased 23 points
    • HH Cohort B (non-reconfig) increased 8 points
    • HH Cohort D (reconfig) increased 12 points
    • Observation: reconfiguration cohort did better for both schools
    • Observation: CH's improvement was larger than HH's


    4th grade Math to 5th grade Math comparison
    • CH Cohort B (non-reconfig) increased 18 points
    • CH Cohort D (reconfig) increased 13 points
    • HH Cohort B (non-reconfig) increased 5 points
    • HH Cohort D (reconfig) increased 6 points
    • Observation: reconfiguration cohort did better at HH, worse at CH (but both improved)


    It's worth noting that in general, Claypit Hill's scores are higher than Happy Hollow's. Also, in general, scores drop going from grade 3 to grade 4 and then see a larger increase going from grade 4 to grade 5. The WPS administration is aware of these differences and working to address them.

    With respect to the Town Crier poster's allegations that MCAS scores slipped and that the reconfiguration was the cause, the data suggests otherwise. In 6 of the 8 cases above, the reconfiguration cohorts did better than the non-reconfiguration cohorts.

    The original poster's other fallacy--confusing correlation with causation--also applies here. I'm not suggesting that the reconfiguration was the cause of improved MCAS performance. Rather, I place the credit squarely on the shoulders of our excellent administrators and teachers who elevated their game under difficult circumstances.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 05-12-2010 at 05:02 PM. Reason: to fix typo at poster's request (non-configuation -> non-reconfiguration)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Continue the extrapolation....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It's worth noting that in general, Claypit Hill's scores are higher than Happy Hollow's. Also, in general, scores drop going from grade 3 to grade 4 and then see a larger increase going from grade 4 to grade 5. The WPS administration is aware of these differences and working to address them.
    Your comment above seems to correlate with the Crier poster's comment as follows:

    Crier Poster: "With 40% of 4th graders at Happy Hollow in the Needs Improveent or Failng category, these are not numbers that our school committee should be proud of. (It's 'only' 31% for Claypit.)
    I would encourage all residents to look beyond the school committee provided 'analysis' and take a look at the raw data."

    You provided a theory for the reconfiguration MCAS comparison, what theory might you offer for the Claypit / HH comparision?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Actually, I did not provide a theory for the ES reconfiguration, I provided an observation: namely, that MCAS scores improved more in the reconfiguration year than in the year prior. And, I don't have a theory for the CH-HH comparison.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Your theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Actually, I did not provide a theory for the ES reconfiguration, I provided an observation: namely, that MCAS scores improved more in the reconfiguration year than in the year prior. And, I don't have a theory for the CH-HH comparison.
    Jeff Dieffenbach wrote: "Rather, I place the credit squarely on the shoulders of our excellent administrators and teachers who elevated their game under difficult circumstances."

    So now please continue to your theory on why Claypit Hill has statistically significant higher MCAS scores than HH.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    That's not a theory *about* MCAS scores and reconfiguration, that's an "anti-hypothesis" suggesting that I don't find any evidence to link reconfiguration to MCAS scores.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default The scientific method...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It's worth noting that in general, Claypit Hill's scores are higher than Happy Hollow's. Also, in general, scores drop going from grade 3 to grade 4 and then see a larger increase going from grade 4 to grade 5. The WPS administration is aware of these differences and working to address them.
    But in order to "address them" one must have a theory.. a hypothesis... to formulate a plan to remedy the situation. Else its throwing darts. The scientific method must be applied and the first step to formulate a theory or hypothesis.

    So, why don't you think about this for a while and then provide step one.
    Perhaps you could consult with the rest of the SC before replying back on this one.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Sorry if this is a duplicate....

    Alan,

    I am wondering if you have a theory or hypothesis for the difference in MCAS scores between HH and CH. From your post it seems like you do and I (as well as many others I am sure) would love to hear it. Will you share it with us?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Theoretical Postulations

    Quote Originally Posted by BTDowns View Post
    Sorry if this is a duplicate....
    Duplicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by BTDowns View Post
    Alan,

    I am wondering if you have a theory or hypothesis for the difference in MCAS scores between HH and CH. From your post it seems like you do and I (as well as many others I am sure) would love to hear it. Will you share it with us?

    Thanks
    Ben ! Long time no argue !

    Well I do have a theory but its only a gut feel at the moment and I'm collecting some data to see if it has legs. Of course, if the data pans out and the theory is plausible then an experiment would have to be done to test it... part III scientific method. And that might be problematic for the SC.

    So I apologize for being vague at this juncture but I can only provide a theory if the data supports it... else... I would like Jeff D and/or the SC to try to reconcile why two elementary schools, in the same town, with the same quality of staff, at the same steps / lanes of pay, with the same benefits, with the same curriculum would have such a significant difference in MCAS.

    It is baffling isn't it?... I mean really.
    You wouldn't by any chance have your own theory would you?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Alan,

    So your fear is to post a theory or hypothesis that may be wrong? Even if you collect data (step 2) that supports your theory or hypothesis it could still turn out to be wrong. Why not take the bold (?) step and share your thoughts?

    I am just curious, I do not have a dog in this hunt.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default The Cat

    Ben,

    Curiosity killed the cat... thats what mom used to say.

    You are correct, I could be wrong even if the data says the theory is plausible but remember I didn't offer a theory, you asked. I will oblige your request at the right time.

    Jeff did say that the SC was going to address the issue. Aren't you also curious as to what they think the root cause is? I certainly am.

    All in good time Ben... good night.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    235

    Default There are three kinds of lies

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. (Disraeli)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. (Disraeli)
    Good point, we shouldn't use data to drive instruction. [grin]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Good point, we shouldn't use data to drive instruction.
    Correct, Jeff; we should use information. One hopes you understand the difference.

    The same distinction applies to discourse here.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Dave, the difference is at best semantic but not meaningful, in my opinion. And I'd include knowledge in that mix of different ways to name facts: data = information = knowledge. Wisdom, that's on a higher plane.

    *That* distinction applies to discourse here.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Dave, the difference is at best semantic but not meaningful, in my opinion..
    I disagree. The data presented here comes nowhere close to providing the information required to draw conclusions. The question is, "how would this group of students have performed had they not endured reconfiguration?". Drawing conclusions based on performance data from a different group of students that did not endure reconfiguration assumes that the two groups are in all other relevant ways and experiences identical. You've presented no data supporting this assumption.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •