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Thread: Elementary School MCAS scores

  1. #31
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    Default Seek and ye' shall find

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Seems I would pick the school with more “advanced” student scores (by now I can't remember whether it's red or blue).
    [/email]
    Don, just go back to the chart one more time... its obvious... you don't even need to take the MCAS to get it right.

  2. #32
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    Alan, I am not sure what you are trying to get at with the MCAS results debate. While I agree that the scores are better at CH than at HH, the differences are not as huge as you portray. Nor is the way you are viewing the data the ONLY way to view it. E.g., you could have a goal to have all students advanced, and therefore look at the advanced v. not advanced. Or you could have a goal to have no one fail, and therefore look at Failures v. Not Failures. These are equally valid, and both would not have your "100% correlation".

    (And Don, interesting that you chose one of my measures above, and not Alan's combination of advanced and proficient)

    There are a number of non-school related reasons why the results may be as they are. For example, HH has a larger population of Special Education students (in 4th grade, for example, the difference in this population is 23%-17%). HH has a larger population of students who are not proficient in English. These are details available from the DOE. I don't have a theory about why there are more Special Education students at HH, but I suspect that may be part of the performance problem, and a good place to target efforts to improve.

    Are you looking to make a broader argument? If so, why are you being so coy about it?
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-07-2009 at 01:18 PM. Reason: To delete a sentence which was I was going to follow-up on but neglected to.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    ... Jeff can't refute it [the MCAS difference] with the usual “quote” and “criticism” technique, ...
    I'm not trying to refute it.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    ... and he also knows that the School Committee should have an intelligent response to identify the problem and propose a solution, but doesn't.
    I'm fine with "this topic is appropriately in the hands of our professional educators" being an intelligent response.

  4. #34
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    Default COY I'm not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    While I agree that the scores are better at CH than at HH, the differences are not as huge as you portray.
    I'm not portraying the magnitude of the differences, the data is doing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Nor is the way you are viewing the data the ONLY way to view it. E.g., you could have a goal to have all students advanced, and therefore look at the advanced v. not advanced. Or you could have a goal to have no one fail, and therefore look at Failures v. Not Failures. These are equally valid, and both would not have your "100% correlation".
    I chose the partitioning of the data the way I view the MCAS report as they appear in the mail when my kids were in public schools. I want my kids to be in the upper half and not the lower half. So I used my real-life experiences as a parent to plot the data.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Are you looking to make a broader argument? If so, why are you being so coy about it?
    Gee whiz.. just because I make some quantitative argument, I must have a a hidden motive that is not obvious. So I'm being COY.

    I've laid out many possibilities and didn't dismiss one of them.
    Look hard into those possibilities and see that I'm open to many causes.

    The thing I just can't get past is that 100% correlation across all categories... I've seen this before in other disciplines and it usually points to something more global.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I'm not portraying the magnitude of the differences, the data is doing that.

    I chose the partitioning of the data the way I view the MCAS report as they appear in the mail when my kids were in public schools. I want my kids to be in the upper half and not the lower half. So I used my real-life experiences as a parent to plot the data.
    OK, well, I'd like my kids in the top 1-10%, so Advanced is the target. Yours isn't the only way to look at the data. That said, I can see that usually (though not 100% of the time), Claypit still outperforms HH even on my criteria.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Gee whiz.. just because I make some quantitative argument, I must have a a hidden motive that is not obvious. So I'm being COY.

    I've laid out many possibilities and didn't dismiss one of them.
    Look hard into those possibilities and see that I'm open to many causes.
    Actually, you provided a broad bullet list without providing any real insight into your own actual thinking. Sorry if "coy" was too strong a word, but if I can provoke you to participate in the thinking, then I'm OK with it. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    The thing I just can't get past is that 100% correlation across all categories... I've seen this before in other disciplines and it usually points to something more global.
    Well, now I've given you a theory to respond to. I think at least a good part of the difference is due to the number and performance of Special Education students. Hopefully, our schools can improve their performance on that dimension, but at the same time hopefully without sacrificing performance at the other end of the spectrum.

  6. #36
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    Default My opinion - Your opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    OK, well, I'd like my kids in the top 1-10%, so Advanced is the target. Yours isn't the only way to look at the data. That said, I can see that usually (though not 100% of the time), Claypit still outperforms HH even on my criteria.
    I'll go one better, I'd like my kids at least in the upper half and not the lower half.. hence my charts.

    BLUE outperforms RED just as your observation in the real world.
    So why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Actually, you provided a broad bullet list without providing any real insight into your own actual thinking. Sorry if "coy" was too strong a word, but if I can provoke you to participate in the thinking, then I'm OK with it. :-)
    Yes, I'm provoked.
    Big justification for a new High School... new improved facilities foster better learning now and into the future... right? I can buy that and especially being a former HS teacher. So is there something that is different between BLUE and RED in terms of facilities? Or in terms of density? Why don't you get provoked too?


    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Well, now I've given you a theory to respond to. I think at least a good part of the difference is due to the number and performance of Special Education students. Hopefully, our schools can improve their performance on that dimension, but at the same time hopefully without sacrificing performance at the other end of the spectrum.
    Your saying that special ed across all grades and between BLUE and RED are significantly different to cause this effect? The special ed kids are bringing down the consistent differences in all grades and categories? Hmmm...

    But my opinion is only one opinion and so is yours.
    Certainly there are a lot of followers to enews....

    Gee this is the time I wish others with kids in the schools (unlike me) would add their voices. You probably won't learn much more just wondering what my opinion is.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I'll go one better, I'd like my kids at least in the upper half and not the lower half.. hence my charts.
    I think top 1-10% is better than top half. ;-p

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Your saying that special ed across all grades and between BLUE and RED are significantly different to cause this effect? The special ed kids are bringing down the consistent differences in all grades and categories? Hmmm...
    Not exactly. You asked for theories, so I threw something out there that I observed from the data. I can see that there is a higher special education percentage at Happy Hollow, and further that these special education students fail the MCAS at much higher rates than the general population of students. One can also observe that the non-special education students at both schools have higher rates of passage, and that these rates are much more similar at the two schools (than the aggregate numbers already presented).

    I am offering no theory as to why there are more special education students at HH, nor do I have any educational expertise that would suggest solutions to this problem.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-07-2009 at 02:26 PM.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Your saying that special ed across all grades and between BLUE and RED are significantly different to cause this effect? The special ed kids are bringing down the consistent differences in all grades and categories? Hmmm...
    Grade Happy Hollow Claypit
    Grade 3 16.5% 20.8%
    Grade 4 23.0% 17.2%
    Grade 5 24.7% 20.0%

    School
    in Total 19.9% 16.5%

    (I'm assuming this implies lower special education percentages in Grades 1 and 2)

    Note that Grade 3 is the grade in which I would attest HH outperformed Claypit. Grade 4 is the grade with the greatest performance difference in favor of Claypit.

  9. #39
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    Here is another way to view the data regarding HH and CH MCAS scores.

    I'm not sure which is more disturbing - the top chart that shows that in every subject in every grade listed, CH comes out ahead of HH, or the chart below that shows that in some cases there are as many as 175 schools in other cities and towns throughout the state falling in between our two elementary schools.


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  10. #40
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    An April 2008 analysis of Wayland MCAS scores is available here. If I'm not mistaken, I updated that analysis since then (with 2008 results), not sure if I published the update. I'll add in 2009 results shortly and post the cumulative look.

  11. #41
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    Default There are three kinds of lies

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. (Disraeli)

  12. #42
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    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. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Your saying that special ed across all grades and between BLUE and RED are significantly different to cause this effect? The special ed kids are bringing down the consistent differences in all grades and categories? Hmmm...

    But my opinion is only one opinion and so is yours.
    Alan, I thought since the data to test my theory actually was available, it was worth a few moments to check. I pulled together the attached spreadsheet to look at what the performance of the non-SPED population looked like at the two schools.

    For those who can't open it, I'll summarize the results here:

    (Provided are the sum of advanced and proficient)

    3rd Grade Reading (for this one, HH's distribution is definitely preferable, with more than 2x as many students advanced, and nobody getting "warning")
    HH 79%
    CH 81%

    3rd Grade Math
    HH 83%
    CH 87%

    4th Grade Reading
    HH 88%
    CH 85%

    4th Grade Math
    HH 70%
    CH 76%

    5th Grade Reading
    HH 88%
    CH 95%

    5th Grade Math
    HH 80%
    CH 89%

    5th Grade Science
    HH 84%
    CH 82%

    Total across all exams
    HH 82%
    CH 85%
    (note HH had more students advanced in all three of the 5th grade tests)

    So, while CH's scores overall may still be ahead of HH's, the scores are clearly significantly closer, with HH "winning" on 2/7, and I would argue 3/7 really since I would take HH's results on 3rd grade reading over HH's any day. There was not enough information available to calculate CPIs, or I'd have provided those for an alternate ranking.

    My take on this: rather than asking why Claypit is outperforming Happy Hollow, we should be asking what we can do to improve the performance of the special education students.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  14. #44
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    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.

  15. #45
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    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.

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