Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The Recurring Strategy of Smoke and Mirrors Continues

We have reviewed the massive presentation on Assessment posted on Board Docs (click to open report) that will occur at the next BOE meeting on Monday, November 18 at Elm School, 7pm.  We encourage our readers to do the same as there are some telling inferences we parents can make regarding the state of the education in D181 and how our children are being affected. Brace yourselves: there are 125 slides, but within the pretty pictures rest only a few key slides that give us an idea of the administration’s stance on their beliefs and status of the district.

Briefly, we will mention the most telling:

·      Did D181 actually adopt a platform of 1:1 computer/IPad use? Beginning  on page 8,  there is mention of 1:1, which is alarming to us because the results clearly do NOT support this platform. The test scores are lower, if not the lowest among the grades when 1:1 was apparently implemented.Wasn’t this a pilot that the BOE did not approve of furthering on a grand scale as demonstrated by the vote that took place in April 2013?

·      As evidenced by the trend lines on page 26, the trend line for subjects is clearly on a downward slide. No question about it. This graph is very telling, especially with Science taking an extreme nosedive. Why isn’t there a slide that states what the Dept. of Learning is going to DO about these trends? If they believe Learning for All is the answer, the children in our district are in serious trouble.

·      Another troubling piece of evidence is highlighted in the slides   starting at number 100 wherein the number of children who are at grade level and did not move upward are not mentioned in this report. These children are considered to be at grade level. This is a significant number of children. How can the administration and BOE review these significant numbers and believe it is acceptable practice to accelerate so many at grade level students?  Moreover, what programs will they be given to allow them to move into the “exceeds” category further down the road? Why isn’t this explained?

Bottom line:  It will be up to parents and certain board members publicly speaking out at this meeting, as was done at the last,  to question why the BOE is allowing D181 to move in a downward direction. There is now evidence, yes evidence with the MAP and ISAT scores, that the direction Dr. Schuster and her administrators have chosen appears to be having a negative impact on our children.

Talk about "data as a light” as is scripted within the slides. Indeed.

Postscript:  More data that needs to be carefully considered is the 4th Grade Math update Dr. Schuster gives in her report.  According to her report, "[t]he data shows that 90-95% of current fourth grade students are ready to progress to the concepts in fifth grade math based on multiple measures, including the Fall NWEA MAP, Everyday Math summative assessments, and classroom performance. The following table shows the data from the Everyday Math eSuites report on the percent of students mastering the objectives from the fourth grade unit Number and Operations." (Click to open Report)

What Dr. Schuster does not report on is what the actual standard for "mastering the objectives" was? Did it include only obtaining a 70% on the post tests?  Remember, last year, mastery required 80%, but this standard was lowered this year, without a meaningful explanation of why this was warranted.  Further, 4th grade parents have spoken out about students being allowed to correct their post test mistakes in order to get a higher score.  Which post test scores were used by the Department of Learning to assess a student's "mastery" of the material?  Finally, what matrix or formula did the Department of Learning use to evaluate and analyze the "multiple measures" and conclude that 90-95% of students are ready to progress to fifth grade math?  Let's hope one or more board members ask for this "data" and not just accept the Department of Learning's conclusions as fact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is the adminstration so reluctant to simply adopt the curriculum that the highest scoring districts use? It would save D181 lots of money-it just requires common sense and putting the children's education FIRST.

BOE majority- it's your responsibility to be the check and balance!! Demand better.