By now the news is spreading like wildfire across D181. The Fall 2015 to Spring 2016 MAP test Student Growth results are ABYSMAL!
On Monday, the D181 Administration posted the MAP test Student Growth summary results (District Wide and School by School) on Board Docs for the May 9, 2016 BOE meeting. The two reports can be accessed in their entirety at the following links:
District wide Results: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/hccsdil/Board.nsf/files/A9SPMW6508EE/$file/2015-2016%20Fall-Spring%20Growth%20Summary%20Reports%20-%20District.pdf
School by School Results:
Rather than show you images of each page of the report, we have created our own Comparative Chart that highlights the Grade Level Growth for each school.
We expect that you will have the same reaction to the results that we did -- one of shock and disappointment in how D181 has let our children down.
We begin by reminding our readers that D181 students in Grades 2 through 8 took the MAP test last Fall and this Spring. Each time the students take the MAP test, they are given a projected growth target of how many RIT points their new score is projected to increase from their prior score by. Each student has a different growth target. The MAP Reports D181 ordered from NWEA (the Northwest Evaluation Association) show the percentage of students that met their Projected Growth Target. We have highlighted in RED the lowest % growth target met in each grade in Math and Reading.
Grade 2 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 37 47
Elm 31 38
Madison 44 56
Monroe 32 31
Oak 38 68
Prospect 26 53
The Lane 51 41
Walker 36 49
Grade 3 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 37 47
Elm 44 50
Madison 41 52
Monroe 28 43
Oak 58 60
Prospect 28 48
The Lane 40 41
Walker 19 32
Grade 4 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 41 47
Elm 45 45
Madison 43 37
Monroe 28 35
Oak 59 59
Prospect 51 70
The Lane 23 48
Walker 41 45
Grade 5 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 37 51
Elm 52 54
Madison 50 52
Monroe 38 44
Oak 46 54
Prospect 37 56
The Lane 29 47
Walker 26 47
Grade 6 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 36 56
CHMS 40 56
HMS 33 55
Grade 7 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 45 50
CHMS 52 48
HMS 37 51
Grade 8 % Met Math Growth Target % Met Reading Growth Target
District Wide 26 33
CHMS 30 27
HMS 27 38
In looking at these results, the question to be asked is "What percentage of students should be meeting their growth targets?"
Let us recall that in 2013, there was much discussion at the Board table about this because NWEA (the testing company) had historically told school districts that 70% of students in high achieving school districts should be meeting their growth targets. At the June 10, 2013 board meeting, when the 2012-2013 MAP data was presented, Kevin Russell, former Director of Curriculum and Assessment, stated that despite this statement being included in the Fall 2012 MAP results letters that D181 parents received, NWEA now was taking the position that the new goal was that 50 to 60% of students would meet the target. (See June 13, 2013 Blog Post.) For those of you with a good memory, in the months that followed, the BOE formed a committee to set growth goals, culminating in a goal that at least 55% of students should meet their growth targets. This goal has continued for each school as documented in the 2015-2016 School Improvement Plans presented at the November 9, 2015 BOE meeting. (Click to open 2015-2016 School Improvement Plans.)
With the watered down goal from 70% to 55%, parents have a right to expect that the schools at each grade level will meet this growth target. So, there is no question that the percentage of D181 students who met their individualized growth targets for the 2015-2016 school year is unacceptably low.
How many schools (7 elementary and 2 middle) had 55% or more of the students meeting their math and reading targets?
In 2nd grade, 0 in math and 1 in reading.
In 3rd grade, 1 in math and 1 in reading.
In 4th grade, 1 in math and 2 in reading.
In 5th grade, 0 in math and 1 in reading.
In 6th grade, 0 in math and 2 (of 2) in reading.
In 7th grade, 0 in math and 0 in reading.
In 8th grade, 0 in math and 0 in reading.
But worse than only a few schools having 55% or more of the student meeting their growth targets, was the absurdly low percentile seen at some schools and the very clear discrepancy shown between schools. Two examples will show the discrepancy: While 58% of Oak's 3rd graders met their Math growth targets, only 19% of Walker's 3rd graders did. And while 68% of Oak's 2nd graders met their Reading growth targets, only 31% of Monroe's 3rd graders did.
How can this be? Same district, same grade, yet shockingly different growth results. And those two examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, in all fairness to the administration, we have listened to the May 9, 2016 BOE meeting podcast, and during the meeting, when a couple of BOE members raised concerns about the results, Dr. Carol Larson, the Director of Assessment and Program Effectiveness, made the following statement:
The results "misrepresent the total percentage of students who are meeting growth goals and there's a long explanation to it but I just happened to find it out by going through the data set and coming across a discrepancy and so when I contacted NWEA they said 'yeah that is a discrepancy' and they are actually looking into doing some revision work with their growth summary reports because there are people who are complaining about that -- it's misleading. But again, I would need all the visuals to really explain it more thoroughly." (5/9/2016 Meeting Podcast, Counter 2:10:21.)
She explained that she is going to be presenting a more detailed report to the Learning Committee at the upcoming May 16 committee meeting (to be held at the Administration Center starting at 6 p.m.) (Click to open Board Docs Agenda for upcoming 5/16/16 Learning Committee Meeting.)
Our reaction to Dr. Larson's statement is that it appears that the administration may once again be cranking up the old Spin Machine in an attempt to minimize the growth results and deflect attention away from the obvious questions -- the WHY questions -- that would explain how so few of our students are achieving appropriate growth after one year of learning.
The following are questions that we hope are answered at the Learning Committee Meeting next Monday:
1. What DISCREPANCY is Dr. Larson talking about? She shouldn't have needed VISUALS to give a brief explanation to the seven, intelligent BOE members!
2. Why the heck would the Administration post growth reports for the BOE and community to read and react to that it believed were incorrect? Even if the Board President asked for the reports in her 5/9 Board Member questions, wouldn't it have been more responsible for the administration to decline the request and answer that the reports that the District received were possibly erroneous and the BOE needed to wait for the corrected reports? (See 5/9/2016 Board Member Questions.) You will note that the answer provided simply states that the Reports would be posted and THERE WAS NO INDICATION that there might be a problem with the reports. Just what exactly was the Administration thinking when it published these reports? Perhaps the answer is that IT WASN'T THINKING! Or perhaps Dr. Larson hadn't advised Dr. White of the possible problems with the report? Why else would they KNOWINGLY publish reports for the community that they SHOULD HAVE ASSUMED would cause serious concerns to be expressed by BOE members and Parents?
3. Or is it the case that Dr. Larson is simply hoping that there will be a way to spin the data if NWEA creates a second set of reports that may focus on something Dr. Larson wants the testing company to focus on?
4. If Dr. Larson is correct and caught a "discrepancy" that invalidates all of the reports, has this discrepancy existed in prior years' reports thus invalidating them as well?
5. For years now, placement metrics for the D181 tiered classes have relied on MAP data. Last fall, 8th grade MAP scores were also used by D86 to place the incoming fall 2016 Freshmen into their classes. If Dr. Larson is correct and NWEA has been generating erroneous reports, then what else might be wrong with past and current reported MAP test data? Could the RIT scores also have been reported incorrectly for one or more students? Could the NORMS that NWEA has created over the years also been faulty? HOW CAN ANY D181 PARENT (or teacher, for that matter) TRUST THE MAP DATA?
We fully expect that Dr. Larson will come prepared to answer not just these questions but all questions that the Learning Committee members may ask. We expect that she will not deflect or delay answering any of the questions and that by the end of the meeting, she will be in a position to prepare a WRITTEN REPORT for the FULL BOE that fully explains the statement she made at the May 9, 2016 BOE Meeting.
We will be waiting and listening for a full explanation and hope -- for the sake of our students and teachers -- that this isn't another instance of the SPIN MACHINE blowing at FULL SPEED. The bottom line is that if 55% of every school's and every grade's students are not meeting their growth target, there is something very seriously wrong. Is it a problem with the curriculum? Is it a problem with the teaching? Is it a problem with the professional development that our teachers have (or have not) been getting? Is it a problem (again) with the Department of Learning Administrators?
There has to be accountability for such poor performance. The data cannot be ignored. How bad does the situation have to get before EVERYONE wakes up -- from all SEVEN board members, to ALL D181 Parents, to Dr. White -- that someone must finally be held accountable for this poor performance data?