Monday, August 17, 2015

Dorn wants changes made to HS Graduation System

Dorn Pleased With State Test Results, Wants Changes Made to High School Graduation System

August 17, 2015, I was the only person from the general public to be present at the 10 AM Press Release of Test Results.

No Mr. Dorn did NOT advocate for anything different than a one-size fits-all diploma, just different requirements for that diploma.

Deputy Supt. Gil Mendoza stated that all students under 21 are entitled to a free and appropriate k-12 education.  Supt. Randy Dorn apparently wants nearly the same high standards for all.  He fails to address that his high standards for all mean impossible to meet standards for some and hardly an appropriate education for many.

Dorn is clearly opposed to using testing as a graduation requirement especially SBAC testing.  He sees getting a passing grade in required courses as an acceptable standard for graduation.

OSPI states that: Statewide results beat our predictions

Yet statewide SBAC Math results for all 8th grade students resulted in 26.4% of students at well below standard.

8th grade SBAC Math percent of students placing at level 1, well below standard in 2015 testing
compared with (2013 MSP Math).

26.4%  (25.7%) - All students
39.8%  (37.4%) - Low Income
15.2%  (14.7%) - Asian/ Pacific Islander
21.0%  (20.8%) - White
41.4%  (38.7%) - Hispanic
45.1%  (45.3%) - Black/ African American
47.9%  (48.7%) - American Indian/ Alaska Native

Given 2013 MSP Math results and even though the politician speak is that SBAC Math is a higher standard, these results did not beat my predictions.

The ed speak at both the federal and state level gets increasingly convoluted, sanity seems nowhere in sight.

Prediction: if 24 credits becomes a graduation requirement look for a large increase in Online Credit Recovery Options, which will require little time or effort to gain credit for previously failed classes.

Education at the state and federal level is mostly about generating favorable statistics and keeping vendors in the loop.

Unfortunately I heard nothing that makes me think appropriate levels of remediation will be coming in HS.

It will be interesting to see what colleges find in the level of mathematical preparedness in future students when using SBAC as a placement tool around remedial math courses.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Common Core Testing takes a Beating at NY Times

The NY Times in an editorial criticized the Opt-Out resistance movement =>

Opting Out of Standardized Tests Isn’t the Answer

In 24 hours this generated 600 responses that were overwhelmingly in opposition to the editorial's position.  Read the editorial and then some of the comments.

sample: Apparently the editorial board of the NYT can't hear the music even when it's blaring in their collective ears. A lot of people are disgusted by the so-called efforts to "reform" education, since much of the impetus comes from corporate interest whose primary goals include the destruction of democratic free education for all. You'd have to be deaf and blind to miss why informed, intelligent adults don't want to hand education over to the publishing and testing giants, the hedge-fund managers, and others whose goals are at odds with many of the most basic tenets of American democracy. Chiding parents for a freely-chosen, meaningful protest against testing madness and the corporate scheming behind it bespeaks a deep failure to grasp the point of education: it isn't to provide data and capital for corporations.

OSPI Press Conference 8-17-15 at 10 AM

On Monday August 17, 2015 in the Senate Building at 10 AM,
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn will make a statement with the release of Test Scores.  The State Board of Education on August 5th announced that the SBAC cut scores would be set at a level below the Proficient level.

I plan to attend and hand out this double sided handout .pdf=> double sided handout

urging that:                        
Washington State replace its current one-size fits all diploma with three diplomas, similar to New York State’s Local, Regents, and Advanced Regents diplomas, to radically improve the current system for all students.   

double sided handout in word .docx

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Replace the One-Size Fits-All Diploma

Washington State should replace its current one-size fits all diploma with three diplomas, similar to New York State’s Local, Regents, and Advanced Regents diplomas.

It is my belief that Washington State needs three different diplomas to radically improve the current system for all students.  The current requirements for a diploma are inadequate because they contribute to a system operating largely as a one-size fits-all system instead of respecting the vast diversity in the student population. It fails to provide an appropriate educational opportunity that meets each student’s needs.

Politicians like aspirational goals that are strong on rhetoric and weak on contact with reality.  No Child Left Behind was going to have 100% of students proficient by 2014.  Our state legislators want “internationally competitive standards” achieved by all. The current plan of one-diploma with high stakes testing and college ready courses, when universally applied to all students as a graduation requirement, has no chance of success because it makes no sense.

On August 5, the State Board of Education lowered the cut score on the SBAC testing for passing to below the “standard score for proficient”.  Then explained that this was done to ease the transition for our system and demonstrate fairness to students. This statement was needed to maintain the dual illusions of fairness and quality in this unfair one-diploma system.

This current system is incredibly weak on fairness to students.  If the current monolithic graduation requirements were rigorously applied it would be a “school to unemployment pipeline” for a significant number of pupils.  Thus we find fakery and dishonesty in place of rigor.  The current system results in teachers fudging the passing requirements for many courses as well as the lowering of cut scores on state assessments.

For several years, 25% of 8th grade students have been scoring at far below basic on the MSP Math assessment.  The SBE’s expectations for high school students avoid reality and harm many students. We must offer appropriate remedial courses and revise the diploma situation to move forward with a system that provides appropriate instruction for all and maximizes the educational opportunity for each student regardless of ability.

For the betterment of all students we should put in place three levels of diplomas and the instruction to support students in attaining these diplomas:

(1) The Academic Diploma with current graduation requirements in place in regard to credits in required courses and measures of proficiency.

(2) An Advanced Academic Diploma (similar to NY State’s Advanced Regents Diploma) that requires ACT or International Baccalaureate proficiency in at least four subject areas as well as Math credits through Pre-Calculus, a foreign language and meets all other current course requirements for graduation.

(3) The General Diploma, which would require math through Algebra and the passing of an End of Course Algebra assessment  as well as other realistic graduation requirements.  (See NY State’s local diploma.)

Here is the Dropbox link to my letter written to the State Board of Education on the necessity for three high school diplomas. ===>

Monday, July 27, 2015

Problems with Common Core Math

Wayne Bishop PhD.  who taught at Cal State LA and worked with Jaime "Stand and Deliver" Escalante's high school kids,  puts forth these thoughts.

Youngsters who struggle with math simply need their teachers to show them how to do the math and then practice themselves how to do it—a lot! Why is such instruction so hard for them to come by?

The question may have been rhetorical but the answer is obvious and, regrettably, endorsed nationally by Common Core-Math.  The “professional” math ed industry has had a love affair with Constructivism for decades so teachers are taught and centrally-approved math curricula reflects heavy emphasis on small learning groups using manipulatives with everybody - even the “facilitator” (as opposed to knowledgeable teacher teaching) - discovering heretofore unknown mathematics including a variety of equally-valued computational algorithms.  A naïve mathematician can read the chapter, that is an immediate preamble to all actual math content specifications, Standards for Mathematical Practice, and exclaim, “Right on!”  Having first worked with its primary author and one of the three primary authors of the entire CCSS-M almost 30 years ago, Phil Daro, my immediate reaction was, “We’re dead.  From here on, everything is rearranging deck chairs.”  That is, in spite of the language, it will be interpreted exactly as he intended that it be interpreted, a national endorsement for Constructivism.

  Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institute recently nailed it in his “Implementing CCSS-M”:

From the Conclusion

In the study of numbers, a coherent K-12 math curriculum, similar to that of the previous California and Massachusetts frameworks, can be sketched in a few short sentences.  Addition with whole numbers (including the standard algorithm) is taught in first grade, subtraction in second grade, multiplication in third grade, and division in fourth grade.  Thus, the study of whole number arithmetic is completed by the end of fourth grade.  Grades five through seven focus on rational numbers (fractions, decimals, percentages), and grades eight through twelve study advanced mathematics.  Proficiency is sought along three dimensions:  1) fluency with calculations, 2) conceptual understanding, 3) ability to solve problems.

 ‘It is true that standards, any standards, cannot control implementation, especially the twists and turns in how they are interpreted by educators and brought to life in classroom instruction. But in this case, the standards themselves are responsible for the myriad approaches, many unproductive, that we are sure to see as schools teach various algorithms under the Common Core.”

Career and College Ready for All ???? No WAY

Washington State ACT results for Career and College Readiness

In 2014 14,667 Washington State HS Graduates took the ACT test.  This was approximately 22% of the graduates in Washington State.

The following percents of this group met the ACT benchmarks in each area.

English 74%
Reading 58%
Math 62%
Science 52%
All Four 41%  <= These students are really College Ready.

What about the other students in this 14,667 group of graduates that decided to take the ACT?

The following percent of students missed the benchmark score by 3 or more points in each area.

English 19%
Reading 30%
Math 31%
Science 35%

It is really time to put in place graduation requirements that realistically deal with reality.

Career or College ready ==>

General Diploma

Academic Diploma - current requirements

Advanced Academic Diploma => 3.0+ GPA and meet all 4 ACT benchmarks .. 4 credits of English and Math credits through Pre-Calculus etc.

5% of Black students tested show college ready in 4 areas of ACT

ACT report for 2014  National and States scores  & African American Students

 241,678 African-American students took the ACT in 2014

Here are the percents of students that met ACT benchmarks in various disciplines.

Black students percent in (  )  

English 64% ( 34% )

Reading 44% ( 17% )

Math 43% ( 14 % )

Science 37% ( 10% )

All Four Subjects 26% ( 5% )

When will WA State stop the fraud of "Career & College Ready" Graduation requirements?