Thursday, October 1, 2015

Are Seattle Schools closing the Math "Opportunity Gap"? or just failing to report the data?

 Melissa Westbrook on her blog reported that Seattle Schools Math Staff reported little data about the "Opportunity Gap."
"But to the subgroups, there a slide...but no data."
 
Perhaps this data explains "the why" for the subgroup data omission:

SBAC 8th grade Math results for Black students show
 41.4% of Black students at Well Below Standard.


So why was that data missing?

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Lynn said...

    I am not thrilled to see that one of the measures of progress in "closing the gap" will be % of 8th Grade students completing Algebra 1 and demonstrating proficiency on state test.


So let us look at SPS 7th grade SBAC math results looking at SPS White and Black students.

Pass rate
72.9% White  Black 31.7%  (diff 41.2%)

Level 4 exceeds standard
47.4% White  Black  7.1% (diff 40.3%)

The EoC Math 1 tests only about the content of a first semester of Algebra 1 class

Why would anyone believe that putting lots more students into 8th grade Algebra makes any sense?

Is putting unprepared students into Algebra a good idea?
Tacoma puts almost all 8th graders in Algebra and it is a disaster for unprepared or low achieving kids.  Tacoma 8th grade SBAC math results show All students - Well below standard 35.8% and almost all of these 701 students were sitting in 8th grade Algebra class in Tacoma schools.

Tacoma SBAC 8th grade math results
Pass rates for
White 46.8%  Black 23.9%  (diff 22.9%)

Level 4 exceeds standard
23.9 White  Black  7.7% (diff 16.2%)

Tacoma 8th grade Black students:
Well below standard 47.8%  and most of these were in 8th grade Algebra.. Why?
All students Well below standard 35.8%
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Seattle SBAC 8th grade math results
Pass rates for
White 65.0%  Black 28.4% (diff 36.6%)

Black  Well Below Standard 41.4% 
All students Well Below Standard 17.4%

Not a very good performance for Seattle with 41.4% of Black students at Well Below Standard.
So much for closing the "Opportunity Gap" in Math.

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More SPS Data from SBAC 2015, MSP 2013, MSP 2011  in that order

average percent of grade 3 thru 8 scoring at Well Below Standard

37.7  ; 37.2  ; 44.2 :: Black

 10.7 ; 10.9 ; 14.3 :: Non Black

 5.8 ;; 6.7  ;; 8.6 :: White

 23.1 ; 22.3 ; 28.6 :: Non White

16.9 ; 15.7 ; 28.5 :: Non White & Non Black

29.5 ; 28.1 ; 34.7 :: Low Income

6.3 ;; 6.1 ;;  7.9 :: Non Low Income
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average percent of grade 3 thru 8 scoring at Exceeds Standard

 9.6 ;; 11.4 ;; 8.1 :: Black

 41.3 ; 45.3 ; 38.4 :: Non Black

 47.2 ; 52.3 ; 45.7 :: White

26.6  ; 29.3 ; 23.3 :: Non White

34.0 ; 37.2 ; 30.5 :: Non White & Non Black

17.5 ; 20.1 ; 15.0 :: Low Income

47.5  ; 53.7  ; 47.0 :: Non Low Income

4 comments:

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Dan

Thank you. Since the Data Profile Document was discontinued in 2012 it is very difficult to obtain relevant data. I appreciate your efforts and skill in doing so. When Director Peters asked about the discontinuation of the Data Profile Document the other evening at a Board work session, staff responded that the District continues to collect Data and gives it to OSPI. This is not sufficient, nor is it sufficient for many of us to attempt to obtain it on line. The Data Profile document must be resumed. Until (if ever) it is resumed, again thank you.

Also, do you have recommendations to change this tragic disproportionality in student academic achievement in math?

dan dempsey said...

Carol,

I sure do not know how to fix this mess but transparency would be a start.

John Hattie in "Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Student Learning"
puts fourth a model for organization for improvement. This model is the complete opposite of the SPS.

Hattie focuses on the expertise of teachers at the school level and empowering them by providing them with tools and the power to make improvements that they see as most needed.

In the past I saw Craig Parsley's classes produce huge improvement gains prior to the Everyday Math adoption and the district had no interest in what he was doing. Uniformity rather than the Maximization of Student learning is apparently the SPS goal.

Similarly Robert Femiano produced great results year after year with his 2nd grade classes and the district had no interest in what he was doing. In came "Readers and Writers" workshops.

I guess my immediate suggestion would be to elect Rick Burke and Jill Geary and see if the Board can begin leading the district forward by empowering teachers with a big de-emphasis on central office power.

-- Dan

ComtesseMalaise said...

I thought 8th grade students tested on 8th grade Math in SBAC, regardless of whether they're taking Algebra 1. SPS typically tests students by the grade in which they're enrolled, not the grade level of curriculum they take throughout the year.

The author of slide 13 doesn't specify that closing the achievement gap includes "% of 8th Grade students completing Algebra 1 and demonstrating proficiency of Math 8 on state tests."

Anonymous said...

ComtesseMalaise .... my point exactly.. the author tells us nothing about progress in closing the opportunity gap. In fact the author does not specify much.
"The author of slide 13 doesn't specify"

What I do know about 8th grade math for Black students in the SPS is ....

Seattle SBAC 8th grade math results
Pass rates for
White 65.0% Black 28.4% (diff 36.6%)

Black Well Below Standard 41.4%
All students Well Below Standard 17.4%

Not a very good performance for Seattle with 41.4% of Black students at Well Below Standard.
So much for closing the "Opportunity Gap" in Math.

Of course none of these stats are mentioned in the Work Session of Sept. 30, 2015.

-- Dan Dempsey