Friday, January 27, 2012

Prich Pushes Back on False Charter Claims

Kentucky students are not behind 
Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, or the nation

This from Prichard:  
The information presented by KARE in commercials here and here and website text here invites serious misunderstandings. No matter your position on charter schools, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and the nation are not doing better than Kentucky on the student performance measures KARE presents.

Fourth-Grade Reading
KARE’s commercials cite 2011 NAEP results showing:
  • 65% of Kentucky students reading below the proficient level. 
That figure is correct, but Kentucky is not scoring behind the states with charter schools listed in the KARE commercial. Instead, the same assessment shows:
  •  67% of Indiana students reading below the proficient level.
  • 66% of Ohio students reading below the proficient level.
  • 74% of Tennessee students reading below the proficient level. 
  • 68% of students nationwide reading below the proficient level.
Fourth grade reading results do not show Kentucky scoring behind the states listed in the KARE commercial...


Anonymous said...

Prichard pushes back, but they are citing Kentucky's NAEP reading scores to do so. That is a big problem because those scores are now coming into serious question due to Kentucky's way above average exclusion of students with learning disabilities.

I have heard that the Florida commissioner of education is so upset about this that he is asking the National Assessment Governing Board to suppress scores from states with high exclusion rates in future NAEP testing.

Also, your 'good friends' at the Bluegrass Institute point out that the new state education report card from the American Legislative Exchange Commission is already refusing to post scores in many comparisions for Kentucky and other high exclusion states.

You may not like the Bluegrass Institute, but they seem to have this story a lot more accurately than Prichard.

Richard Day said...

If we threw out every metric that had a flaw we wouldn't report anything to the public. The trick is to not over read the results.

Aside from that, (and I confess that I haven't read up on this topic recently) I suspect Richard Innes is generally correct if he is reporting that Kentucky's exclusion rates have been above average; perhaps well above.

Other states have their own issues. I trust the NAEP folks to keep it in balance.

I believe from my 31 years in the field that Kentucky teachers are generally well-disposed toward the welfare of their students. I have witnessed special needs children crying in their seats, totally frustrated by the testing experience. I have wondered at times if that was related to Kentucky's exclusion rate. I have also wondered if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

But everyone has to agree that you can't allow "cheating." So in my mind, it's a question of where you draw that line.

Anonymous said...

I am a school teacher in Fayette County Public Schools. The subject of the testing of special needs students is interesting to me.

I have seen so-called "scribes" write down detailed, cogent answers the students themselves could never write. At my school, if you scribe for a special needs student, you are expected to cheat. And I'm expected to be a whistle-blower? Who would I call? Who would believe me over a principal? How does one report cheating on testing. I could not find a number on the KDE website. Perhaps you know the protocall, Mr. Day. Please enlighten me.

Skip kifer said...

The exclusion rate is an important issue. And there is no easy answer! I was on NAEP design and analysis committee for more than the last decade. We discussed this issue on several occasions.

The central problem is that is not clear how students who are excluded would score if they were to be tested. An assumption that they would all be low scorers is probably untenable.

Of course if we did not have such a penchent for ranking, there would be no such problem. We could interpret NAEP results in terms of what kids do well and what they do not do so well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous contributor; it is almost an obsession to compare and rank schools, districts and even states based on standardized testing. Even our own federal and state governments encourage it with their "Race to the top" competition for fed bucks and the constant reminders of our state that "scores will be made public on X day". I can't help thinking that at times the scores are as much a political tool for leaders to puff of their chests or demand more resources depending upon how you compare to the guy next door or some "national average" (God knows we all want to avoid being average.)

The value of the test score is of the most significance to the teacher, the student and the student's family, and not the basis for some global, homogenized average which is suppose to indicate if your school, district or state is doing a good job compared to the someone else. Does it really benefit or tell us anything if kids in a rural Kentucky school score differently than kids in Rochester New York or El Paso, Texas on one test in a single year?

Richard Innes said...

RE: Skip Kifer's comments

The NAEP exclusion issue is important.

However, there apparently are answers, elsewhere.

Nationally, exclusion rates for learning disabled students dropped considerably in the 2011 testing on 4th grade reading. Across the country, the overall exclusion rate for learning disabled students dropped from 5% of the entire raw sample NAEP wanted to test in 2007 to just 3% in 2011.

Kentucky was a huge outlier in the 2011 fourth grade NAEP reading assessment, excluding 8% of its raw sample. Elsewhere, 40 states had an exclusion rate for learning disabled students half or less of Kentucky's figure.

But, this will probably change in 2013. Starting this year, Kentucky will no longer allow state reading tests to be read by a proctor to students with learning disabilities. This one accommodation has been the major cause of exclusion in Kentucky's NAEP samples, but that should now change.

There is another benefit from the new Kentucky testing policy. Before, schools could avoid making any real effort to teach learning disabled students to read. They could carry such students all the way through the school system, reading them every test. No longer. Now, schools will be under pressure to try to teach all to read, even those who are more challenging to teach.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand much about any of this charter school stuff, but I know there are a lot of young teachers who can't find a job, a couple of big box store buildings that have gone out of business that I can get some good rental prices on, a number of disenfranciesed parents, schools on ebay trying to make some money on surplus school furniture/computers and some old buses I can lease and stick Applebees and Walmart signs on the side.

What is the worst thing that can happen: I lose my state funding after two or three years. If it works out, I can call myself a headmaster of the XYZ charter school academy. Heck, we might even get to play in the all A tournament!