Whole Lotta News!

Suddenly a big news day.

In New Jersey state ed chief Brett Schundler has been fired by the governor over this budget issue with Race to the Top.  Wow.  Given how Governor Christie has treated Schundler throughout this process good luck finding someone strong for that position.   And, given that Schundler was a favorite of the school choice crowd, what’s the fallout there?

Sad news from Kentucky, Robert Sexton has died. He headed the Prichard Committee, arguably the prototypical state education advocacy organization.  As a result he was instrumental in key education policy battles around standards and finance among other issues.

A lot of jaws dropped over this story in The Washington Post today.  Legitimate issue but the Post came down hard one way and didn’t caveat things.  Were they just mimicking The Times and their stories on the gaps there?  In any event,  at TNR Jon Chait cuts to the chase. Save yourself some time and read that.

TNTP continues to hit the cover off the ball. And it’s a scandal that the citizens of D.C. don’t have a better public university. The new rankings of dropout factories also, again, illustrate that profit – non-profit is not an especially useful quality delineation in our field right now.

60 Responses to “Whole Lotta News!”

  1. phillipmarlowe Says:

    A lot of jaws dropped

    Then a lot of people don’t read the data.
    You can read more at
    gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/progress-or-not-wapo-says-yes-keep-rhee-fenty-i-think-they-are-spinning-things/

  2. steve f. Says:

    I would also make this comment over at the TNR site, but it seems they have a pay-user only comment board.

    It seems Jon Chait misreads the data and posts charts that contradict his point. He argues that the achievement gap is only stalled or slightly larger because all the students are raising their achievement, with white students making larger gains in 2010. But, the charts suggest that these gains are only gains compared to 2009 levels and are actually below 2007 and 2008 achievement levels, so indeed taken over the four years, we have no gains in achievement for white students and achievement gains for black students have stalled. This was Bill Turque point. And, he’s right.

    What are those caveats? Jon Chait doesn’t provide them.

    It’s stupid to continue groveling over the presentation of pointless test data. These kids need support and they need an education. Let’s stop this data-driven madness.

  3. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Jonathan Chait’s headline is awful as well:

    The Education Gap Is Not A Race War

  4. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    We might be able to help low-achieving children if we looked for the causes of the gap. What do privileged children have that makes learning so much easier for them?

    As suggested by many researchers (See “The Meaning Makers” by Gordon Wells) one very significant difference is the quality of language acquisition during the crucial years from birth to age five. Instead of the asinine “no excuses,” what would happen if we tried to address the causes of low achievement?

    Although I’m not happy with the direction that the present “reform” is taking, I think it will reveal the obvious: even with very effective teachers, impoverished children often do quite poorly in school compared to their privileged counterparts. It’s time to ask why and how can we best help provide all children with the basics needed to succeed in school.

  5. Billy Bob Says:

    RE: NJ

    Wow–surprise surprise–when an ed reformer is held accountable and gets fired, its not very cool. But all the ed reformers clap their hands when a teacher gets fired. If we are going to fire people over performance, then we should start at the top. Kudos to Gov Christie for not being a hypocrite like the rest of the people at the top.

  6. Billy Bob Says:

    RE DC gap story

    You cannot asses the achievement gap using proficiency measures or anything else with a cut score. Sheesh–when will people learn.

    Well, I guess you CAN calculate it that way, but you would be wrong-headed in doing so. Reminiscent of a crappy Public Impact analysis.

  7. Chris Smyr Says:

    What data is being analyzed with these charts? I’m checking the DC-CAS test scores but am not seeing the same numbers. For example, the % of black/non-hispanic students at proficiency for secondary reading is above 40% for 2009 and 2010, but that’s not depicted, and furthermore the gaps seem to be calculated differently as well.

    Here’s my data analysis from the DC-CAS report cards online:

    Secondary Reading 2010
    Black Proficiency: 43.14%
    White Proficiency: 90.12%
    Achievement Gap: 46.98%

    Secondary Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 42.17%
    White Proficiency: 88.48%
    Achievement Gap: 46.31%

    Secondary Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 39.26%
    White Proficiency: 94.68%
    Achievement Gap: 55.42%

    Secondary Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 31.38%
    White Proficiency: 92.23%
    Achievement Gap: 60.85%

    Secondary Reading 2006
    Black Proficiency: 29.09%
    White Proficiency: 81.87%
    Achievement Gap: 52.78%

    This data would suggest that Chait is correct in asserting that the growth in the secondary reading achievement gap from 2009 to 2010 (a whopping 0.67%) is caused by the higher growth in proficiency of white students. Black students continued their upward progress in proficiency but not at the same rate, although their growth in proficiency since 2007 (+11.76%) is definitely something to write home about.

    Similar results can be found for secondary math as well:

    Secondary Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 45.09%
    White Proficiency: 89.34%
    Achievement Gap: 44.25%

    Secondary Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 42.65%
    White Proficiency: 84.87%
    Achievement Gap: 42.22%

    Secondary Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 37.16%
    White Proficiency: 93.84%
    Achievement Gap: 56.68%

    Secondary Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 29.19%
    White Proficiency: 91.6%
    Achievement Gap: 62.41%

    Secondary Math 2006
    Black Proficiency: 22.83%
    White Proficiency: 76.45%
    Achievement Gap: 53.62%

    Linda/RetiredTeacher:

    What’s asinine is you suggesting that those who rally together with a refrain of “No Excuses” are not interested in bettering the very conditions that negatively bear on our students’ ability to learn, whether these be hunger, lack of health care, or the implicit biases inherent in our society. Let me be more direct: it borders on idiocy to continue this paradigm of ‘ed reformers don’t want to reform other aspects of society’. The dichotomy between better teachers and better living conditions exists only within the provincial arguments of those such as Linda et al.

    Despite additional obstacles that may dampen the achievement of some of our student populations, there are movements and strategies in place that seek to eliminate these educational inequities. While success is measured in inches, these small victories are nonetheless happening, owing to the efforts of the very students that some are claiming should not be able to do it due to the added hardships in their lives. Perhaps we can help get more of these kids to achieve the same?

    What’s more, while it can be argued that having a society that equally supports all of its children’s non-education needs is a necessary condition to completely eliminate these achievement gaps, it does *not* follow that this condition is sufficient. You need to explain why we should believe that “simply” fixing all of these societal problems will *itself* lead to high achievement for all students. Most of the research I’ve seen suggests that having effective schools/teachers/curricula is itself likely a necessary condition to producing highly proficient students; we need effective schools to make headway. Time will tell whether this latter condition is sufficient or indeed requires an overhaul of public policy to further support students. I’m going to hedge my bets and continue to support both movements, although I believe one has the advantage when comparing their possible time frames. What about you?

  8. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris,

    The Banana Slug grad curriculum must not be very instructive.

    Evidence shows that most schools serving students who are not poor do quite well in state-, national, -and international assessments. Where we fall behind is with poor kids. Ergo, perhaps all schools are equally effective (this is supported by the LA Times analysis)) and the only difference is the situation that the kids have to experience.

    A scientist and economist would want to ensure adequate levels of the pre-condition (wealth, access to health care. etc) before changing anything to do with teachers, etc. If you change both at the same time, you won’t know which of the two caused any changes in outcomes. And, given all the value-added evidence that there are effective teachers in every school, one has to conclude that poverty is the real culprit.

  9. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    For many years it was assumed that the low-achieving schools had ineffective teachers while the high-scoring schools had effective ones. However, now with the value-added news from the Los Angeles Times, we know that most low-income schools have extremely hard-working teachers who are very successful despite great odds. Even so, the students of these highly-effective teachers usually have test scores that are significantly lower than the students of the weaker teachers in affluent schools. This is going to be the real lesson of the Los Angeles Times articles, and it’s a priceless one. I personally witnessed this throughout my career, so I know it’s true.

    Now people who want to close the achievement gap are going to have to ask: “What is it that the high-achieving children have OUTSIDE of school that makes such a dramatic difference in school performance? What can the community do to provide all children with opportunities and conditions that are basic to high scholastic performance? My guess is the two critical variables are adequate health-care and high-quality interactions with adults during the first five years of life. Although caring and conscientious parents can never be replaced, we can provide health care and infant and toddler learning experiences for at-risk children.

  10. Billy Bob Says:

    Linda, the problem is that fixing the outside issues is gonna cost a whole lot more money and there is no relatively powerless group like teachers to blame for the failures of leadership.

    My prediction? We will blame parents and whole communities for not doing what is right for their kids rather than blaming a system that sets up entire communities for failure. Leaders in this day and age want accountability for everyone but themselves and will NEVER take the blame for anything. They always look for a scapegoat. That’s not true leadership.

  11. Billy Bob Says:

    DC and Michelle Rhee

    So, Rhee fires a bunch of teachers for “underachieving” and not meeting goals. But when she does meet the goals she set out for herself, why doesn’t she get fired or take responsibility and resign her position? Because today’s ed reformers want accountability for everyone but themselves.

  12. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    You should quantify what you think “quite well” means, as I see that there’s still a lot of improvement that can be made by white and asian students, yet won’t happen unless schools continue to increase in effectiveness. Research focusing on just better instructional strategies rather than the achievement gap has shown that there are some teachers and strategies that are more effective than others. Not all schools are equally effective, and I think asserting such (further) ruins your credibility, or at least any that you may still have on these forums.

    As an example of the improvements white students have made, the scores of white students in DCPS have increased since 2006, and I’m guessing that’s not because we’ve fixed any of their economic situations. Another example: in 1983 a Nation at Risk warned us of floundering student achievement as a whole, due to the growing inadequacies of our educational system. We’ve come a long way since then, and not because our society had suddenly learned to better support our students’ families.

    And yet another thing: even taking into account the socioeconomic status of students, variation in student achievement is still seen and is dependent on school/teacher effectiveness. The Coleman Report was one such source suggesting this, but I’ve read others, too.

    Finally, your suggestion that we need to change either wealth or teachers, but one at a time, is outrageous since 1) you’re not going to offer a time frame for how to implement a change to these kids’ level of wealth and health care, 2) you’re going to continue to argue that we don’t need to create more effective schools since they are “all equally effective”, and 3) you’re valuing the need for scientists to ensure adequate controls over the need for our poorest students to succeed. What’s next on the list of suggestions: employing a range of placebos in medical research for the critically ill? F*** ethics, right?

  13. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris, Chris, Chris . . . once you finish that masters degree and make it through a PhD program and get some real experience and perspective, you will be able to do something besides be a flame thrower on a website.

    You pretty much ignore the fact that we have to address issues of poverty. Typical TFA, KIPP crap. When the bandwagon swings, you’ll see the light.

    Your example is typical of a fledgling grad student. Test scores ALWAYS go up. Go read Koretz, Linn, and the other testing experts. You assume that the increase in test scores reflects real learning. It often simply means that kids are getting better at talking tests.

    But, if you want to trot out test scores, look at the NAEP which shows DC students making the same improvements pre- and post-Rhee. What does that say for your reforms?

    If you had read any REAL analyses of the data used in a Nation at Risk, you would know that the analyses were tragically flawed. It was a political document used to lay the blame of poor economic performance at the feet of educators rather than economists who make education policy. Kinda of like today.

    And yes, there is some variation in student performance across schools, but the variation is rather small after controlling for student characteristics and school culture. Same with teachers with the exception of outliers–teachers at the very top and bottom of the distribution.

    And speaking of reading and interpreting reports correctly, the Coleman report did NOT find that schools made a difference. In fact, if you re-read the report, the authors concluded that schools don’t matter–that student characteristics explain pretty much all variance in achievement. Now, a re-analysis by Dan Goldhaber in the late 1980s or 1990s that used more sophisticated techniques found that the conclusion was not entirely correct. But, any statistical analysis of student achievement reveals that student background characteristics explain the largest proportion of the variance in both levels of achievement and gains in achievement. Teacher quality is the most important school factor, but it is not as strong of a predictor as student characteristics.

    And speaking of a lack of ethics, allowing the poverty rates to increase while decreasing education funding while concomitantly allowing large chunks of money to flow into programs with unproven track records like charter schools and TFA is ethical? Ignoring the effects of poverty is ethical? Telling poor kids to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps is ethical? Telling teachers to just have a no excuses attitude while cutting pay, benefits, and creating worse working conditions is ethical?

    I don’t think so. Which is why I enjoy getting the goat of a petulant, insignificant grad student who thinks he knows everything because he parrots the conventional thinking of reformers after spending a few years in a classroom Go to a REAL education school and take some hard-core classes that look into these matters with some depth instead of getting your info from eduwonk, education next, and TFA newsletters.

  14. Billy Bob Says:

    And go buy and read a Gerald Bracey book while you are trying to get a real education instead of ingesting corporate talking points.

  15. Billy Bob Says:

    And Chris–what is your stance on Rhee? Shouldn’t she be fired for not meeting her stated goals just as she fired teachers for not meeting goals? Yes or no?

  16. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Chris,
    The stats you present have some problems.
    DCPS lists under elementary schools several schools that have students in 7th, 8th and 10th grade.
    Those kids don’t show up in the secondary list you got.
    Likewise for secondary.
    Some of their schools includes grade 5 and 6 and so those students don’t show up in the elementary list.
    To get an accurate, one would need to look at the LEA of DCPS and then look at each grade from 3 to 8, and 10th.

    (Billy Bob, don’t waste your time asking Chris for criticisms of Miss Rhee. As Chris has repeatly told edlharris, she can do or say anything, in his book)

  17. Chris Smyr Says:

    phillipmarlowe:

    Thanks, I’ll check the data out now. By the way, I never “repeatly [sic] told edlharris [that Rhee] can do or say anything”. Edlharris is a peculiar poster that continually links to a comment thread that he refused to offer any counter arguments in, and every time I acknowledge his existence, the same silence persists on his end. Better to ignore.

    Billy Bob:

    1) Stop trying to insult me if you have no idea who I am. Attacks on my background have no bearing on the arguments that you’re making, and it comes off as more than silly since you (and others) are always incorrectly guessing what my background really is.

    2) “Flamethrower on a website.” Now that is funny.

    I’m astounded that when, after someone feels the urge to post some rather empty and nasty assertions about some aspect of charter schools or ed reform or the intentions of the people who work for either, I reply with a curt rebuttal, it’s me who is starting the flame war. I’m not letting that slip by. You (and others) don’t get to post senseless accusations of others and expect kind words and kumbayas in reply.

    And I’m hardly being nasty in my responses; if you count how many times I’ve fallaciously attacked the character of someone else versus how often the tactic is used against me, I come off looking like a goddamn saint on this board. There’s a difference between spitting out every passive-aggressive insult you can think of, and giving certain arguments the proper burial they deserve.

    3) If you read my statements closely, I didn’t ignore poverty at all. I even suggested that it’s outrageous to assert that we shouldn’t change more than two variables at a time (better teachers and better preconditions), for fear of losing our controls. I compared this to the ethics of medical research, but you didn’t want to respond to that.

    4) The simple response to “test scores ALWAYS go up” would be: then everyone anywhere should never cite test results again, and testing agencies and centers should be put out to pasture since we already know what the results from their tests will be, and that is UP!

    5) “Test scores ALWAYS go up”, however, is a silly statement that you’ve intended to be serious. Koretz would likely focus his research on some other much-more relevant topic if that’s all that needed to be said.

    On that note, please stop with the rampant name-dropping. That you agree with these experts doesn’t mean that your arguments here are further supported; *YOU* need to make the connection between their work and your arguments, and you’re being very flimsy about doing so.

    6) “Look at the NAEP which shows DC students making the same improvements pre- and post-Rhee. What does that say for your reforms?”

    First, there’s exactly one time point from NAEP that is “post-Rhee”. If one data point is enough to get you grandstanding and making large inferences about the quality of reform that Rhee is toting in DCPS, I can’t wait to read all the equally valid claims in your forthcoming dissertation.

    Second, were we to nonetheless extrapolate from that one data point to make inferences about Rhee, she still comes out alright:

    Reading, Grade 4
    2009 District of Columbia 202 (1.0) (+5)
    2007 District of Columbia 197 (0.9) (+6)
    2005 District of Columbia 191 (1.0) (+3)
    2003 District of Columbia 188 (0.9) (-3)
    2002 District of Columbia 191 (0.9)
    1998 District of Columbia 179 (1.2)

    Reading, Grade 8
    2009 District of Columbia 242 (0.9) (+1)
    2007 District of Columbia 241 (0.7) (+3)
    2005 District of Columbia 238 (0.9) (-1)
    2003 District of Columbia 239 (0.8) (-1)
    2002 District of Columbia 240 (0.9)
    1998 District of Columbia 236 (2.1)

    Math, Grade 4
    2009 District of Columbia 219 (0.7) (+5)
    2007 District of Columbia 214 (0.8) (+3)
    2005 District of Columbia 211 (0.8) (+6)
    2003 District of Columbia 205 (0.7) (+13)
    2000 District of Columbia 192 (1.1)

    Math, Grade 8
    2009 District of Columbia 254 (0.9) (+6)
    2007 District of Columbia 248 (0.9) (+3)
    2005 District of Columbia 245 (0.9) (+2)
    2003 District of Columbia 243 (0.8) (+8)
    2000 District of Columbia 235 (1.1)

    In total, the 2009 testing year saw a total growth of 17 (1.76) in scale scores for reading and mathematics. The 2007 testing year had a total growth of 15 (1.65). Given the error, the growth seen in 2009 is not significantly different to that seen in 2007, but surely this is not definitively a growth trend that had been ongoing before 2007. That is because the growth in 2005 is not as large (10 +/- 1.81), and the 2003 scores vary due to the different time scales measured. You and others need to stop claiming that NAEP scores have been on the same upward trend “pre-Rhee” as they have been “post-Rhee”. The data that we have doesn’t directly suggest that.

    Now, if we were to further supplement this analysis with the DCPS scores, it makes attacks on Rhee seem a bit more insignificant. As I pointed out in another comment thread (http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/08/d-c-going-back-is-not-an-option.html#comment-208674), DC-CAS scores may suggest a somewhat larger growth trend in the years “post-Rhee”. eFavorite suggested that the early years of growth in her tenure are not attributable to her IMPACT model, but I do think she’s offered earlier changes than just IMPACT.

    In any case, only those with strong convictions to undermine Rhee’s efforts would be able to look at the evidence provided by NAEP and DC-CAS test scores and conclude, without a doubt, that Rhee is failing those students. A nuanced look suggests there aren’t miracles happening (which is never what should have been expected, nor was it ever implied we’d see as much in such a short time frame), but that test scores are continually improving and by some measures further improving over past growth trends. Add to that other evidence outside of test scores, such as making politically tough choices to close schools, increasing teacher accountability with test scores AND evaluations, and eschewing a “Poverty will never let these students learn” mentality, and it makes me more willing to give Rhee the benefit of the doubt (and I use ‘doubt’ here as a skeptic should) and perhaps see what the *2nd* NAEP time point will look like before further grandstanding.

    7) Most of your big ethical questions for me are straw man arguments, and so you can burn those all you want. You’re also being incredibly disingenuous about the track record of TFA, perhaps because you are bitter that a program you obstinately refuse to consider as effective just won lots of federal funding because of the evidence of its effectiveness.

    You’re also talking past my arguments, yet again. Fixing poverty should of course be a priority, but again, the priorities do not suggest a dichotomy. We can hold high expectations for our kids to learn more despite societal effects that may dampen their achievement, while demanding more accountability for educators and further supporting their efforts with increased funding to social programs, and all of that can be encompassed in one consistent position. With that said, feel free to attack this position, rather than the one you are making up.

    8) With regards to the Coleman Report, here is what I referring to:

    “Much of the thrust toward school desegregation was provided by the 1966 Coleman Report, which demonstrated statistically that black students learn more in integrated classrooms.” (article from Time)

    This is an example of why schools were not equally effective. The other study I was thinking of was Borman’s recent analysis of the data obtained for the Coleman Report:

    “Even after taking into account students’ family background, a large proportion of the variation in student achievement can be explained by school characteristics. Fully 40% of the differences in student achievement can be found between schools.

    …Inequalities in student achievement within schools are explained in part by teachers’ biases favoring middle-class students and by schools’ greater reliance on academic and nonacademic tracking.

    …Going to a high-poverty school or a highly segregated African American school has a profound effect on a student’s achievement outcomes, above and beyond the effect of his or her individual poverty or minority status. Specifically, both the racial/ethnic and social class composition of a student’s school are approximately 150% more important than a student’s individual race/ethnicity or social class for understanding educational outcomes. In dramatic contrast to previous analyses of the Coleman data, these findings reveal that school context effects dwarf the effects of family background.”

    Again, this was in reply to your claim that all schools are equally effective.

    A well-cited critical review on effective schools also concluded that, while some of the school research at the time had its flaws, there were credible aspects of schools and their staffs that led to their successes or failures:

    “In conclusion, we have argued that school-level factors can promote learning in the classroom. By studying academically effective schools, we can identify characteristics that together create a school culture conducive to student achievement.” (http://www.jstor.org/stable/1001168)

    In general, some schools had these core characteristics, and some didn’t, and achievement varied along these lines.

    9) Lastly, I didn’t know we fired teachers who generally continue to raise their students’ test scores at a rate comparable to previous years– and by some measures even faster. I must have missed that paragraph in the IMPACT model.

  18. edconsumer Says:

    The “it’s never the the teacher’s fault” commenters on this site are hilariously obsessed with DC and Rhee. The world is changing all around them, and they are utterly obsessed with the superintendent of, what, the 30th largest system in the country? When Fenty loses, what are you guys going to do all day?

  19. Billy Bob Says:

    Its clear some people actually READ real research reports and others get their information from TIME. DO you cite TIME as a reference in your grad school classes???

    By the way, you cannot just add up changes in scale scores and claim that they are large. You have to take each score individually and determine if the change is statistically different than the prior score.

    Ill grant you this then–there has been no upward or downward trend on NAEP. If Rhee was a teacher she would be fired.

    Your post on growth on DC scores is flawed since growth cannot be accurately measured using a proficiency measure. Neither can the achievement gap. Perhaps you learned how to analyze stats from TIME???

  20. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    I didn’t cite Time as the sole reference for my arguments, old man, but it was the quickest article I could find showing what I meant about the Coleman Report, which is a common understanding of his initial results. How about a snippet of his abstract to refresh your memory:

    “NOTABLE AMONG THE FINDINGS ON THE SURVEY ARE THAT NEGRO STUDENTS AND TEACHERS ARE LARGELY AND UNEQUALLY SEGREGATED FROM THEIR WHITE COUNTERPARTS, AND THAT THE AVERAGE MINORITY PUPIL ACHIEVES LESS AND IS MORE AFFECTED BY THE QUALITY OF HIS SCHOOL THAN THE AVERAGE WHITE PUPIL.” [caps lock not mine]

    I also did a quick error analysis on the scale scores that I totaled using their stated standard error, showing that the scores are or are not significantly different as indicated.

    Finally, if Rhee were a teacher, she would easily have kept her job, since her test scores improved as they had in previous years, and by some measures have increased further. Not to mention the fact that the DCPS model doesn’t fire teachers SOLELY on test score data, which is another whopper of a claim.

    Good job avoiding everything else I’ve written yet again. Feel free to run away now.

  21. Billy Bob Says:

    You cannot use proficiency scores to calculate gains. You have not provided any scale scores other than NAEP. Rhee said she would improve scores. I see no evidence she has. She said she would close the achievement gap. Ive seen no evidence that she has.

    If she cant deliver what she has promised, than she should set a good example and quit.

  22. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris–if there are variations in school performance but there are just as many effective teachers in low- and high-poverty schools (see LA Times), then what explains the variation? Not teacher quality as measured by VAM.

  23. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    I’ve not provided any scale scores other than NAEP because I don’t know of any others that I can cite as evidence for you. If you recall, that was one of the reasons I said you were being foolish in striking Rhee’s reform efforts down because of one friggin’ time point on the NAEP tests, a time point that even continued gains from the previous year’s test, and one that was similarly faster than the trend from the year before that.

    Again, Rhee had never promised miracles, particularly of high achievement in a very short time frame. She just recently got IMPACT off the ground. I would have been more skeptical of the latest test scores were they to have been astounding.

    Finally, you shouldn’t cite the LA Times study in the way that you are for a couple of reasons:

    1) The data is not as transparent as it could be made, and thus you are likely basing your analysis on the vague findings statements that was initially reported.

    2) With such a large sampling of schools, we need to know exactly how the modeling was carried out before we can assess the validity of the data, especially if we want to compare the relevance of this study versus other studies on school and teacher effects.

    3) The review I linked to offered a large sampling of many past school effects studies, and even though critical of some of their methodologies, still asserted that schools do have an effect outside of family background. One LA Times study is not going to suddenly change all that and lead us all to conclude that, indeed, “all schools are equally effective”.

  24. phillipmarlowe Says:

    I hope this looks right,
    if not, I will try html formatting:

    Washington DC
    Achievement Gap of students as they progress through the school system
    Results from DC-CAS
    Gr Year RDG M #AA #W
    Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297
    Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285
    Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250

    Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277
    Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269
    Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215

    Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212
    Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196
    Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165

    Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181
    Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140
    Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146

    Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114
    Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146

    Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134
    Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139

    Many things stand out.
    There is a loss of 762 students (26%) from grade 8 (2008) to grade 10(2010)
    Loss of 29% from gr 5 (08) to gr 7 (10)
    16% loss gr 6 (08) to gr 8 (10)
    30% loss from gr 4 (08) to gr 6 (10)
    19% loss from gr3 (08) to gr 5(10)

    The best Miss Rhee can claim in reducing the achievement gap is with the 8th graders of 2008.
    But how much of that reduction came from the 26% decline in the number of African American students?
    So, when she first came in, she said she was going to improve the achievement gap between AA and whites. Things don’t look good.
    With a Fenty loss and then her exit, she can make a silk purse.

  25. phillipmarlowe Says:

    DCPS AYP Results
    2010; 10 of 121
    2009; 38 of 123
    2008; 46 of 146

    Eight DCPS elementary schools made the benchmark, down from 29 in 2009 and 38 in 2008. Two of them — Mamie D. Lee and Sharpe — serve only special needs students. Of the remaining six, Mann, Key and Stoddert elementary schools are in Ward 3, Kenilworth is in Ward 7, and Ludlow-Tayor is in Ward 6. Scott Montgomery was folded into Ward 6′s Walker Jones Educational Campus in June.
    Two senior high schools joined them — School Without Walls and Benjamin Banneker. Both institutions are unique in the District for selecting their students based on test scores and application process.

  26. Chris Smyr Says:

    phillipmarlowe:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to suggest with your first post of data. Is it Rhee’s fault for student attrition?

    Your second data post, however, seems to be entirely disingenuous. AYP went up by 13-15% for the 2010 year. We would expect fewer schools to be making AYP in 2010 than in 2009 or 2008 even with relatively high growth.

  27. Chris Smyr Says:

    Per Phillipmarlowe’s advice, I re-tabulated the DCPS proficiency data by grade reports instead of by the “Elementary/Secondary” descriptor. The results are similarly enlightening:

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2010
    Black Proficiency: 44.31%
    White Proficiency: 89.85%
    Achievement Gap: 45.54%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 41.61%
    White Proficiency: 88.74%
    Achievement Gap: 47.14%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 37.42%
    White Proficiency: 86.84%
    Achievement Gap: 49.42%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 29.74%
    White Proficiency: 85.17%
    Achievement Gap: 55.43%

    1) The achievement gap in secondary reading has closed every year “post-Rhee” (-9.89% since 2007).

    2) The proficiency of black and white secondary students in reading has increased every year and overall (+14.57% for black students since 2007, +4.68% for white students)

    ****

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 45.72%
    White Proficiency: 90.21%
    Achievement Gap: 44.49%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 42.27%
    White Proficiency: 86.23%
    Achievement Gap: 43.97%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 34.87%
    White Proficiency: 86.16%
    Achievement Gap: 51.29%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 28.26%
    White Proficiency: 82.96%
    Achievement Gap: 54.70%

    1) While the achievement gap increased from 2009 to 2010 by a whopping 0.52%, this can be attributed to the higher rate of growth in proficiency of white students that year (+3.98%) versus the growth in proficiency of black students (+3.45%), as Chait initially argued.

    2) The achievement gap overall, however, has closed since 2007 (-10.21%).

    3) The proficiency of black and white secondary students in math has increased overall (+17.46% for black students since 2007, +7.25% for white students)

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2010
    Black Proficiency: 39.37%
    White Proficiency: 89.44%
    Achievement Gap: 50.08%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 43.76%
    White Proficiency: 88.77%
    Achievement Gap: 45.01%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 40.81%
    White Proficiency: 88.43%
    Achievement Gap: 47.61%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 35.16%
    White Proficiency: 87.16%
    Achievement Gap: 52.00%

    1) The drop in % proficiency from 2009 to 2010 for black students in elementary reading can be partially attributed to the poor performance of 3rd graders (36.97% proficiency for black students) and the absence of the high scores seen for 2009′s 6th graders (49.23% proficiency for black students). The former group comprises a set of students that hitherto had not been tested and thus were not a part of calculations in previous testing years, and so while their data does suggest additional inquiry and support is needed, it also suggests that student variation itself as one ultimate cause for the dropping numbers this year. The loss of the latter group’s effect on the average also similarly contributes.

    2) The proficiency of black and white elementary students in reading has nonetheless slightly increased overall (+4.21% for black students since 2007, +2.28% for white students).

    3) The achievement gap overall has closed slightly (-1.92% since 2007).

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 37.82%
    White Proficiency: 86.69%
    Achievement Gap: 48.87%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 41.05%
    White Proficiency: 87.13%
    Achievement Gap: 46.08%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 35.97%
    White Proficiency: 85.67%
    Achievement Gap: 49.69%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 26.37%
    White Proficiency: 80.97%
    Achievement Gap: 54.60%

    1) Again, we see an impact on average proficiency due to the poor performance of 3rd graders (32.02% proficiency for black students). 3rd grade averages for math scores in general have trended below the mean for the last 4 years. In 2010, however, they trended even lower than in prior years.

    2) The proficiency of black and white elementary students in math has nonetheless increased overall (+11.45% for black students since 2007, +5.72% for white students)

    3) The achievement gap overall has closed (-5.73% since 2007).

    *****

    I will be posting the raw data I compiled from individual grade reports in the next couple comments, if anyone wanted to double-check my numbers.

  28. Chris Smyr Says:

    3rd grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 36.97% 3,846
    White Proficiency: 87.56% 418
    Achievement Gap: 50.59%

    3rd grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 42.75% 4,028
    White Proficiency: 86.36% 374
    Achievement Gap: 43.61%

    3rd grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 42.94% 3,796
    White Proficiency: 87.27% 327
    Achievement Gap: 44.33%

    3rd grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 36.99% 4,005
    White Proficiency: 86.53% 335
    Achievement Gap: 49.54%

    3rd grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 32.02% 3,854
    White Proficiency: 82.51% 419
    Achievement Gap: 53.19%

    3rd grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 38.82% 4,024
    White Proficiency: 86.44% 376
    Achievement Gap: 47.62%

    3rd grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 31.70% 3,793
    White Proficiency: 83.94% 327
    Achievement Gap: 52.24%

    3rd grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 23.93% 4,000
    White Proficiency: 77.85% 335
    Achievement Gap: 53.92%

    *****

    4th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 40.84% 3,847
    White Proficiency: 88.98% 363
    Achievement Gap: 48.14%

    4th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 41.05% 3,713
    White Proficiency: 87.05% 309
    Achievement Gap: 46.00%

    4th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 40.87% 3,827
    White Proficiency: 89.32% 307
    Achievement Gap: 48.45%

    4th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 31.94% 3,980
    White Proficiency: 87.09% 278
    Achievement Gap: 55.15%

    4th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 40.30% 3,851
    White Proficiency: 87.43% 366
    Achievement Gap: 47.13%

    4th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 44.56% 3,716
    White Proficiency: 90.61% 309
    Achievement Gap: 46.05%

    4th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 39.92% 3,825
    White Proficiency: 88.67% 307
    Achievement Gap: 48.75%

    4th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 29.75% 3,979
    White Proficiency: 82.43% 279
    Achievement Gap: 52.68%

    *****

    5th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 41.57% 3,666
    White Proficiency: 91.33% 300
    Achievement Gap: 49.76%

    5th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 42.04% 3,920
    White Proficiency: 90.82% 316
    Achievement Gap: 48.78%

    5th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 40.88% 3,902
    White Proficiency: 89.11% 258
    Achievement Gap: 48.23%

    5th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 32.78% 4,130
    White Proficiency: 85.15% 252
    Achievement Gap: 52.37%

    5th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 39.41% 3,667
    White Proficiency: 92.06% 302
    Achievement Gap: 52.65%

    5th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 40.34% 3,915
    White Proficiency: 84.91% 318
    Achievement Gap: 44.57%

    5th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 38.02% 3,902
    White Proficiency: 85.61% 258
    Achievement Gap: 47.59%

    5th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 24.37% 4,120
    White Proficiency: 80.86% 253
    Achievement Gap: 56.49%

    ****

    6th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 38.17% 3,785
    White Proficiency: 90.91% 264
    Achievement Gap: 52.74%

    6th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 49.23% 3,807
    White Proficiency: 92.05% 239
    Achievement Gap: 42.82%

    6th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 38.67% 3,991
    White Proficiency: 88.11% 224
    Achievement Gap: 49.44%

    6th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 38.86% 4,154
    White Proficiency: 90.91% 197
    Achievement Gap: 52.05%

    6th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 39.67% 3,786
    White Proficiency: 86.15% 267
    Achievement Gap: 46.48%

    6th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 40.71% 3,803
    White Proficiency: 86.66% 240
    Achievement Gap: 45.95%

    6th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 34.25% 3,990
    White Proficiency: 84.14% 225
    Achievement Gap: 49.89%

    6th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 27.46% 4,146
    White Proficiency: 84.34% 197
    Achievement Gap: 56.88%

  29. Chris Smyr Says:

    7th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 45.25% 3,752
    White Proficiency: 88.68% 212
    Achievement Gap: 43.43%

    7th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 40.44% 3,986
    White Proficiency: 88.64% 176
    Achievement Gap: 48.20%

    7th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 38.18% 4,037
    White Proficiency: 85.71% 154
    Achievement Gap: 47.53%

    7th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 31.00% 4,570
    White Proficiency: 84.36% 178
    Achievement Gap: 53.36%

    7th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 49.07% 3,742
    White Proficiency: 91.04% 212
    Achievement Gap: 41.97%

    7th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 46.76% 3,978
    White Proficiency: 85.80% 176
    Achievement Gap: 39.04%

    7th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 36.15% 4,037
    White Proficiency: 83.77% 154
    Achievement Gap: 47.62%

    7th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 28.79% 4,549
    White Proficiency: 83.24% 178
    Achievement Gap: 54.45%

    *****

    8th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 45.70% 3,902
    White Proficiency: 89.51% 181
    Achievement Gap: 43.81%

    8th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 44.15% 3,920
    White Proficiency: 87.84% 148
    Achievement Gap: 43.69%

    8th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 37.85% 4,399
    White Proficiency: 84.61% 167
    Achievement Gap: 46.76%

    8th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 29.27% 4,451
    White Proficiency: 87.14% 140
    Achievement Gap: 57.87%

    8th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 47.15% 3,883
    White Proficiency: 88.40% 181
    Achievement Gap: 41.25%

    8th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 40.01% 3,911
    White Proficiency: 89.80% 147
    Achievement Gap: 49.79%

    8th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 36.35% 4,399
    White Proficiency: 84.61% 167
    Achievement Gap: 48.26%

    8th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 29.96% 4,411
    White Proficiency: 86.43% 140
    Achievement Gap: 56.47%

    *****

    10th grade Reading 2010 (N)
    Black Proficiency: 41.49% 3,155
    White Proficiency: 92.09% 139
    Achievement Gap: 50.60%

    10th grade Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 39.92% 3,164
    White Proficiency: 90.00% 120
    Achievement Gap: 50.08%

    10th grade Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 35.94% 3,368
    White Proficiency: 91.52% 117
    Achievement Gap: 55.58%

    10th grade Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 28.70% 3,486
    White Proficiency: 84.34% 158
    Achievement Gap: 55.64%

    10th grade Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 39.99% 3,148
    White Proficiency: 91.31% 138
    Achievement Gap: 51.32%

    10th grade Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 39.41% 3,162
    White Proficiency: 82.50% 120
    Achievement Gap: 43.09%

    10th grade Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 31.41% 3,366
    White Proficiency: 91.53% 117
    Achievement Gap: 60.12%

    10th grade Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 25.36% 3,425
    White Proficiency: 79.52% 156
    Achievement Gap: 54.16%

  30. phillipmarlowe Says:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to suggest with your first post of data. Is it Rhee’s fault for student attrition?
    Are you referring to the student population?
    The data is what it is. Miss Rhee’s “fault”, to use your word choice, or effect as I would put it, would be turning schools over to private groups or charters, thus removing them from the DCPS scores.

    The data is how we should be looking at the performance & test scores in a school and in a school system, as we don’t have preDC-CAS/NCLB test scores to see where students are at when they start the school year.

    Looking at student data this way allows us to see how the school system is adding value to students. You might call it VAM for the district and its leader(s).

    Your second data post, however, seems to be entirely disingenuous.
    Entirely, not just partially?
    Is this the response to data that doesn’t look good?
    I would expect the number of schools making AYP to increase, particularly as 2014 approaches.

  31. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillipmarlowe:

    Student attrition happens regardless of who holds the chancellor title. Yours is a rather dim argument, because were you to look at the number of students testing throughout the last 4 years, you would see that the declining student population throughout the grades has been virtually the same since 2007. You also wouldn’t have data prior to that to base this argument off of, but it’s a trend you’ll likely find in other schools around the country as well. I know we had it at our school, a full 2500 miles away from the domain of the devil herself.

    “Is this the response to data that doesn’t look good?”

    It’s a response I give to commentary based on shoddy evidence. Were you assuming that readers were too stupid to catch on to the fact that AYP raised a tremendous amount this year? If you parse the data in terms of gains in proficiency, the trends in proficiency growth/decay that you are indirectly attacking Rhee for can be directly seen. It’s up above, actually, if you’d like to comment on it.

  32. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Yours is a rather dim argument….a full 2500 miles away from the domain of the devil hersel…..It’s a response I give to commentary based on shoddy evidence. Were you assuming that readers were too stupid….that you are indirectly attacking Rhee

    You really are a nasty piece of work.

    I’d suggest declaring your unrequited love to Miss Rhee, but she’s got that from Kevin Johnson.

    But you might get lucky and could hook-up with her when she moves out your way, if the primary results in 8 days match the polls.

    It’s up above, actually, if you’d like to comment on it.
    Why, you haven’t commented on the data showing the lack of progress of students as they have advanced thru DCPS the past three years.

  33. phillipmarlowe Says:

    correction:
    It’s up above, actually, if you’d like to comment on it.
    Why, you haven’t commented on the data showing the lack of progress of that does not show the narrowing of the racial achievement gap of students as they have advanced thru DCPS the past three years.

  34. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Again, correction:
    It’s up above, actually, if you’d like to comment on it.
    Why, you haven’t commented on the data does not show the narrowing of the racial achievement gap of students as they have advanced thru DCPS the past three years.

  35. Chris Smyr Says:

    It greatly amuses me that, after I am critical of someone’s argument here, the only response I tend to get is some whining about how mean and nasty I am. Usually this whining is from the same people that initially come into the thread swinging, ready to rip apart Rhee/reformers in any way they can. Phillipmarlowe, for instance, was ready to swing away at Andy’s post by linking to a “better” (read: incorrect) analysis of the data, and by tossing out some lies about what I’ve previously said.

    Phillip, I don’t have to be nice to your arguments, nurture them, and hope that, some day, they will grow up to become cogent. It’s fair game to rip on bad arguments or empty assertions, considering this is an online forum where we’re supposed to argue. What’s revealing is the infantile responses you’ve given after I addressed your arguments, as it only makes it seem more likely that you didn’t intend for any better.

    I’ve already explained why your arguments seem disingenuous. What’s also troublesome is that you’re only willing to focus on the achievement gap growth in specific grades over time, rather than looking at the averaged value of achievement gaps for elementary or secondary levels at each year. Student turnover will affect the values of a given class of students over time, and has likely affected it in similar ways even before Rhee. Rhee should be accountable for closing these gaps, but if we want reliable analysis then it should be made with numbers that average the growth/decay seen in multiple grades over time.

    For example, while the achievement gap in reading for 3rd graders in 2007 (48.87%) increased 3 years later when they got to 6th grade (57.06%), the actual averaged achievement gaps for grades 3-6 are *larger in 2007* than they are in 2010. Why? Because elementary students in 2007 generally had higher achievement gaps (and lower % proficiency) than in 2010. Either student variation trended in one direction for the last 4 years, or there has been further improvements made in test results. This is not something you’re able to visualize with an analysis of individual grades over time.

    Another example: 7th graders in 2008 were divided in math by a 55.15% achievement gap; this gap widened to 57.64% when they were 8th graders in 2009. A sure sign of Rhee’s failure? No, because on the whole, the achievement gaps in secondary math for 2008 (57.57%) *closed* in 2009 (51.62%), due to overall higher scores from 7th, 8th, and 10th grade in 2009 versus 2008. While this, as all analyses, may be impacted by student variation, it’s at least sampling multiple grades to generate an averaged impact, rather than relying on smaller sample sizes without normalizing their numbers to past student attrition/turnover. It’s also one time point among a handful that, together, suggest a general positive trend in student achievement.

    ***************************

    Finally, I did one more analysis to specifically exclude charter schools from the data. This data is nearly identical to what I posted above, but I wanted to be more exact in my argumentation:

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2010
    Black Proficiency: 38.07%
    White Proficiency: 89.02%
    Achievement Gap: 50.95%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 33.60%
    White Proficiency: 89.04%
    Achievement Gap: 55.44%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 32.24%
    White Proficiency: 87.25%
    Achievement Gap: 55.01%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 23.18%
    White Proficiency: 84.92%
    Achievement Gap: 61.75%

    1) The achievement gap in secondary reading has closed in the years “post-Rhee” (-10.80% since 2007).

    2) The proficiency of black and white secondary students in reading has increased every year and overall (+14.89% for black students since 2007, +4.10% for white students)

    *****

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 37.87%
    White Proficiency: 88.53%
    Achievement Gap: 50.66%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 33.54%
    White Proficiency: 85.16%
    Achievement Gap: 51.62%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 28.55%
    White Proficiency: 86.12%
    Achievement Gap: 57.57%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 21.08%
    White Proficiency: 82.86%
    Achievement Gap: 61.77%

    1) There is no slight increase in the achievement gap in the past year as previously calculated. The achievement gap has closed every year “post-Rhee” (-11.11% since 2007)

    2) The proficiency of black and white secondary students in math has increased overall (+16.79% for black students since 2007; +5.67% for white students)

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2010
    Black Proficiency: 37.93%
    White Proficiency: 89.37%
    Achievement Gap: 51.44%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2009
    Black Proficiency: 43.18%
    White Proficiency: 88.25%
    Achievement Gap: 45.07%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2008
    Black Proficiency: 40.14%
    White Proficiency: 87.95%
    Achievement Gap: 47.81%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2007
    Black Proficiency: 33.88%
    White Proficiency: 86.94%
    Achievement Gap: 53.05%

    1) The drop in % proficiency from 2009 to 2010 for black students in elementary reading can be partially attributed to the poor performance of 3rd graders (36.40% proficiency for black students) and the absence of the high scores seen for 2009’s 6th graders (45.38% proficiency for black students). The former group comprises a set of students that hitherto had not been tested and thus were not a part of calculations in previous testing years, and so while their data does suggest additional inquiry and support is needed, it also suggests that student variation itself as one ultimate cause for the dropping numbers this year. The loss of the latter group’s effect on the average also similarly contributes.

    2) The proficiency of black and white elementary students in reading has nonetheless slightly increased overall (+4.05% for black students since 2007; +2.43% for white students).

    3) The achievement gap overall has closed slightly (-1.61% since 2007).

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Math 2010
    Black Proficiency: 35.85%
    White Proficiency: 87.64%
    Achievement Gap: 51.79%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2009
    Black Proficiency: 40.43%
    White Proficiency: 87.18%
    Achievement Gap: 46.76%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2008
    Black Proficiency: 34.15%
    White Proficiency: 85.55%
    Achievement Gap: 51.40%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2007
    Black Proficiency: 24.19%
    White Proficiency: 80.40%
    Achievement Gap: 56.21%

    1) Again, we see an impact on average proficiency due to the poor performance of 3rd graders (31.82% proficiency for black students). 3rd grade averages for math scores in general have trended below the mean for the last 4 years. In 2010, however, they trended even lower than in prior years.

    2) The proficiency of black and white elementary students in math has nonetheless increased overall (+11.66% for black students since 2007; +7.24% for white students)

    3) The achievement gap overall has closed (-4.42% since 2007).

  36. FTW Says:

    I don’t have to be nice to your arguments, nurture them, and hope that, some day, they will grow up to become cogent.

    Again Smyr FTW!

  37. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Year
    B-W
    reading
    B-W
    Math
    H-W
    Reading
    H-W
    Math
    SpEd-Reg
    Reading
    SpEd-Reg
    Math
    Poor-NonPoor
    Reading
    Poor-NonPoor
    Math

    2010
    51.3
    51.3
    46.5
    41.6
    36.7
    34.1
    29.4
    26.9

    2009
    48.6
    48.6
    41.2
    34.8
    31.8
    33.7
    24.7
    22.0

    2008
    50.9
    54.1
    41.0
    39.0
    27.4
    28.7
    17.2
    16.4

    2007
    57.2
    58.9
    46.6
    45.8
    27.4
    25.5
    15.8
    15.6

  38. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Eduwonk doesn’t like html tables

    So again:
    DCPS Achievement Gaps
    Year B-W reading B-W Math
    2010 51.3 51.3
    2009 48.6 48.6
    2008 50.9 54.1
    2007 57.2 58.9

    Year H-W Reading H-W Math
    2010 46.5 41.6
    2009 41.2 34.8
    2008 41 39
    2007 46.6 45.8

    Year SpEd-Reg Reading SpEd-Reg Math
    2010 36.7 34.1
    2009 31.8 33.7
    2008 27.4 28.7
    2007 27.4 25.5

    Year Poor-NonPoor Reading Poor-NonPoor Math
    2010 29.4 26
    2009 24.7 22
    2008 17.2 16.4
    2007 15.8 15.6

    So, over the past 3 years, the achievement gaps have grown in DCPS

  39. phillipmarlowe Says:

    And again:
    Washington DC
    Achievement Gap of students as they progress through the school system
    Results from DC-CAS
    Gr Year RDG M #AA #W
    Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297
    Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285
    Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250

    Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277
    Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269
    Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215

    Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212
    Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196
    Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165

    Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181
    Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140
    Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146

    Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114
    Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146

    Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134
    Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139

  40. Chris Smyr Says:

    Did you not see my reply to your data analysis? Look upthread.

  41. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris, You make a fine representative of TFA. Based on your behavior on this site, TFA people are rude, obnoxious, over-bearing, and not particularly bright. You consistently “don’t understand” posts when everyone else understands them. This is one reason people hate TFA and the ed deformers–you act like a spoiled brat who has all the answers and refuses to see any good points made by others.

    This is why no one takes your points seriously. If you toned it down and acted with some civility, maybe people would actually LISTEN to your points. But as long as you act like an A%$, no one will and you just drag down your side even further.

  42. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris, People did look at your data post. Your analysis was simply incorrect which is why people are still posting. Its just wrong. I told you why its wrong, but you won’t listen and learn from your mistakes.

  43. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Decisions, Decisions.

    Lady Gaga was in town the other night.
    Do I go and try to see her-sing:
    “This beat is fun,
    this beat is sick,
    I wanna take a ride
    on your disco stick”

    Or do I respond to a disco stick.
    Lady Gaga won.

    But like a one night stand or a night at the bar, morning comes with a gasp, OMG WHID or a hangover.

    It greatly amuses me that, after I am critical of someone’s argument here, the only response I tend to get is some whining about how mean and nasty I am. Usually this whining is from the same people that initially come into the thread swinging, ready to rip apart Rhee/reformers in any way they can. Phillipmarlowe, for instance, was ready to swing away at Andy’s post by linking to a “better” (read: incorrect) analysis of the data, and by tossing out some lies about what I’ve previously said.
    Incorrect, Chris labels it, but he provides nothing to contradict it.
    As the booking cop said to me many years ago when I was arrested for taking a friend to go over the border into Tijuana, “My, my you’re a pretty asshole.”

    And that’s Chris’s presence here, distilled down to a 7 letter word.

    Why such retromingent behaviour from Chris?
    His failure to complete a three year run in TFA?
    His failure to model the woman he so passionately defends by getting 90% of his biology students to score at the 90th percentile on the AP Biology test?
    Doesn’t have a cat or a girl?

    I don’t know, really don’t care, but it makes you wonder why does he behave this way.

    Billy, didn’t someone last week say of Chris “more musk from the polecat”?
    We should keep that in mind and use it like a refrain.

  44. phillipmarlowe Says:

    PS Does he try this crap at U Cal?
    If so, their standards have dropped since my dad went there 60 years ago.

  45. Billy Bob Says:

    U Cal Santa Cruz. If I knew anyone who taught there, I would ask them ih he behaved this way in class and why hasn’t he learned anything about research methodology and statistics yet.

  46. Chris Smyr Says:

    Grown men acting like children:

    What does “acting like an ass” look like to you? Is it responding to your disingenuous arguments? Is it being critical of them? Is it not letting you get away with infantile assertions and derisions without a long “here is why you’re really wrong” post by me?

    Billy Bob, you yourself have dropped about a dozen arguments on this blog that you could not provide counter arguments for. Don’t act like it’s because your feelings were hurt. And you’ve neglected to explain why you think we can’t look at this data in ANY manner. Student variation IS going to affect the analyses we make, and certainly it means we can’t just take one time point to observe a trend (as you kept trying to do with NAEP scores) or just look specifically at every grade over time (what Phillipmarlow wants to do). And since many keep trying to cite DC CAS data as a reason for firing Rhee, perhaps it can be done in a different way that’s a bit more reliable.

    Phillipmarlowe, look at your link. In LARGE PURPLE LETTER the owner of that blog writes “ERROR ALERT!” Not only that, but his argument is poor since he wants to only look at each grade level over time, which is going to sample a huge amount of student variation each year as new groups of kids go through them. If he were to actually average out the achievement gaps from 2007 to now for elementary or secondary, he would see that the achievement gaps have closed. I showed this above. You are ignoring it again.

    In any case, both of you should feel free to respond to arguments on this blog without the shit talking you like to bring here.

  47. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Here’s the shit Chris, the TFA failure, can’t take.

    Washington DC
    Achievement Gap of students as they progress through the school system
    Results from DC-CAS
    Gr Year RDG M #AA #W
    Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297
    Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285
    Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250

    Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277
    Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269
    Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215

    Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212
    Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196
    Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165

    Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181
    Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140
    Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146

    Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114
    Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146

    Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134
    Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139
    Washington DC
    Achievement Gap of students as they progress through the school system
    Results from DC-CAS
    Gr Year RDG M #AA #W
    Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297
    Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285
    Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250

    Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277
    Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269
    Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215

    Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212
    Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196
    Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165

    Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181
    Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140
    Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146

    Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114
    Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146

    Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134
    Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139

    And

    So again:
    DCPS Achievement Gaps
    Year B-W reading B-W Math
    2010 51.3 51.3
    2009 48.6 48.6
    2008 50.9 54.1
    2007 57.2 58.9

    Year H-W Reading H-W Math
    2010 46.5 41.6
    2009 41.2 34.8
    2008 41 39
    2007 46.6 45.8

    Year SpEd-Reg Reading SpEd-Reg Math
    2010 36.7 34.1
    2009 31.8 33.7
    2008 27.4 28.7
    2007 27.4 25.5

    Year Poor-NonPoor Reading Poor-NonPoor Math
    2010 29.4 26
    2009 24.7 22
    2008 17.2 16.4
    2007 15.8 15.6

    So, over the past 3 years, the achievement gaps have grown in DCPS

    The achievement gap has increased under Michelle Rhee, a TFA alum who took her kids to the 90th percentile.

  48. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris–ppl drop arguments because you respond like a jackass and refuse to actual READ and THINK about what people say. It happens every time someone posts something you cannot refute. Why keep trying to explain something to someone who will not listen???

    While looking at the same group of students over time from one grade to the next is the best method, you have to have student level data to do so.

    So, the next best method (unless you are a TFA failure in a crappy masters program) is to look at scale scores at the same grade level over time. Which is what people did. I did it with NAEP (despite your idiotic claim that I did not) and Phillip did with DC scores. Gaps are NOT closing and may be even widening.

    Yet, you cant wrap your little TFA brain around that FACT.

  49. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris–I suspect you have not read these authors (if you have read anything but TIME–ha ha ha, that still cracks me up; I hope you used it as a citation in a research paper).

    Dan Koretz
    Robert Linn
    George Madaus
    Lorrie Shepard

    You ight actually learn something.

  50. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Phillipmarlowe, look at your link. In LARGE PURPLE LETTER the owner of that blog writes “ERROR ALERT!”

    You made that error on the DCPS data Chris, and unlike you, I gently pointed it out:

    Chris Smyr Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 3:26 am
    phillipmarlowe:

    Thanks, I’ll check the data out now.

  51. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Chris,
    Michelle has some advice for you here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_XQ_GCH7vk

    You might want to change boyfriend to girlfriend, though.

  52. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillipmarlowe:

    1) Look at my comment above for my response to the data set that you have now posted here THREE SEPARATE TIMES: (http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/08/whole-lotta-news.html/comment-page-1#comment-209523 ). If you check out my reply below to Billy Bob, you’ll see more of a response. Still waiting for yours.

    2) The B-W achievement gaps have *CLOSED* since 2007. Proficiency for black and white subgroups has *INCREASED* since 2007. I know that you’ve a penchant for misrepresenting data, but there’s a few reasons that 2007 should be considered the start date for grading DCPS schools, namely the fact that Rhee started pushing reform since she started in 2007, and also because it adds another year of data to an already small sample of time points.

    3) “You made that error on the DCPS data Chris, and unlike you, I gently pointed it out”

    I was mature enough to say thanks and acquire the correct version of the data (which only further suggested positive results), unlike you who again tried to defend the link while including a passing reference to Lady Gaga, Tijuana, and assholes. Am I arguing with a student at DCPS?

    4) It’s also interesting that you mentioned the Hispanic-White achievement gaps. We should expect bigger effects on the numbers due to student variation, given the much smaller sample sizes of Hispanic students in each grade compared to black students from my previous analysis, and that’s in fact what we see, along with a majority of positive growth. Let’s look at the data:

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2010
    Hispanic Proficiency: 43.75%
    White Proficiency: 89.02%
    Achievement Gap: 45.27%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2009
    Hispanic Proficiency: 46.01%
    White Proficiency: 89.04%
    Achievement Gap: 43.03%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2008
    Hispanic Proficiency: 41.34%
    White Proficiency: 87.25%
    Achievement Gap: 45.91%

    Grades 7,8,10 Reading 2007
    Hispanic Proficiency: 32.21%
    White Proficiency: 84.92%
    Achievement Gap: 52.71%

    1) The achievement gap in secondary reading has closed in the years “post-Rhee” (-7.44% since 2007).

    2) The proficiency of Hispanic and white secondary students in reading has increased overall (+11.64% for Hispanic students since 2007, +4.1% for white students)

    *****

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2010
    Hispanic Proficiency: 47.82%
    White Proficiency: 88.53%
    Achievement Gap: 40.71%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2009
    Hispanic Proficiency: 52.20%
    White Proficiency: 85.16%
    Achievement Gap: 32.97%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2008
    Hispanic Proficiency: 48.29%
    White Proficiency: 86.12%
    Achievement Gap: 37.84%

    Grades 7,8,10 Math 2007
    Hispanic Proficiency: 31.71%
    White Proficiency: 82.86%
    Achievement Gap: 51.15%

    1) The achievement gap has closed overall “post-Rhee” (-10.44% since 2007)

    2) The proficiency of Hispanic and white secondary students in math has increased overall (+16.11% for Hispanic students since 2007; +5.67% for white students)

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2010
    Hispanic Proficiency: 42.30%
    White Proficiency: 89.37%
    Achievement Gap: 47.07%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2009
    Hispanic Proficiency: 47.78%
    White Proficiency: 88.25%
    Achievement Gap: 40.47%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2008
    Hispanic Proficiency: 49.79%
    White Proficiency: 87.95%
    Achievement Gap: 38.15%

    Grades 3-6 Reading 2007
    Hispanic Proficiency: 44.80%
    White Proficiency: 86.94%
    Achievement Gap: 42.14%

    1) The data here is impacted by the same effects of variation seen in the black-white achievement gap. The drop in % proficiency from 2009 to 2010 for Hispanic students in elementary reading can be partially attributed to the poor performance of 3rd graders (37.61% proficiency for Hispanic students) and the absence of the high scores seen for 2009’s 6th graders (52.75% proficiency for Hispanic students). The former group comprises a set of students that hitherto had not been tested and thus were not a part of calculations in previous testing years, and so while their data does suggest additional inquiry and support is needed, it also suggests that student variation itself as one ultimate cause for the dropping numbers this year. The loss of the latter group’s effect on the average also similarly contributes.

    2) The only time this has been seen in the data presented thus far, the proficiency of Hispanic elementary students in reading has slightly decreased overall, while white students have slightly increased (-2.5% for Hispanic students since 2007; +2.43% for white students). As above in #1, there is a pronounced effect on the average from this year’s 3rd graders, who achieved a full 10.68% less proficiency than 2009′s 3rd graders and similarly lower than all other time points of data for 3rd grade. The small sample sizes of Hispanic students compounds the effect of student variation.

    3) The achievement gap overall has opened slightly (+4.93% since 2007), attributed to the slightly rising scores of white students and the slightly falling scores of Hispanic students as shown in #2.

    *****

    Grades 3-6 Math 2010
    Hispanic Proficiency: 45.57%
    White Proficiency: 87.64%
    Achievement Gap: 42.07%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2009
    Hispanic Proficiency: 51.61%
    White Proficiency: 87.18%
    Achievement Gap: 35.58%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2008
    Hispanic Proficiency: 46.18%
    White Proficiency: 85.55%
    Achievement Gap: 39.37%

    Grades 3-6 Math 2007
    Hispanic Proficiency: 38.10%
    White Proficiency: 80.40%
    Achievement Gap: 42.31%

    1) Again, we see an impact on average proficiency due to the poor performance of 3rd graders (36.34% proficiency Hispanic students). 3rd grade averages for math scores in general have trended slightly below the mean for the last 4 years. In 2010, however, they trended much lower than in prior years.

    2) The proficiency of Hispanic and white elementary students in math has nonetheless increased overall (+7.47% for Hispanic students since 2007; +7.24% for white students)

    3) The achievement gap overall has very slightly closed (-0.24% since 2007).

  53. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    1) Give an example of where I’ve “respond[ed] like a jackass”, or of an argument that I “cannot refute”. Was it a line of critique focused on arguments or was it ad hominem? Was it in response to trollish claims like, “KIPP leaders are white supremacists”? Please, do enlighten me on the Billy Bob Standards for Online Debate, they sound like fun.

    2) “While looking at the same group of students over time from one grade to the next is the best method”

    And in this case, that will work ONLY if you have a good normalization factor for the student attrition that ALWAYS occurs. If every group of students consistently experiences some level of attrition or some trend in student data persists over time, you need to account for this trending if you want to account for achievement gaps. If one group of students declines in achievement over time, it doesn’t suggest anything about trends in student performance if every other group also experiences a decline REGARDLESS of the year the data was taken. The only way you could begin to account for this would be to average the achievement gaps of each grade level within a given year, and through several years of time points this would give you an averaged impact on the achievement gap over time (I’m very specific about how this works in the bottom half of my comment). Doing this analysis suggests that either student variation has only trended upward (as gaps at each grade level on average have tended to decline over time) OR that there has been improvements in closing the achievement gaps. In the very unlikely former case, the DC-CAS scores should not be used to bolster *ANY* side of this debate, while in the latter case we see progress being made.

    3) “So, the next best method (unless you are a TFA failure in a crappy masters program) is to look at scale scores at the same grade level over time. Which is what people did. I did it with NAEP (despite your idiotic claim that I did not) ”

    If you were to stop snarling and foaming at the mouth with your argumentation, you would be able to read what I actually wrote. What you were trying to suggest with NAEP was incorrect, as I have already explained:

    ***”First, there’s exactly one time point from NAEP that is “post-Rhee”. If one data point is enough to get you grandstanding and making large inferences about the quality of reform that Rhee is toting in DCPS, I can’t wait to read all the equally valid claims in your forthcoming dissertation.

    Second, were we to nonetheless extrapolate from that one data point to make inferences about Rhee, she still comes out alright:

    In total, the 2009 testing year saw a total growth of 17 (1.76) in scale scores for reading and mathematics. The 2007 testing year had a total growth of 15 (1.65). Given the error, the growth seen in 2009 is not significantly different to that seen in 2007, but surely this is not definitively a growth trend that had been ongoing before 2007. That is because the growth in 2005 is not as large (10 +/- 1.81), and the 2003 scores vary due to the different time scales measured. You and others need to stop claiming that NAEP scores have been on the same upward trend “pre-Rhee” as they have been “post-Rhee”. The data that we have doesn’t directly suggest that.”***

    (http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/08/whole-lotta-news.html#comment-209153 )

    4) “and Phillip did with DC scores. Gaps are NOT closing and may be even widening.”

    And he was only able to show this through an analysis that doesn’t normalize to student attrition, and attempts to fault the current state of the district for an ongoing trend in student enrollment that has likely always existed.

    In 2007 (before Rhee was hired), results from DC-CAS showed that, as one looked toward the later grades, the proficiency level of students dropped and achievement gaps increased, while at the same time there were (shockingly!) fewer students enrolled each year. Now, while this is data for a large number of students in DCPS that year, there is an obvious trend here between the ~53% gap in elementary grades and the ~61% gap in secondary grades that very likely isn’t due to student variation alone, which (if this were the case) would have had to continually trend upward for 7 years for progressively younger students to reach progressively higher achievement levels than their 2007 10th grade counterparts.

    Were we to be able to parse the data for previous years based on grade level, you would more than likely see the same exact thing occur. This seems rather intuitive, even outside of DCPS: as students advance in grades, some will drop out, while more others will continually lose interest in school (for various school-related and society-related reasons). The achievement gap builds as students get older. There’s a reason that intervention programs for students are almost always intended for older students, and that’s to keep them in school and motivate them to achieve.

    So how does this all pan out? As a group of students moves through the grades, each year some of them will become generally more disinterested in schoolwork, and will achieve less. This is obviously a problem, and unfortunately one that has been around longer than Rhee has.

    If you understand the above couple paragraphs, the following statement should become crystal clear: as ANY group of students moves through a school system, one would expect there to be a trend toward declining proficiency and increasing achievement gaps, caused by a number of reasons (schools aren’t supporting the needs of different student subgroups; there’s little support at home; the students come to school hungry; etc. ). ANY analysis that one does on a single group of students will have to account for this trend, and some of it will likely have been caused by non-school factors. That makes this type of analysis very problematic.

    What’s the solution? Well, we could observe different groups of 3rd graders over time, calculate their growth from 3rd to 6th grade, and compare this total growth. The 2007 3rd graders would then have a normalized number describing the achievement gap change as time went on, as would the ’08 3rd graders, and the ’09 3rd graders, and so on, giving more and more examples of the actual longitudinal impact of schools on these students.

    We could take this analysis further to sample students at all grade levels, by making similar analyses for 2007, ’08 and ’09 4th graders, the same for 5th graders, and so on, to get a normalized, longitudinal estimate on achievement gap changes throughout the grades. If on average students within the 2007 initial sets of students experienced more decay in proficiency over 4 years time than did the 2009 sets of students, that would suggest that the district is improving.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have enough data to do any of that. We’d be able to tell how the 2007 3rd graders have fared by the time they entered 6th grade in 2010, but what happens next? There is not enough data to continue this analysis for the 3rd graders of ’08, as they haven’t yet made it to 6th grade testing.

    Phillip tried to do something along these lines. He tracked the performance of 2008 3rd graders over time, the performance of 2008 4th graders over time, and so on. There were, however, three key issues with his analysis:

    * He didn’t make any attempt to calculate the total decay in scores of the 2008 3rd graders by the time they entered 5th grade in 2010, or to similarly do that for the 2008 4th graders, etc. Instead, he found declining numbers and shouted ‘A HA!’.

    * He implicitly assumed that the dropping achievement levels for 2008 3rd graders could be adequately compared to the dropping achievement levels for the 2008 4th graders. This is not so: there’s nothing to suggest that the dropping achievement numbers each year ought to be exactly the same among different age groups. In other words, if 3rd graders in 2008 dropped 5% proficiency when they reached 4th grade in 2009, that shouldn’t be compared to how the 4th graders in 2008 dropped when they reached 5th grade in 2009.

    * It is categorically impossible for him to do the next step he needs to make his data analysis complete, and that is to compare the 3-year decline of 2007 3rd graders to ’08 and ’09 3rd graders, the decline for 2007 4th graders to
    ’08 and ’09 4th graders, and so on. As it stands now, all he has shown is that, in the 3 year span he is analyzing, students who start at different grade levels will lose different levels of proficiency. We already knew that! What we need to know is if the district is helping stabilize this downward trend over the years, and Phillip can’t reliably answer that with his data.

    There is an alternative to this mess: we could instead average the achievement of different grade levels in a given year and compare these longitudinally every year. This would still utilize student achievement data that is complicated by student attrition and the other factors explained above, but the saving grace of it would be that the other grades would be included in the calculation as a way to normalize the numbers. If 10th graders have had 3 more years than 7th graders to become disinterested in school and become affected by their home environments, it would make sense to combine their achievement data with 7th and 8th graders who have experienced this less. This averaged data point could be compared across several years (secondary students in 2009 compared to 2010), so that none of the data points are heavily skewed by the above factors (namely student variation) as all of the data is averaged equally. An additional benefit of this analysis is that we *HAVE* the data to do it. We have enough data to generate 4 different time points, from 2007 and on.

    Using the above described analysis (as I have done upthread) actually suggests *gains* in reading and mathematics, and generally sizable ones, too. What’s more is that the difference between elementary achievement gaps and secondary achievement gaps is also narrowing, indicating that there seems to be some headway being made in reducing the in-school factors that attribute to declining student achievement over time; for example, 10th graders improved to a level on par with the scores of elementary students, something that has *NOT* ever been seen in the data going back to 2007.

    Add to this analysis the growing NAEP scores, and it suggests that the testing data we have is at least one good (but long) argument for keeping Rhee in DCPS.

  54. Billy Bob Says:

    Wow–that was really stupid.

    Scores increase over time, not decrease, Your assumptions are tragically flawed. Kids who disappear are the lower performing students, thus student attrition leads to increased scores, not decreased scores. Unless in DC the students fleeing the schools are the highest performing–which may be the vcase–but I have seen no evidence on that point. Further, the dropouts would cancel out the movers, thus attrition would likely be a wash at the higher grades.

    Ive looked at student-level data for more than a decade and not once has student achievement declined over time as students progress across grade levels (assuming the test stayed the same over the same time period).

    I love how you critique everyone else’s analyses as flawed, then present your own while not holding it to the same standards that you used to critique the other people’s analyses.

    The only way you could average scores across grade levels and assess the achievement gap is if the scales are comparable across grades and the scale scores have properties that result in a 10 point gain anywhere on the continuum being equal to a 10 point gain anywhere else on the continuum. I don’t think DCAS has those properties. Plus, you have to ensure no ceiling effect is influencing the results. Further, you would need to weight by number of students in each grade. You have not satisfied these conditions yet. Maybe they do exist, but we don’t know.

    Our point with NAEP is that Rhee wants to fire teachers using gains from one year to the next. Her NAEP gains and achievement gap results suggest she is not on track. Granted, it would be foolish to fire someone for one data point in time. YET THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT RHEE WANTS TO DO. Typical with TFA people–hold everyone accountable but yourselves. You and Rhee are two peas in a pod.

  55. phillipmarlowe Says:

    I love how you critique everyone else’s analyses as flawed, then present your own while not holding it to the same standards that you used to critique the other people’s analyses.

    CORRECTION

    I love how you critique everyone else’s analyses as flawed, then present your own while not holding it to the same standards that you PRETEND you used to critique the other people’s analyses.

  56. Billy Bob Says:

    My bad.

  57. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    1) If dropouts impacted student scores to trend UPWARD, why in the world would we see GROWING achievement gaps as students get older?

    “The picture that emerges from our research suggests that, as in studies with a majority of White students, in a diverse school district achievement gaps do develop, both for Black and Hispanic students. However, when and how the gaps develop varies by racial group. In particular, we find that Black students have significant test score gaps with respect to White students in the first grade, whereas
    Hispanic students’ gaps become significant in the second grade (especially in math). Moreover, as the gaps widen in later grades for both Black and Hispanic students, Hispanics’ gaps are consistently smaller than Black students’ gaps, often half the size.”

    (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.oca.ucsc.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1541-0072.2004.00072.x/abstract )

    “Previous efforts to explain the Black-White test score gap have generally fallen short – a substantial residual remained for Black students, even after controlling for a full set of available covariates. Using a new data set, we demonstrate that among entering kindergartners, the Black-White gap in test scores can be essentially eliminated by controlling for just a small number of observable characteristics of the children and their environment. Once students enter school, the gap between White and Black children grows, even conditional on observable factors. We test a number of possible explanations for why Blacks lose ground. The only hypothesis which
    receives any support is that Black students attend worse schools on average.”

    (http://www.nber.org.oca.ucsc.edu/papers/w8975 )

    “The size and stability of gender, ethnic and socio-economic differences in students’ educational achievement are examined over a 9 year period. Both absolute differences in cognitive attainment and relative differences in progress are considered. The study, which is part of a follow up of an age cohort originally included in the ‘School Matters’ research, utilises multilevel modelling techniques. Attainment in reading and mathematics is reported at primary school (Year 3 and 5), secondary transfer (Year 6) and in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (Year 11). Whilst differences in achievement related to gender and socio-economic factors remained consistent and generally increased over time, greater change was found in patterns of ethnic differences.”

    (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a746316026 )

    2) “The only way you could average scores across grade levels and assess the achievement gap is if the scales are comparable across grades and the scale scores have properties that result in a 10 point gain anywhere on the continuum being equal to a 10 point gain anywhere else on the continuum.”

    I already noted that student variation *WILL* affect this data analysis as you point out. This will add a level of error to the analysis, and I actually point out where the error is more likely affecting the numbers in my analysis above. Thing is, this is the *ONLY* adequate way that we DO have to correctly analyze the data.

    3) “Plus, you have to ensure no ceiling effect is influencing the results.”

    If this effect were occurring, it would influence the proficiency numbers I calculated downward. Thus my analysis gives at least a lower estimate for the gains made in proficiency for black students. This doesn’t change the positive trends observed.

    4) “Further, you would need to weight by number of students in each grade.”

    Look closer: already did that.

    5) NAEP scores are INCREASING! Going UP! IMPROVING! And by an amount QUICKER than that seen in 2005, and comparable to 2007! Every time you make the argument that NAEP scores show that she’s failing students, I want to throw my computer out the window. They show the EXACT OPPOSITE, even if you assume that one time point is enough to measure her impact.

    6) Rhee wants to use IMPACT, which utilizes student data (normalized to student background) for 50% of teacher evaluations. The exact methodology has not been made clear, but it is very, VERY likely that the goal is to utilize longitudinal student data over the span of several years to create this value-added component, and NOT to throw teachers out for one testing year without ANY other evidence being factored into the decision.

    It’s just beyond simple-minded to suggest that Rhee would be fired if she were a teacher with these improving student data.

    7) I’m still waiting for someone to respond to about 50% of my previous arguments.

  58. Billy Bob Says:

    5) Asshat–not in a statistically significant manner. We already covered this territory, but your feeble TFA mind forgot already.

    6) No one wants to waste their time because you just move onto something else or repeat something from before when someone shows that you are wrong.

    I guess you have not picked up on thr fact that people know you are a complete idiot and a TFA hack who believes everything deformers say regardless of real evidence.

    The only reason I even post here is to see you get your panties in a twist.

  59. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob,

    Lots of huffing and puffing, yet nothing resembling reasonable comments. I didn’t see that coming.

    Stop pretending that you’ve replied to even half of the counterarguments I’ve presented here; instead, here you’ve chosen again to feign (maybe?) ignorance. The numbers aren’t significant? Are you really trying to push that gem through again?

    ***”I also did a quick error analysis on the scale scores that I totaled using their stated standard error, showing that the scores are or are not significantly different as indicated.”***

    (http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/08/whole-lotta-news.html#comment-209171 )

    The growth in every NAEP category for 2009 is above the limits of error; the total growth seen in 2009 was not significantly different from total growth seen in 2007, although it was significantly different from total growth seen in 2005. This has not changed since the last time you incorrectly argued that NAEP scores are stagnant.

    And what is with your obsession with TFA? This unbridled hatred cannot be healthy, nor do your conspiracy theories do much to showcase your ability to reason. What I find most curious is why a researcher would want to go on researching a topic that made him convulse in spasms of vitriol at the mere thought of it– and why he would compromise whatever reputation for objectivity he may have had by sniveling in an online forum, referring to folks he didn’t like as “TFA hacks”.

    Well? Go on — this is the part where you call me a TFA poopface and refer again to UTeach’s retention data.

    (http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/08/adding-value-2.html#comment-209285 )

  60. phillipmarowe Says:

    More Value Added Analysis of Rheeform in DC:

    And once again, we see the failure of Michelle Rhee and her attack-the-teacher reform movement

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