"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Elephant in the Room...

Well, I sat through two hours of data review and application in the district, but nobody ever addressed the Elephant in the room. The TRIS achievement data as measured by the feds, which means the WKCE and the WSAS-SwD data. TRIS once again failed to meet AYP in the disabled student sector. I couldn't believe nobody ever asked about it. I am not a board member anymore, so I just listened. Much good has been done. Much remains to be done. These are the comments that preceeded the presentation of data. But really, can you seriously have a data review of our district schools without addressing the fact that TRIS is in deep doo-doo for next year? MAP testing results will not be used as measures for AYP until 2011-2012. Reading standards will increase to 80.5% of students who must achieve proficient and advanced next year, math standards increase to 68.5%. Even if TRIS stands pat and does not decrease achievement as has been happening for about 5 years now, it will be hard pressed to meet the reading goals for AYP next year FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. They are hovering at about 79% this year for the entire school. This will probably meet the standard next year only by the standard error inclusion. But the Students with disabilities and the Economically disadvantaged students are another story altogether. Unfortunately, I had troubles using the DPI website this weekend (apparently all districts are having data reviews this week), so I can only report generalities of what I saw there.

Great strides were made in the achievement of students with disabilities this year, but not enough to bring TRIS into compliance with the standards. TRIS still lags the state averages for this subgroup as well, and a few of the general population reading scores also lag the state for the first time in a long time. For economically disadvantaged students, Evansville students in this subgroup achieve higher that the state average for this subgroup. Unfortunately, they achieve lower than students without economic disadvantage in our district. And the students with no economic disadvantage in our district score lower than the state average score of students with no economic disadvantage. So the good news is that our "gap" is smaller than the state gap. The bad news is that the gap is smaller because while the "at-risk students" scores came up, the remaining scores drifted down. Sort of that compromise I was talking about in the previous post on "leveling the playing field." Instead of bringing the lower scores up to the higher scores, they are meeting in the middle. Gap still narrows, just not exactly in the most ideal manner.

A bonus of looking up this information offers a stark view of the state poverty rates. While Evansville reports about 28% of our student population as economically disadvantaged, the state as a whole shows about 40% of our children in this category. Yikes on both counts.

According to Heidi, there will be a "data retreat" part 2 later on. When I get details, I'll let everybody know.

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