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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

TRIS WKCE Reading Data Isn't Pretty but Math Looks Safe

I'll focus on TRIS WKCE results today. It takes a lot of calculations and I'd rather split up TRIS and JC McKenna data. However, based on my abysmal track record of accurately predicting the actual state results, I will not do so. The state applies the 99th percent confidence intervals (CI) for data that are below the standard. They do not share this information so the final decision is up to them in a classic double secret probation ala Animal House.

Key: P=Proficient;A=Advanced;B=Basic;M=Minimal;PI=Proficiency Index;AYP=Adequate Yearly Progress;WKCE=Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam;CI=Confidence Interval

First the bad news:

Reading: The standard proficiency index (PI) to be met this year by Wisconsin public schools is 87%. The calculation is (P+A)+0.5(B). All students met the standard with a PI of 89.8%. Economically disadvantaged students just missed the standard at 85.75%, but application of the CI will no doubt show them meeting AYP.

Students with Disability (SWD) failed to meet the standard with a PI of 56.2%. This is 30.8% lower than the standard (35% as a percentage of the standard value). If this meets the CI calculation, it would be a bit stunning. There was a slight decrease in the Basic and Minimal performance, which values are used in the calculation of Safe Harbor. But the requirement is 10% and the calculation is only 3% decrease in the sum of these values. If the subgroup still fails AYP at this point, the state allows a second safe harbor calculation to determine AYP. If the inverse of the PI (100-PI) decreases by 10% or more, safe harbor is granted. This statistic measures if minimal performers are moving up to basic performance. TRIS increased their inverse of the PI by 9.1%, indicating that even if the overall (B+M) value has decreased slightly overall, it was achieved as basic performance decreased and minimal value increased.This is a very bad sign.

Now the good news:

Math: The standard PI for math this year is 79%. All students at TRIS met the standard handily with a PI value of 89.5%. Economically disadvantaged students earned an PI of 81.25%, also achieving AYP straight out. SWD achieved a PI of 65.3%, missing the standard by 13.7% but likely meeting AYP through the CI calculation. Even if that didn't happen, the Safe Harbor calculation shows good improvement in the math scores of this subgroup, with a 21.6% decrease in basic and minimal performance.

I don't know what the solution is, but the reading specialist at TRIS presented the intensive program they are using at TRIS this year to engage students in the reading process. Students of all achievement levels are included and challenged to their ability level. If continued, it's probable these terrible reading trends could be reversed at TRIS. I pray the cuts do not hit this valuable program.


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