Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 16, 2012

Test defy

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

I can’t really count the number of times that folks have confided that their concern with Ruby Bridges Elementary comes from the “test scores.”  And by the “test scores” I always clarify if they mean the API scores that are generated via standardized testing.   The “bad test scores” almost always serve as a rationalization to not send their kids to Ruby Bridges.   Even though there are numerous studies out there that show that test scores are not an indicator of school quality, teacher quality, or student future still it seems to be the one thing that a lot of parents cling on to to justify making a decision as to where to send their kids.

While I get that parents don’t want to gamble on their kids’ education, I think the myth that test scores are some be all end all of how good a school and its teachers are really ought to be dispelled, but I’m not going to be able to do what countless scholars have been able to do before, however, I did want to point out a few things that struck me when I compared the latest API numbers (from Mike McMahon’s site, thanks!) across all the Elementary Schools in Alameda.

Right now, Ruby Bridges is in Program Improvement, which means that it didn’t make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the same content area either school wide or for a significant subgroup.  Ruby Bridges entered Program Improvement because it didn’t make AYP for one of the significant subgroups.   The obvious is that the less diverse one’s school is, the easier it is to continue to make progress because that school doesn’t have significant subgroups.

Ruby Bridges is the only elementary school in Alameda with a significant number of African American Students to generate an API that will be measured for that subgroup.  And one of only two elementary schools in Alameda with a significant number of Latino students to generate an API to be measured.

Also, Ruby Bridges is one of three elementary schools in Alameda with more than 50% of the school population receiving free or reduced price lunches, which usually indicates that the family is lower income and less affluent.   In fact, Ruby Bridges had the highest percentage 68% of students receiving free or reduced price lunches.

Parental education  is a big factor in how prepared some kids come into school.  Again, Ruby Bridges is one of three schools with averages under 3.0 :

But even with the more diverse population, with subgroups that historically have been defined by achievement gaps that exist, I think Ruby Bridges and its staff have performed tremendously.   And if anything is an indicator of that, it’s the number that I highlighted below, which shows the ranking of the school among schools that are similar in demographics:

While Ruby Bridges may not earn a 10 for the API score of the school, it earns a 9 amongst schools with populations that are similar which means that  Ruby Bridges does much much better with the populations that it serves than other schools.   And that, to me, is all the indicator that I need as to the quality of the education at Ruby Bridges, despite the lower school wide API score taken out of context.

25 Comments

  1. Lauren- you are on the right track. The staff at RB is doing a great job. The first number only is a measure of socio- economic factors in the school’s parent base which becomes increasingly harder to overcome as the years go by. Studies show that if you are behind in reading by 4th grade you rarely catch up. The second number is a measure of how effective the staff is when given the same kids as another school. This is not widely understood. Ruby Bridges, Lincoln, Encinal and a few others have very effective teaching staffs given this measurement- some other schools in town, not so much.

    Closing the achievement gap can only be accomplished with targeted intervention programs, a trained staff, and a coordination of community and social services, all of which is very expensive and time- consuming. For our society, that is a question of will, as well as dollars and cents. Without that, it is just a bunch of talk…

    Comment by Commonsense — August 16, 2012 @ 7:06 am

  2. My husband has been volunteering at Ruby Bridges for several years and we often attend school community activities. Here is what I see going on there:

    A very diverse population. Asian, middle eastern, african, hispanic and eastern european immigrant families as well as non immigrant families of a variety of ethnicities.
    Teachers who provide a challenging curriculum and don’t let kids “slide.”
    Teachers who are dedicated to the kids and to making a safe and welcoming learning environment.
    A principal who exercises good leadership.
    Many well attended community events designed to bring families together. If you have never been to the United Nations, these events will give you a flavor of that experience.
    A learning environment that gives children with even a small amount of curiosity lots to discover and learn from.

    We should be honoring the hard working teachers and administrators and other staff who are making this school a good one. I think it is a gem.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — August 16, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  3. 2. And yet even with all that, RB still can’t make the grade.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  4. Well, if by “making the grade” you mean being in absolute compliance with the way the current testing program does its comparisons and results reporting, I guess not. If by “making the grade” means if your kid goes to that school he/she has a great chance of having a good, intellectually challenging and safe grammar school experience I’d say I think they definitely would.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — August 16, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  5. “good”? Let’s change the education model and go for ‘great’.

    Don’t you think it’s time to relegate public education to that historical bin called “failed” and try a new approach. Come on, all we’re doing is protecting the educators under the present model.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  6. Jack

    The Teachers Union has a huge War Chest to challenge a Vocher program and have all the California State Politicians in their Pockets……No Chance of Failure…….We are in the Minority when it comes to wanting change……and being broke you can’t fight their wallets with common sense.

    California’s Top 15 special interest groups
    often win by spending money to defeat
    ballot measures — which has the effect
    of maintaining the status quo.

    The 15 That Spent $1 Billion to
    Influence California Voters
    and Public officals

    1. California Teachers Association $ 211,849,298

    Total Spending: $211,849,298
    The California Teachers Association (CTA) is California’s largest union representing
    public school teachers. It is the state affiliate of the National Education Association.
    The chart below shows the amount of money spent by the California Teachers Association/
    Association for Better Citizenship, the California Teachers Association Issues PAC
    and the California committee of the National Education Association to influence California
    voters and public officials.

    Ballot Measures $144,116,835
    Candidates $16,716,386
    Political Parties $6,613,834
    Other Campaign Committees $5,885,936
    TOTAL SPENT INFLUENCE VOTERS $173,332,991
    TOTAL SPENT LOBBYING OFFICIALS $38,516,307
    GRAND TOTAL SPENT $211,849,298

    Highlights of California Teachers Association spending:
    * The biggest expenditure, $26,366,491, was made to oppose Proposition 38 on
    the 2000 ballot. The measure sought to enact a school voucher system in California.
    It was defeated 29.4% to 70.6%.

    Spent more than $50,000,000 to defeat three ballot measures on the 2005 special
    election statewide ballot.
    ¾¾ Spent $8,224,449 opposing Proposition 74, which sought to make changes
    in the probationary period for California school teachers. The proposal
    was defeated 44.8% to 55.2%.
    ¾¾ Spent $12,102,416 opposing Proposition 75, which sought to prohibit the
    use of public employee union dues for political contributions without
    individual employees’ prior consent. The measure was defeated 46.5% to
    53.5%.
    ¾¾ Spent $13,681,685 opposing Proposition 76, concerning state spending
    and minimum school funding requirements. The proposal was defeated
    37.6% to 62.4%.
    ¾¾ In addition to the millions spent directly to defeat Propositions 74, 75
    and 76, CTA contributed another $20,194,994 in 2005 to the Alliance for
    a Better California, which, in turn, used the money to help defeat these
    same propositions.
    * Spent nearly $12,000,000 supporting Propositions 1A and 1B on the 2009 special
    statewide election ballot.
    ¾¾ Those measures dealt with changes in the budget process and extra
    money for local school districts and community colleges.
    ¾¾ Proposition 1A was defeated 34.6% to 65.4% and Proposition 1B was
    defeated 38.1% to 61.9%.
    * The largest contributions to a political party among the identified special interest
    groups were made by the California Teachers Association to the California
    Democratic Party — totaling $6,503,499

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  7. Who Killed California?

    LABOR PAINS

    The most egregiously coddled of the state’s favored constituencies are California’s public labor unions. This is partly the result of their bloated ranks: The percentage of unionized public employees in California is 20% higher than the national average. Even more important, though, is the unions’ outsized influence. Awarded collective bargaining rights with nearly every sector of government during the 1960s and ’70s, the unions subsequently exploded into a political force to be reckoned with and a primary cause of California’s fiscal hemophilia.

    Perhaps the most vexing labor organizations are the teachers’ unions. These groups were the driving force behind Proposition 98, locking in mandatory spending on public education without regard to any other fiscal considerations. But that’s only where their transgressions begin. In 1992, the California Teachers’ Association — by far the most powerful teachers’ union in the state — blocked a ballot initiative to promote school choice in the Golden State by physically intimidating petition-signers and allegedly placing false names on the petitions. When asked about his union’s opposition to the measure, the CTA president responded: “There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters.” And in 2000, when testing results revealed that two-thirds of Los Angeles public schools were ranked as failures, the president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles announced that his union would accept a proposal for merit pay only on “a cold day in hell.”

    The result of the teachers’ flight from responsibility has been unadulterated dysfunction. In Los Angeles schools, one out of every three students drops out before graduation. And a research team from the University of California, Riverside, recently concluded that by 2014 — the year all students are required to be proficient in math and English under No Child Left Behind — nearly every elementary school in the state will fail to meet proficiency standards. Yet despite the atrocious performance of California educators, it is nearly impossible to fire an incompetent teacher (the percentage of California teachers terminated after three or more years in the classroom is just 0.03%). For example, in a May exposé on the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Song revealed: “The district wanted to fire a high school teacher who kept a stash of pornography, marijuana and vials with cocaine residue at school, but a commission balked, suggesting that firing was too harsh. L.A. Unified officials were also unsuccessful in firing a male middle school teacher spotted lying on top of a female colleague in the metal shop, saying the district did not prove that the two were having sex.”

    But no matter how egregious their misconduct, California’s public-school teachers can always skirt the consequences. With 340,000 members statewide, the California Teachers’ Association is perhaps the most powerful interest group in state politics. In 2005, for instance, the organization spent nearly $60 million to defeat ballot measures aimed at bringing more accountability to California schools. And when budget agreements get hashed out in meetings of the state’s notorious “big five” (the governor and the four legislative party leaders), the CTA is treated like an unnamed sixth party to the talks. It’s no wonder, then, that despite having some of America’s lowest-performing schools, California’s teachers are the highest paid in the nation.

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  8. “Don’t you think it’s time to relegate public education to that historical bin called “failed” and try a new approach. Come on, all we’re doing is protecting the educators under the present model.”

    “There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters.”

    I will answer from the CTA handbook

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  9. John- C’mon man….If teachers are so powerful, then why is the education budget cut each year, why is the pay so low, the benefits way behind other public employees, the working conditions so bad, the use of furlough days to cut salary so prevalent, and the teacher resignation rate so high (50% attrition rate in a few years)??????

    At least prison guards, nurses, police and fire unions can point to high pay and benefits with a low resignation rate…

    New blog rule- don’t cite an article, actually think…

    Comment by Commonsense — August 16, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  10. Too bad John was asleep during the class discussion about plagiarism. do you have an original thought John, or do you just keep copying random bits of the internets?

    Comment by notadave — August 16, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  11. One of the many flaws of No Child Left Behind is the assumption that a student enters school as a kindergartner and continues on in the same school until they graduate on to the next level. The reality is student population’s change all the time; this is particularly true in schools where a large proportion of the population is in a lower socio-economic level. This spring the principal of RB made a presentation to the BOE which included an analysis tracking students who enter at various grade levels and test below the acceptable level for their grade. The analysis showed students who continued on at RB saw test scores improve dramatically from one year to the next moving to above average in just a few years. It is without question this occurs because of the solid teaching programs established at AUSD and the amazing work going on in the classrooms.

    It’s very frustrating when schools who are achieving exactly what NCLB was designed for are placed on (branded with) Program Improvement because the Federal rules are deeply flawed.

    Comment by Anne DeBardeleben — August 16, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  12. 11. That’s a very interesting, could you please find the ‘analysis tracking system’ and any other data associated with the Principal’s presentation and share it with us?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  13. Never mind I found it here: http://www.edsource.org/today/2011/higher-performing-schools-make-it-onto-list-of-low-achieving-schools/3068

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  14. Notadave…….

    Just For you # 10

    Big Money Talks California’s Billion dollar Club

    http://www.fppc.ca.gov/reports/Report31110.pdf

    California’s Top 15 special interest groups
    often win by spending money to defeat
    ballot measures — which has the effect
    of maintaining the status quo.

    The 15 That Spent $1 Billion to
    Influence California Voters
    and Public officals

    1. California Teachers Association $ 211,849,298

    Total Spending: $211,849,298
    The California Teachers Association (CTA) is California’s largest union representing
    public school teachers. It is the state affiliate of the National Education Association.
    The chart below shows the amount of money spent by the California Teachers Association/
    Association for Better Citizenship, the California Teachers Association Issues PAC
    and the California committee of the National Education Association to influence California
    voters and public officials.

    Ballot Measures $144,116,835
    Candidates $16,716,386
    Political Parties $6,613,834
    Other Campaign Committees $5,885,936
    TOTAL SPENT INFLUENCE VOTERS $173,332,991
    TOTAL SPENT LOBBYING OFFICIALS $38,516,307
    GRAND TOTAL SPENT $211,849,298

    Highlights of California Teachers Association spending:
    * The biggest expenditure, $26,366,491, was made to oppose Proposition 38 on
    the 2000 ballot. The measure sought to enact a school voucher system in California.
    It was defeated 29.4% to 70.6%.

    Spent more than $50,000,000 to defeat three ballot measures on the 2005 special
    election statewide ballot.
    ¾¾ Spent $8,224,449 opposing Proposition 74, which sought to make changes
    in the probationary period for California school teachers. The proposal
    was defeated 44.8% to 55.2%.
    ¾¾ Spent $12,102,416 opposing Proposition 75, which sought to prohibit the
    use of public employee union dues for political contributions without
    individual employees’ prior consent. The measure was defeated 46.5% to
    53.5%.
    ¾¾ Spent $13,681,685 opposing Proposition 76, concerning state spending
    and minimum school funding requirements. The proposal was defeated
    37.6% to 62.4%.
    ¾¾ In addition to the millions spent directly to defeat Propositions 74, 75
    and 76, CTA contributed another $20,194,994 in 2005 to the Alliance for
    a Better California, which, in turn, used the money to help defeat these
    same propositions.
    * Spent nearly $12,000,000 supporting Propositions 1A and 1B on the 2009 special
    statewide election ballot.
    ¾¾ Those measures dealt with changes in the budget process and extra
    money for local school districts and community colleges.
    ¾¾ Proposition 1A was defeated 34.6% to 65.4% and Proposition 1B was
    defeated 38.1% to 61.9%.
    * The largest contributions to a political party among the identified special interest
    groups were made by the California Teachers Association to the California
    Democratic Party — totaling $6,503,499

    http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/who-killed-california

    Who Killed California?
    TROY SENIK

    LABOR PAINS

    The most egregiously coddled of the state’s favored constituencies are California’s public labor unions. This is partly the result of their bloated ranks: The percentage of unionized public employees in California is 20% higher than the national average. Even more important, though, is the unions’ outsized influence. Awarded collective bargaining rights with nearly every sector of government during the 1960s and ’70s, the unions subsequently exploded into a political force to be reckoned with and a primary cause of California’s fiscal hemophilia.

    Perhaps the most vexing labor organizations are the teachers’ unions. These groups were the driving force behind Proposition 98, locking in mandatory spending on public education without regard to any other fiscal considerations. But that’s only where their transgressions begin. In 1992, the California Teachers’ Association — by far the most powerful teachers’ union in the state — blocked a ballot initiative to promote school choice in the Golden State by physically intimidating petition-signers and allegedly placing false names on the petitions. When asked about his union’s opposition to the measure, the CTA president responded: “There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters.” And in 2000, when testing results revealed that two-thirds of Los Angeles public schools were ranked as failures, the president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles announced that his union would accept a proposal for merit pay only on “a cold day in hell.”

    The result of the teachers’ flight from responsibility has been unadulterated dysfunction. In Los Angeles schools, one out of every three students drops out before graduation. And a research team from the University of California, Riverside, recently concluded that by 2014 — the year all students are required to be proficient in math and English under No Child Left Behind — nearly every elementary school in the state will fail to meet proficiency standards. Yet despite the atrocious performance of California educators, it is nearly impossible to fire an incompetent teacher (the percentage of California teachers terminated after three or more years in the classroom is just 0.03%). For example, in a May exposé on the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Song revealed: “The district wanted to fire a high school teacher who kept a stash of pornography, marijuana and vials with cocaine residue at school, but a commission balked, suggesting that firing was too harsh. L.A. Unified officials were also unsuccessful in firing a male middle school teacher spotted lying on top of a female colleague in the metal shop, saying the district did not prove that the two were having sex.”

    But no matter how egregious their misconduct, California’s public-school teachers can always skirt the consequences. With 340,000 members statewide, the California Teachers’ Association is perhaps the most powerful interest group in state politics. In 2005, for instance, the organization spent nearly $60 million to defeat ballot measures aimed at bringing more accountability to California schools. And when budget agreements get hashed out in meetings of the state’s notorious “big five” (the governor and the four legislative party leaders), the CTA is treated like an unnamed sixth party to the talks. It’s no wonder, then, that despite having some of America’s lowest-performing schools, California’s teachers are the highest paid in the nation.

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  15. Since the data appears to show that the low test scores are due to disadvantaged children, and more specifically disadvantaged children who recently transferred io RB, than the answer to raising the test scores, which apparently is a good thing, must be to restrict disadvantaged households from moving here.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  16. 10.Too bad John was asleep during the class discussion about plagiarism. do you have an original thought John, or do you just keep copying random bits of the internets?

    Comment by notadave — August 16, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Notadave

    When looking at an issue I try and use critical thinking………It requires a little more work but usually come to a more educated opinion.

    Sorry for not drinking your Koolaid and actually try and educate myself on issues. I would not be a very good student of yours.

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  17. Notadave this was my educated opinion……..The information I posted is why I came to this opinion and conclusion…….I’m sure you can tell me where I’m wrong in coming to this opinion…I certainly don’t have all the answers…….Just trying to learn………

    6.Jack

    The Teachers Union has a huge War Chest to challenge a Vocher program and have all the California State Politicians in their Pockets……No Chance of Failure…….We are in the Minority when it comes to wanting change……and being broke you can’t fight their wallets with common sense.

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  18. Notadave, I think you can go back to just using plain old ‘Dave’ since all the other Dave’s seem to have cut a chogi.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 16, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  19. The principal from Ruby Bridges presented at the May 22nd BOE meeting. Not sure if the student analysis tracking was part of this presentation or some other assessment presentation. Anyway you can watch the presentation here: http://alamedausdca.swagit.com/school-board/ Click on play for the May 22 BOE meeting. Then go agenda item D-3 Ruby Bridges by clicking on the item in the box on the left. It is a 15 minute presentation with student demonstrations.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — August 16, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

  20. Commonsense I think you can go back to Really……But maybe your trying to teach a Handpuppet class at the Dooooooo Lounge.

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  21. Jack it’s all I can say is everytime I posted here today I got a Nice Spam and they have great sense of Humor.

    @churlishness.residentary.com

    @intogripe.net

    @loutishbegorra.net

    @perform.theorience.com

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

  22. August 3, 2012
    California Teachers Association gives $7.5 million to No on 32
    The California Teachers Association has ponied up $7.5 million to fight Proposition 32.
    The November ballot measure prohibits the use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes, eliminating labor unions’ primary way of raising money for campaigns and other political spending. It also bans direct campaign contributions by corporations and unions.
    The contribution, reported Friday in a campaign finance filing on the secretary of state’s website, brings the total raised by the opposition campaign this year to more than $16 million. The No on 32 committee reported having $6.5 million in the bank as of June 30, though that balance doesn’t count this check or other contributions received in the last month.
    Supporters of the measure, who say it will take special interest money out of politics, have raised more than $2.2 million to date. They ended June with a little more than $1 million in the bank.

    Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/union-spending/#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled&id=I0_1345166244968&parent=http%3A%2F%
    2Fwww.scribd.com#storylink=cpy

    Comment by John — August 16, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  23. #15 – your response is ridiculous, inflammatory and insulting, especially to our students and the teachers and administration dedicating themselves to education. The solution is to shelve policy that doesn’t accurately reflect the work being done to improve the learning patterns of struggling students.

    Comment by Anne DeBardeleben — August 18, 2012 @ 1:57 am

  24. 23
    “your response is ridiculous,…”

    Anne, I wasn’t responding to anything except the results of the API test scores and what they show and what Lauren Do writes, “Ruby Bridges is the only elementary school in Alameda with a significant number of African American Students to generate an API that will be measured for that subgroup. And one of only two elementary schools in Alameda with a significant number of Latino students to generate an API to be measured”.

    Coupled with that, she writes this, “The obvious is that the less diverse one’s school is, the easier it is to continue to make progress because that school doesn’t have significant subgroups.”

    It sounds to me like Ms Do ascribes the low test scores to the two groups she mentions. I don’t know what she writes is a fact, but let’s say it is, then her underlying message is, ‘bad test scores undermine the image of the school because significant number of these two groups enroll’. Your solution is to shelve policy (in other words, don’t test) and replace it with…(what?). “The solution is to shelve policy that doesn’t accurately reflect the work being done to improve the learning patterns of struggling students.”

    These, solutions, changing the method of testing do not solve or even address the root problem, which is poorly performing students (which theoretically corrects itself after a couple years because of the high level of educators according to some). Regardless of the real situation at RB, what I gather from you and Ms Do is there is no problem with under-performing students, the problem is testing them. I doubt that is true.

    Possible options which do address the root problem (if there is one), which nobody has mentioned may be worthwhile, such as classing students by ability and teaching to the highest common denominator at the ability level instead of the lowest ability level of the amalgamated students (which is the current method). Most school districts have programs for “gifted students”, if these programs work for a few why wouldn’t they work across the grade level spectrum?

    I wrote #15 to get some written action but had given up until you berated me last night.

    Thanks, for staying up late.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 18, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  25. 24. Jack, Your arguments above are predicated on the myth that all of the standardized tests (STAR, No Child Left Behind, etc.) actually indicate or measure what constitutes significant learning and/or the content of a good education for every student. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that standardized testing does not really measure these things really well, since students learn in many different ways and have many different kinds of intelligence…

    We need less emphasis on “mass-produced” and “factory” education and more emphasis (along with more funding) on providing more teachers with more support and resources to do the jobs we are asking them to do now.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — August 20, 2012 @ 2:23 pm


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