Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Open thread

Discuss whatever you like!

Update: If there is nothing else to talk about, please feel free to use this thread to discuss the new transition plan and how it impacts APP. Slides are available (PDF) from the SPS presentation, with APP changes starting on slide 21.

Update: Also, the APP AC published a Q&A (PDF) today. Hat tip, hschinske, who already has started a discussion on it in the comments.

14 comments :

Limes said...

APP science in middle school: What's the point? The only differences I see is that kids have to come up with more sources for big projects. If that's the only difference, then I'd rather have all kids doing the same science.

Greg Linden said...

Since this thread is rather empty, one thing I was wondering about was whether anyone has looked much at the changes in the programs over in Bellevue?

My understanding is that the elementary APP-like program over there used to be pull-out for just part of the day, but in 2010 has moved to full day for elementary. It is called PRISM.

Anyone looking at this more? Anyone actively considering it as an alternative to Seattle APP? Or looking at it for good ideas that might be applied to Seattle's APP? If you are, I think it would be interesting if you chimed in here to offer your thoughts.

lendlees said...

I was looking at slides 54 and 55 about transportation and slide 54 (old plan) specifically outlines the APP transportation, but the new plan says nothing. Unless APP is considered an 'option' school...

Hoping it's an oversight, but one never knows.

hschinske said...

Apparently there is talk of putting freshman biology into eighth grade -- that would certainly be a significant change, and one I do not particularly support -- I'd rather see a *conceptually* advanced class taught in a developmentally appropriate fashion. The last thing we need is another big time-sink of a class stuck into eighth grade, especially if the credit policy changes and the students have to worry about the math and science grades being on their high school transcript.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy said...

AP Physics for ninth graders. And yet the most advanced math they could be taking concurrently would be Algebra2/Trig. Sounds like a plan.

hschinske said...

Just looked at the most recent APP meeting notes, which have a lot of interesting stuff. I note that it is true that *no* current 6th-graders qualified for Algebra 1, which they justify by saying "In the past, some students started middle school at the 9th grade level but none tested at that level this year. This is in part because the APP 6th grade math curriculum is more advanced than in the past."

Well, I totally call BS on that. The 6th-grade math curriculum my son is doing is only slightly different than what my daughter did four years ago in APP. See also the comment by "frustr4ted" on http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/11/app-issues-at-boundary-meeting.html that stated "As for this year, the district will instead try to convince you that no policies and procedures have been changed. And they will try to convince you that ZERO 6th graders in the entire city of Seattle are qualified to take Algebra 1 this year. This is not only impossible, but preposterous. Eckstein alone has several 6th graders who are currently being well-served in Algebra 1 this year. And all of APP and the rest of the district has zero?

"The truth paints a different picture. A new test was created last spring that was given to the kids with (purposely) no warning or notice, consisting of material very specific to the books covered in the (rather odd) CMP curriculum in last year's 6th grade APP class."

I don't know who frust4ted is, but it looks as though s/he was onto something more than a rumor.

Helen Schinske

Mercermom said...

My understanding is that about 6 APP kids tested at a level that would have placed them in Algebra I (3 going to Hamilton, 3 to WMS), and that the District (Advanced Learning?) decided to keep them with cohort and try to expand the curriculum. I suspect this is solely a result of trying to manage demand. We have a friend who wanted their daughter to be able to take Alegebra and Geometry at the same time at Garfield. (They are an engineer and scientist, and value their daughter being able to take the second Calc/Statistics in 12th grade.) After they refuted teacher's assertions that the content might be sequential, they were told that if the school let their daughter do it, they might have to let others. Oh, the horror -- a swell of kids/families who want to take advanced math! They were told that their options are to do a summer course or online offering.

Mercermom said...

Interesting to note that the PRISM program appears to have a higher cognitive abilities threshhold (99.7%), but then provides more latitude for entry of kids whose achievement in math and reading isn't at precisely same level (at least 90% in one, 97% in other). I wonder what the impact is in terms of participation numbers, and whether it results in a different cohort.

Laura said...

A little feel good:
King 5 news did a report last night on the Lowell gift drive. As the report states, an organization fell through in providing gifts to about 20 families (at Lowell and Leshci), so a school-wide e-mail was sent out and in about 45 minutes all needs were met.

http://www.king5.com/home/Lowell-Elementary-Gives-Back-79688482.html

hschinske said...

If I remember correctly, the entry requirement for PRISM, compared to APP, is simply a higher score on the grade-level CogAT. Above a certain point on a grade-level test, whether you get one point more or less is not a meaningful way to rank students. So the program is smaller, but not necessarily more selective in any meaningful sense.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Ironically, in previous years there was a course at Garfield that was specifically designed as a catch-up course for those who hadn't had accelerated math before -- Integrated 1 and Integrated 2 in one year. Dunno if they now have an Alg 1/Geom course (the course catalog online still talks in terms of the Integrated sequence).

But anyway, even if they do still have such a course, they probably think that's as far as they can go in providing in-school opportunities to accelerate, and if you miss the boat freshman year, they're not going to have a Geom/Alg 2 class as well.

Incidentally, I would like to reiterate that I don't have any problem with individual students taking AP classes early if they are qualified in all ways to do so. I have met more than one kid who would probably have adored to take AP physics freshman year, and that's fine. I just don't think very early AP courses are the answer for the majority of students in APP, and I think AP physics is a particularly poor choice for a universal accommodation.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy said...

Ditto what Helen said. I might not have been clear before. but really? College level physics is weak without calculus. A full year before pre-calculus even. So this is either a watered down course or setting the kids up for failure. Not all APP kids really want to pursue math and science foremost. Perhaps those that do would be better off at Cleveland with STEM anyway?

Please also consider the advantages and pitfalls from taking large numbers of AP courses. Yes, many kids can start college as a sophomore. And therefore at some institutions, they can take more advanced courses earlier. It might open some opportunities but it closes others. And it means starting college with more 400 level courses so an immediate worry about maintaining a college GPA -- assuming one is looking at grad school.

And that means they can graduate in three years, which saves money. But in public institutions, you might not even have the option of staying for four years. You have the credits, they want you to move on. If you know what you want and doggedly want to pursue that, fine. If you want to get the most out of college, having to leave in three years might hamper that.

How many 8th and ninth graders, APP or not, have the maturity and the organizational skills and all that to do really well in a college course? Some APP kids, sure. But the majority? The whole philosophy of APP is appropriate academic challenge in a developmentally appropriate setting.

Mercermom said...

Suggestion: If you would like this to be a more robust discussion site, perhaps it would be useful to advertise the existence of this discussion blog via the APP-AC. I sense that very few people in the APP world know that it exists (apart from the few who happened upon it via the Seattle schools blog).

Anonymous said...

Did anyone attend the APP AC meeting last night? If so, can you provide highlights? Thanks!