Thursday, January 28, 2010

Open thread

What's on your mind, APP parents?

Update: There appear to be two main topics in the comments. The first is MAP test scores, when we will see them, and what they mean. The second is new parents wanting to know if people are getting their APP eligibility results and asking for advice on appealing.

60 comments :

hschinske said...

The MAP results for Hamilton were supposed to be given to parents by the end of January. Anyone seen them? We haven't yet (I suppose they might come home today).

Helen Schinske

A2Z said...

I think that the 2nd round Lowell results should be out now as well. I wish they would send them home with the kids.

ArchStanton said...

I have asked our (Lowell) child's teacher for the MAP results and she said she would find out when they could send them home and at that they would come home with report cards in March if not sooner. I don't know if she has them, yet but would be surprised if they didn't.

Anonymous said...

Your child may know their map scores. When the kids are done with the map test, their score flashes on the screen. In my kid's class, they compare their scores and see who did "best." It's ridiculous that kids know their scores. The kids can't even compare them because the test is supposed to be based on their prior fall score, so each kid is/could be doing a different test from another kid. My kid told me both scores last week and even told me how many points better they did this time than last time.

hschinske said...

My son isn't the kind to remember random numbers that way, I'm afraid. He had no idea what he'd gotten.

The test adapts according to what you get right and wrong, so *no* two children get the same test. The RIT scores, however, should be comparable -- they are derived scores, not just percentage correct or anything like that.

Helen Schinske

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
agibean said...

My daughter knew hers, and what she'd gotten last time. But she remembers tiny details like that. And yes, the kids DO compare them, at least in her class, just like they compared weight when they were weighed in PE class (grrr).

Mercermom said...

I really don't understand why they are not posting this under "Assessments" in the Source.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they can post it under assessments until they send something home to parents explaining what the scores mean. I have absolutely no idea - and it seems like the score that my child reported last quarter was completely different (not even within a couple of hundred points) from the score this time. Maybe I'm getting math and reading mixed up - but again - I have no idea what these scores mean.

hschinske said...

They post DRA scores, and I guarantee you those are even more confusing.

Helen Schinske

Shannon said...

I'm still thinking about these RIT Score issues. I think it was Laura who referred to a 7 grade spread in ability in our 3rd Grade class. Having volunteered in Math I can believe there is a spread in abilities but am not sure what to make of that figure.

I thought APP had the expectation of kids scoring at or above 95th percentile in grade achievement tests. Is that was is defined as grade ready? So some kids are scoring 95th percentile at 7th Grade and some are 95th percentile at 1st Grade level?

Confused and rather thankful that my kid is pretty happy learning what they are learning.

Charlie Mas said...

Do the teachers understand the MAP scores well enough for the assessment to inform instruction?

My daughter's math teacher knew the RIT score, but didn't know what it meant. So there's no way that it functioned as a formative assessment.

hschinske said...

"I thought APP had the expectation of kids scoring at or above 95th percentile in grade achievement tests. Is that was is defined as grade ready? So some kids are scoring 95th percentile at 7th Grade and some are 95th percentile at 1st Grade level?"

No -- to be at a particular grade level in reading or math on a standardized test means to be at the 50th percentile for that grade. So two children might both score, say, 98th percentile at grade level, but on an out-of-level test one might be 50th percentile for two grade levels up and one might be 50th percentile for five levels up. So despite getting similar scores on grade-level tests, they'd have pretty different needs.

Helen Schinske

Shannon said...

Thanks Helen,
That makes sense. But doesn't the MAP test simply evolve to the threshold of a child's abilities? Thus the 'same test' could be administered to the 3rd grader or 7th grader depending on the threshold at which they start to answer incorrectly a high percentage of the time. Thus RIT scores could be applied across grades.

Eg. A 3rd grader scoring the APP threshold of 95th percentile = 216 would be Grade Ready for 5th grade math (51st percentile) and those who are really high in the 99th percentile for 3rd grade (and would usually not record enough granularity to plot) could be doing well at 7th Grade levels?

hschinske said...

The difficulty in using grade-equivalent scores, even on a test that adapts to higher grade levels, is that there is a lot of overlap between grades (so a fairly small jump can get you a much higher grade equivalent, and a student scoring consistently at any particular percentile for their age, other than 50th, will jump all over the place on grade equivalent scores), and a short test cannot really get at all the possible skills needed.

Something like the MAP could give a rough ranking of students in terms of how far ahead they are, but I would not take it at its word and put a 2nd-grade child who was 50th percentile for 7th grade math straight into a 7th grade workbook -- not without further, more detailed testing.

And of course most of us still have no personal knowledge that indicates whether MAP scores are especially reliable for students who score way beyond level. I would like them to be, but I have no real data.

In some ways you don't really care where the 50th percentile is, because what you'd really like to know is how the students who are doing well in the class but not way ahead of the game are scoring -- I have heard of people using the level where their child gets 75th percentile scores as an instructional level. But all these score interpretation games get pretty kloodgy. At some point you just have to sit down and say, well, can this child handle division? fractions? decimals? etc. -- the nitty-gritty.

Helen Schinske

A2Z said...

Yeah Helen, I believe (self reported number) that my child improved by another 2-3 grades in math perhaps because I spent 5 minutes on how to solve a single variable math equation. I doubt that means that they should be doing 10th grade curriculum though.

Anonymous said...

Anybody waiting on test results from the district for APP qualification. The HMS open house is tonight and not sure if I should attend without my students test results.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for test scores also.

Anonymous said...

No scores today and the one and only HMS open house is tonight. Really cannot figure why the scores could not have arrived beforehand. If my student didn't make it, no sense in spending an evening at a school we won't be attending.

Anonymous said...

I agree that not having test results yet is ridiculous. Testing occurred in early November, nearly 3 months ago! Children who were called back for more testing did so in early January.

I went on a tour of Lowell this morning because this date worked best for my schedule, but like anonymous, it might have been a waste of my time. Would really have been nice to have had test results by now, you know, "on or around January 29th" like they stated.

Shannon said...

If you call the office they will let you know when they are being mailed. Last year, I called and they were quite forthcoming about the fact they were delayed. I received them as predicted (by the call).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Shannon. I just called the Advanced Learning enrollment number to see if they addressed this in their outgoing message, and indeed they did. Per the message, "results for Spectrum and APP eligibility will be mailed on Tuesday February 2nd and Wednesday February 3rd." Hopefully some folks will get news tomorrow--like several others, I am trying not to spool too hard on all of the options (and attendant "if, then" statements) for our current 1st grader and incoming K student, but we are definitely in "info-seeking mode" so I look forward to having more information, whatever the results end up being.

Anonymous said...

Did any first-timer potential APP parents tour Lowell yesterday morning? How did it go? My schedule has me going to one of the later tours--any tips on topics that should be raised or that you didn't get a good feel for? Thanks for sharing, if you're so inclined!

Lori said...

I went on the Lowell tour yesterday. I was surprised at how many people were there, particularly given that we don't have our testing results yet!

It was definitely worthwhile; I'd never even seen the school before this visit. When you break into groups for the tour, try to go with a small group. They suggested we divide up with guides based on age of our children, for example, and some groups therefore ended up larger than others. Buck the trend and go with a small group so you can ask more questions while you are touring and hear what is being said! I learn more from the parents doing the tours than in the large group setting.

While it's important to meet the principal and hear his views of the school, that part of the tour tends to focus on big-picture issues that readers of the various school blogs probably already know. For example, one parent asked how and when he should have his daughter tested for APP. Others didn't seem to know that APP is also at Thurgood Marshall and that your address determines which school you would be assigned to. Others did not know if testing into APP guaranteed you a seat or not. So like I said, pick a tour group that will allow you to ask your unique questions, and if they aren't answered there, then bring them back to the principal for further discussion.

A2Z said...

Has anyone successfully appealed to get into APP? If so was it based on private test scores or some other compelling information?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone get the placement letter? It didn't come in the mail yesterday (February 3). Hopefully today. If not I'm calling the district.

A2Z said...

We are still waiting as well...

Anonymous said...

We appealed last year after our child did not get in through district testing. We included private test results (WISC IV and Achievement tests) which were well above the threshold. To keep within the 10 page maximum we also included a cover letter stating our case, a letter from his then-current teacher, a photocopy-reduced version of a story he had written (8 pages shrunk to 2) and samples of math work. The appeal was successful.

Anonymous said...

I just called the advanced learning office since the test results were not in today's mail. I spoke with someone. They said they were mailed on Tuesday. Did anyone receive the letter today? It will be interesting to see the postmark whenever we finally receive the letter.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of "not yet." Has anyone actually received the letters? If they went out on Tuesday, someone must have received a letter by now.

Anonymous said...

Our letter came today.

Interesting to me that they are still using WASL scores for Reading and Math not MAP scores (for Middle School grades at least).

Also interesting that CogAT scores can vary so much--8 point change in Quantitative over a four year gap in testing. (Verbal 'stable' (topped out? at 99)) I was under the impression that CogAT scores were thought to be fairly stable (and that is why current APP/Spectrum kids don't need to be retested periodically).

hschinske said...

The trouble with looking at percentile point changes is that they mean quite different things at different points in the scale. Near the 50th percentile, such score changes mean very little, while at the extremes, in theory at least, they could mean a lot. (The difference between 98th percentile and 99.9th, on a test capable of measuring accurately that high, is quite large -- much larger than that between 45th and 55th percentile.) Unfortunately, on most tests, ceiling effects take over at the high end, and above a certain point scores become almost random.

Helen Schinske

Shannon said...

We appealed successfully. I knew that the test result on the achievement part might be low because of testing the year before we wanted to move schools. He was from a school that did not do tests and it was his first ever test.

We did the individual testing in Fall before the SPS one. He easily passed the required thresholds but narrowly missed on one of the Cogats (not the score I had expected to be low).

Our appeal included:
1) Letter from his current teacher. 1 Page
2) Scores in IQ and achievement tests from the psychologist + evaluation. 6 pages
3) School reading evaluation. 1 page
4) A cover letter saying there was no space to include examples of work and explaining why we felt the program was a good fit. (1p)
5) I page of work.

Maureen said...

I'm wondering...
Have any of you with APP kids at Hamilton considered enrolling them at Roosevelt for HS? Did you attend their Open House? Do you think Roosevelt could be a good fit for your kid? Why or why not?

Charlie Mas said...

Two important court cases decided today.

1. Court rules that the state is NOT fulfilling its constitutional duty to fully fund education.

2. Court finds that Seattle Public schools choice of high school math textbooks was capricious and arbitrary and directs to Board to reconsider the adoption.

hschinske said...

We haven't considered Roosevelt because we couldn't possibly get in from where we live, but lots of APP students have always gone there (quite a few have historically peeled off after Lowell and gone to Eckstein, not wanting the commute to Washington -- the split was in part to accommodate them, I suppose). I find it rather telling that, while a lot of APP students end up at Roosevelt, when the principal was asked how many APP-qualified students were likely there, he didn't know, and could only think of two.

We will definitely look at Ballard and Ingraham again when our son is in eighth grade. I think he will likely end up at Garfield, though, if only because of orchestra and possibly choir.

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

I am asking about Roosevelt in part because a friend who was at the Open House told me that an APP parent was asking about what science classes freshmen could take and was told that all of them have to take the same freshman science class, then Bio in 10th and then Chem or Physics in 11th... She pointed out that the APP kids were taking Bio now, and the science teacher and principal didn't seem to know aboout that or have any plans for dealing with it. When my friend asked the woman what she would do she said the kid would just go to Garfield.

I was wondering if any APP HIMS parents want to meet with the principal and try to create a path for kids who are advanced in science. If so, TOPS parents would be interested in joining in.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping someone can help me understand how the AL office assigns a student to APP vs. Spectrum. Is APP 98th percentile and above? Is Spectrum between 95 and 98? Our child (first grade) scored 95 and 99 in math and reading respectively. Any insights will be appreciated. We're new to this process...

Anonymous said...

Re Anonymous @ 2:33: With the upfront caveat that I don't have any children in APP (still waiting for our letter one way or the other...maybe with today's mail?) the Advanced Learning section of the Seattle Public Schools website has an eligibility section here: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/eligtestcriteria.htm

Per that grid, a child would need to score in the 98th percentile or higher in two areas of the Cognitive Abilities Test and then 95th percentile or higher in both the Reading & Math Achievement tests to qualify for APP. There are lots of qualifying asterisks along with the grid so check it out for yourself, but it seems to me that if your first grader scored 98th percentile or higher on the CogAT portion, (andmy impression was that they only gave follow-up reading and math tests to those who did well in the CogAT) the reading and math scores you indicate below would make them eligible for APP.

There are additional entries regarding Spectrum eligibility at that same URL. The home page for Advanced learning is here: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/index.htm

Hope this helps. Experienced APP-ers should feel free to correct me as necessary!

Lori said...

anon at 233pm, just curious what your letter said. Is your child assigned to Spectrum or APP or neither?

We are still waiting on our letter! It just occurred to me that appeals are due 2/24, and as of Friday 2/5, we still don't have information. If we want to appeal and get a letter from our current teacher, we will have to get that from her ASAP because of mid-winter break coming up. This process is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

Here's that eligibility URL once more; looks like it got cut off:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/eligtestcriteria.htm

And of course, there is a caveat from SPS: "Scores are general break points and not absolute qualifiers or disqualifiers. Teacher input is strongly considered."

Greg Linden said...

Here, let me make that URL easily clickable:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/eligtestcriteria.htm

Also, for parents considering an eligibility appeal, there was a recent thread here on this blog, "Only 2-3 weeks for APP eligibility appeals?", that may have some useful advice from other APP parents. Don't miss it!

Dorothy said...

Maureen. My son took Biology in Summer Stretch and after much hassle, he was allowed to "skip" biology at Roosevelt and take Chemistry as a 10th grader. Frankly, if you live in the attendance area, you have to be allowed in, yes? So if a student had biology already, whether from Summer Stretch or 8th grade somewhere, RHS would have to accommodate that, yes?

A2Z said...

You aren't using MAP scores are you?

Sometimes second test are confusing because it depends on what grade for Spectrum, But you said first grade so this shouldn't be an issue. K-1 90th percentile (or higher) IQ in 2 areas, ability not tested.

2-7 Cogat 87th (or higher) percentile in 2 areas, 87th (or higher) percentile in both reading and math.

APP is indiscriminate of grade: 98th Cogat and 95th in both reading and math.

A2Z said...

I think that the appeal deadline is fluid and a more reasonable timeline will be laid out.

Shannon said...

Last year the letters were mailed in waves. Those who received letters later were given a different date for appeals. It is still a very tight window but means everyone gets almost the same amount of time.

It is based on the date the letter of notification was mailed. You can call the AL office again and they will let you know if yours is in the mail or there has been a delay.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am the parent who asked about 95 and 99 scores on WC testing. A nice responder validated my hunch that our child would only be tested on the WC if Cogat scores were above 98. Not so... our kid got both tests and our letter assigned spectrum. But I am confused given the WC scores were 95 and 98. Should we appeal? Or is it worth it? We are not excited about the Spectrum assignment so it's essentially APP or local elementary. Thanks to all for any insights...

hschinske said...

I would appeal, probably citing current MAP scores if they're impressive. In the past, they have had issues with admitting students in the earlier grades whose reading wasn't a full two grades ahead, so if you can show MAP results that are definitely more than two years ahead, that may help.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

We got our letter on Friday with good news (qualified for APP). My daughter is a 7th grader right now, so if we chose to join the program, she will move to WMS in the fall for her last year of MS. I would appreciate any comments/suggestions how to handle such a "late" transition to the program. She is very strong at math (homeschooled after school using Singapore math books) and theoretically she would be ready for Algebra II in the fall. However, I heard that they do not offer it anymore in WMS. How do they place the newly coming kids into the appropriate math level: testing in September? Also, what languages are they offering in WMS? THanks!

Chris said...

I am new to this site as my daughter just qualified for middle school APP (Hamilton). We didn't expect it, really, but want to explore this option fully.

So can any Hamilton parents tell us what they think? We are especially concerned about math and science as we have a girl who is good in both. I heard science is a weak link. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Anon if your kid got the scores but they didn't qualify for APP it may be because of a poor teacher evaluation. That said I wouldn't appeal until you get an understanding of the reason why. Call the AL office and ask for an explanation.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask your child's teacher to print out the MAP test results and give them to you? They can do that.

Anonymous said...

We are appealing and having our child retested. Does anyone know what exactly the reading portion of the testing encompasses for a 1st grade level?

fuzzystar said...

We are appealing. Are outside test scores a "must" for an appeal packet? Our daughter's Cogat scores were
v:99, Q:95, and VQ: 99. Her WASL scores last year in 3rd grade were reading:99, Math: 92.
I had been thinking that letters from teacher/principal/parents, along with work example, would do. Now am questioning myself. Any feedback?

Anonymous said...

Greg, could you please start a separate thread on appeals for those families with questions and if those that were unsuccessful/successful previously what do they think made the difference.

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, Anonymous, good idea. I added a note to the Q&A for new parents thread that it should also be used to discuss appeals.

Lori said...

fuzzystar, what about including the MAP results? My guess is that they were looking for math to be 95% or higher on the WASL to fully qualify for APP, so if your child has that score or higher on MAP, that would be useful information to provide. Your school should be able to print the MAP results for you to include in an appeal.

hschinske said...

The Hamilton MAP results were sent out with the grades, so we got them today. As I suspected, typical results for 6th-graders in APP are quite likely to be off the top of the charts, so it doesn't look as though MAP will do much to show progress for middle schoolers.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

fuzzystar, I second the suggestion to use MAP results for backup if they're in the right range. The WASL results are not true percentiles at all.

Helen Schinske

methyl said...

Hi all and thanks for the good discussion here and on http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2010/01/only-2-3-weeks-for-app-eligibility.html

We are parents of a Kindergartener who scored in the mid-90s for all three sections of the Cogat, but 99.5 for all sections of the WPPSI-III test that was performed last year, when he was 5.

I called the AL office and asked specifically if the WPPSI-III was a test that would be accepted in addition to WISC and Stanford-Binet. It looks like the Advanced Learning Appeal page has now been updated to include the WPPSI. ( http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/appeal.htm

Because the WPPSI does not specifically test math, we will be including his MAP scores, but now must wait until after the winter break to get them.

By the way, our scores letter came on Friday, Feb 5th. The following week we spent considering whether or not to appeal. Now it is the second week after obtaining the results and the school is on mid-winter break, sigh. Certainly no time for additional private testing.

Of more concern is what to do for next year: This year's first-graders at my son's school (Broadview-Thomson) do NOT have enough students eligible for Spectrum so there was NOT a Spectrum class made available (isn't this reneging on a promise to provide such opportunities?) If this is also the case for next year, then my son will have neither APP nor Spectrum. We are appealing the APP decision only so he will have options.

The principal at BVT will not be making the decision about whether or not there will be a Spectrum class until he gets the enrollment data in mid-April.

So, what do we do? If we enroll at Lowell for the APP program (assuming the appeal is successful, but possibly prior to us knowing the results of the appeal), then our principal won't be counting our son for the Spectrum class, thus reducing the possibility of actually having a Spectrum class at Broadview.

The prospect of busing / carpooling a kindergartener every day for the rest of his elementary school career is really daunting.