Thursday, June 30, 2011

What would make APP stable?

The APP program has had little stability in the last two years. It was split at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Due to capacity constraints and increased demand, further splits in the next two years look likely for all grades. Unless something can be done, much more uncertainty and change are in our future.

But there appears to be no plan, no thought of what APP should look like two years out, no path to make APP a stable and thriving program again. Instead, it is crisis after crisis, each time yielding a sub-optimal outcome in a wild scramble.

What would make the APP program stable again?

55 comments :

Greg Linden said...

As the moderator, I usually hold back on participating much in the discussions, but I really want to chime in on this one.

I think one thing we should think about is whether the best solutions to APP's lack of stability lie outside of APP.

Part of the problem with APP is increased demand. As alternative program options like Spectrum are cut back, as APP programs move into schools in the north where there is latent demand, the number of students who choose APP over their neighborhood school increases. So, part of the solution might be to have robust Spectrum programs and new alternative programs that would be attractive to parents that might otherwise be considering APP.

Part of the problem is that the entire district is badly overcrowded. The board dug a hole for this district two years ago when they closed school and signed long-term leases, and now buildings and space are hard to come by, both for neighborhood schools and alternative programs like APP. Again, part of the solution might be robust Spectrum and alternative programs, especially in undercapacity schools, that attract parents to those schools.

In the end, I am not sure I see a solution for APP stability that does not involve expanding other alternative programs. I think a big part of the demand for APP recently is that it is drawing off qualified children who used to go to their neighborhood school or private schools because those schools are not offering alternative programs as attractive as the APP program. The solution, then, may be to duplicate successes and offer alternative schools that are attractive?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the need to strengthen Spectrum and to guarantee spots in Spectrum to all students who qualify.

I also think that the APP programs need to either be in their own school or co-located with an option school not a neighborhood school (or if it's a neighborhood school, one with a very small attendance area). The problem with co-locating APP with a neighborhood school is that both populations are guaranteed admission. So if either or both programs grow, you have overcrowding.

The District uses APP to help draw students to a previously underutilized neighborhood school (like Hamilton) - and then when it works and the school is full, APP has to move once again. The District needs to stop using APP to manage their capacity problems.

Jane

alxdark said...

Unfortunately, two Spectrum programs have been dismantled recently, the most recent one at Wedgewood. Reading through comments on that, it sounds like the AL office told parents of that program that self-contained Spectrum programs only exist at the leisure of principals in the schools where they occur. That was news to everyone with a child in Spectrum, I'm sure.

When you take the dismantling of Spectrum programs and this attitude on the part of the AL office, it seems like we're moving away from supporting Spectrum programs, or even having a good definition/standards of what Spectrum means.

There is also no organization, comparable to the APP AC, to advocate on behalf of this large population of advanced learners. These programs are easily attacked.

Our daughter (who tested into APP but is currently choosing to stay at Whittier Spectrum) is a good example of the problem. If they moved APP closer to us, and/or ended Spectrum at Whittier, we'd probably move her into APP.

Is this by design on the part of the district? An unintended consequence? Who knows. As you say, there appears to be no plan at all for APP or for AL as a whole.

ArchStanton said...

It seems like we/they always approach this from the current crisis du jour. How about we define what we would like the APP model to look like five years from now and work our way back?

Say, we decide two APP elementary schools housed by themselves or with SpecEd or some other option program is a reasonable outcome that the district might support. How do we get there from here?

But, first there needs to be some consensus within the APP community as to what that five-year outcome should be and some agreement from SPS to support it.

Fremont Mama said...

This was posted on the save seattle schools blog and seems like a good idea. It allows APP to be in it's own school (with room to grow)and can accomodate additional kids coming in at grades 6-8. I am a new APP parent though so don't know much about all the issues the APP has faced in the past. What do the more seasoned APP parents this of this?

Susanne

none1111 said...
At a recent APP AC meeting, Kay SB floated the idea of re-opening John Marshall as an APP 1-8. She said the key to making it work was to use a mushroom model for 6-8, allowing neighborhood kids to join in middle school.

If this plan used a (real) Spectrum program to fill in 6-8, not only could those kids potentially draw some benefit (access to APP math), but it could be designated as an option school to avoid a repeat of the disaster we're in right now. It's a model that solves a lot of problems.

- APP north is actually north
- The site is central for north, very close to I-5 (great for transportation)
- Inclusive of other kids in 6-8
- Relieves pressure from Hamilton (which is going to burst in 2012-13)
- Relieves pressure on Eckstein, especially if the option portion is designated Spectrum.
- Allows greater access to advanced math for Spectrum kids
- Not prone to another Lowell disaster due to guaranteed seats for 2 potentially growing programs.

In a side conversation at Monday's meeting, Peggy McEvoy acknowledged that this plan is one that is being considered for the following year. We need to push to find out ASAP what other plans are under consideration.

Ben said...

First thing we need: A public school system without antipathy toward APP or advanced learning in general.

Anonymous said...

Reopen TT Minor as a neighborbood school; change Madrona into an Option School and put a STEM progam there so students could select a 6-12 STEM program. Ensure that this Madrona program would be attrative to APP 6th graders to take pressure of Hamilton.

APP remains at Lowell with Spec Ed population.


In other words, look for solutions that help the overcrowding in the Lowell and Stevens attendance areas and fill an underenrolled school versus moving APP students willy nilly every couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Susanne,

Interesting idea for the North, but what about APP Elementary in the Central & South?

APP needs a city or district-wide solution that is equitable and ensure the same level of education and resources for *all* APP students, not just those who live North of the Ship Canal!

Please, when advocating think of the entire program, not just what is best for one/your geographical area.

Georgia

Anonymous said...

The District capacity plans for John Marshall show it as a middle school in 2013 - so I'm a bit perplexed by KSB's proposal.

Steve said...

Is APP (collectively, all programs) the biggest program in Seattle Public Schools? I can't think of any other program that is bigger. I agree with the other posts that if the program is to continue as a defined program, it has to have its own permanent home and essentially cease to be a "program" and become a "school" (or set of schools). As long as it is a program and co-housed with schools, it will always be a pawn that the district feels it can move around. I don't see any way around this...

Sarah said...

Georgia,

That line and request is getting old. Susanne copied a suggestion from another blog and asked what people thought of it. Unless I read her post incorrectly, she is asking for feedback about the idea as well as saying she is new to the program.

Lowell APP is in a tough spot NOW. What do you suggests parents of kids scheduled to attend Lowell in September do? Sit back and see what happens?

I think you should put yourself in the shoes of Lowell APP parent for a minute.

Quit the rhetorix.

Anonymous said...

"The District capacity plans for John Marshall show it as a middle school in 2013 - so I'm a bit perplexed by KSB's proposal."

They can change anything at any moment.

Anonymous said...

Consider signing the new petition to keep Lowell APP together while they come up with a long term plan.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/keep-lowell-app-together-in-2011-2012/

Lowell Parent

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
To clarify: The purpose of this blog is to provide an open forum for opinions, and this thread posed the question, “what would make APP stable”. Susanne asked for feedback from “experienced APP families” on the idea that Kay SB presented recently.

My opinion, and my feedback, is that APP programs across the city should be equitable. I do not believe this is tired rhetoric, I believe it is what is needed to make the program a success.

I understand that there are capacity issues at Lowell and I certainly appreciate the impossible situation that Lowell families are facing. I interpreted – perhaps incorrectly – that the John Marshall 1-8 APP solution was posed as a long term solution, not for this fall.

You might not like my opinion or value my input as a South/Central APP parent, but I respectfully ask that you and other contributors to this blog allow an open dialog.

Georgia

Fremont Mama said...

I think the idea is that Lowell APP move to Lincoln now for 1-2 years until John Marshall is ready to be re-opened as an APP 1-8 school. As an APP parent who lives in Fremont, this idea is one that I like.

I also agree that South/Central APP families need a long term solution as well. Since my daughter is supposed to be starting at Lowell in the fall, my focus and priority (right now) is on the current situation at that school. Hopefully in the next couple years, there will be a solution for all APP families where ever they live.

Susanne

Fremont Mama said...

anonymous @ 11:29am - the idea is that the school is APP 1-8 with additional kids coming in for middle school. I don't know how what the capacity of the school is, but it seems like there could be a large middle school population along with the APP 1-5 kids. Doesn't Salmon Bay have a similar set up?

Susanne

Anonymous said...

I am an alumna of the APP program--I started in it back when it was IPP, and it changed to APP when I was in middle school, back in the last 80's. I was in the program during the time it was colocated with a neighborhood program at Madrona. If I had a kid in the program today, I'd be advocating for APP to cease being colocated with any program, whether it's a neighborhood program, an option school, or anything else.
Elementary APP needs a stable home if it's going to be able to grow and develop. If APP gets tossed around every time there's a bad capacity management decision made, it's never going to find the stability that will attract families. Having it own building will help to make it much less likely to be moved around every time there's a district capacity crisis. It also eliminates the conflicts between APP and the programs it's been colocated with. That was a big issue at Madrona when I was a kid and I don't want to see that repeated.

I also think it's best to advocate for the district to reopen a building that's not currently in use, and put APP there, rather than trying to find a building that's already in use and, for lack of a better word, poach it from them. Better to find an unused building so you're not just shuffling around the district's capacity problems--your removing kids from their capacity problems and putting them in a new space instead. You also then don't make enemies of whoever's building you're taking.

I think the key in getting what is best for APP is knowing how to convince the district administrators that it's in their best interest too. Come up with a plan that helps the district with its capacity problems, and you're much more likely to get the district to agree to the plan. That may mean having to take a building in an area where there's less crowding, i.e. south of Capitol Hill. I know that people complain about the commute for their kids, but I did that commute from Wedgwood from 1st through 8th grades, and it was not that big of a deal.

I am really sorry to watch APP families going through all this upheaval, and I hope you'll be able to find some stability in the years to come.

dj said...

Greg, I think you are right that better alt support is important to stability.

I think that south/central parents are right to ask to be included in overall, long-term planning for APP stability. Thurgood Marshall isn't stuffed, but Garfield was so crowded they actually moved boundary lines and started an APP north program, and Washington is full and probably will get fuller. Washington is also going to undergo a remodel soon, and the capacity management slides make it clear that decisions about APP and decisions about Washington's rebuild are linked. If we are making a "north" K-8 school, don't you need to think about who goes there? If it is in the NE, does QA/Magnolia go there or south? If it is in the NW, does Laurelhurst go there or south? Where are the areas of the most growth, and where are the areas that might grow more if the schools are moved, so that if we want sustainable programs, we don't get a north site that lasts for about five years before you are doing this all again? (Which again might mean something other than assigning all neighborhoods now assigned to Lowell to a north location?)

We need to be planning and thinking about how to advocate now, because the district obviously is not going to do it for us. It makes sense to me that if we are going to advocate for a north-end K-8 self-contained school, we should advocate for a south/central one while we are *actually doing advance planning.* Particularly since capacity problems aren't as bad in the south and we might be able to get one down here more easily.

Anonymous said...

7 years ago the consideration for APP at Lowell was around removing the APP grades 1 and 2 classrooms to another location to relieve overcrowding, this was predicted to happen a few weeks after school began. Every year since there has been a crisis and a long list of crazy possibilities to fend off.

One direction for Lowell families to take is to insist on the option to return to the school assignment they held before this hideously last minute bait-and-switch was announced. As always (the split 2 years ago, and Garfield this past year, are prime examples) the district has created a monstrous problem and tryed to find solutions for APP in a rush.

Ask around and see if any non-APP student has ever had a school (read Lowell building here)assignment jerked out from under them just two months before the start of school? It is unheard of, it is insane, it is unreasonable and anyone who wants to should have access to pre-existing school assignments.

Isn't it fair to know what you are signing up for? Agreeing to go to a temporary location with an unknown outcome gives you nothing.

Alternatively, or additionally, insist on knowing the price of moving ALO out of Lowell and find out how many ALO students live in the Lowell attendance area.

Finally, require the district to address why they sent out 3,000 invites to test into the program if they didn't have space available for even a fraction of those additional students.

Mr. Don't-take-it

Anonymous said...

I believe we need to be advocating for what is right for all APP students at all grade levels, and hold the district accountable to developing a model that serves all kids in the program, regardless of where they live.

My concern - illustrated in this thread - is that the North parents will advocate for a specific solution that appeals to them, but not necessarily one that serves all kids who qualify for APP. APP is a program, and I think every child who qualifies deserves the same education and resources, regardless of where they live.

Georgia

Anonymous said...

since there are so many dissatisfied families at madrona and they are leaving the school why not reinvent that school into something like an APP 1-8. lets face it whatever vision the school district had to split the APP program and cohort with ALO is not working. the better fit would have been APP and SPED.

Bird said...

since there are so many dissatisfied families at madrona and they are leaving the school why not reinvent that school into something like an APP 1-8.

Aren't the neighboring schools like McGilvra over capacity?

I think the district needs Madrona to take the pressure of some schools in the Central area. An APP 1-8 there would prevent Madrona from helping with that problem.

Of course, it's not helping much now, but an APP only school would permanently take the school offline. I doubt the district would go for it.

Anonymous said...

Not only might the central area need Madrona for the neighborhood population, but can anyone REALLY see the district putting APP back there? I think not.

That's a PR trick I would love to see, though. I can't even imagine how the district would try to spin that one.

parent

Anonymous said...

New families like ours might not oppose a 3rd APP school option if SPS could get organized and place the program in a permanent location with some experienced APP teachers. We are already moving to a new school next year and have not yet established the bond to Lowell or the APP program. The current Lowell APP kids need to stay together and be given the OPTION to transfer to a new APP school. Forcing the movement of children to a new school or separating siblings needs to be avoided at all costs. Keeping Lowell as an APP site would be beneficial to the other existing programs.

A transition plan should include:

1. Establish boundaries for 3 schools
2. Give current APP kids at TM and Lowell the option to transfer to their reference APP school or stay at their existing school
3. Have all new APP kids start at their reference APP school unless they have a sibling at one of the other schools.

In general people do not like change and children want to stay with their friends.

I have friends that started the first year of APP at TM and they love it. At the meeting 6/27 the families that endured the split thought it was terrible. It seems to me that the most important thing to do is avoid moving kids as much as possible. Having a group of new kids start APP at a new site would not be that traumatic.

At this point many of the new families just want the option to return to their reference schools (or previous school).

I am not sure if anyone else would agree with me and in fear of the hostility I saw at the 6/27 meeting I am leaving this post "anonymous".

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:42

Most families currently in APP oppose your suggestion for a very good reason. There ARE NOT enough experienced APP teachers right now to split the program. You see many agree with me by reading the comments here and on Save Seattle Schools, the APP AC letter to Enfield, the original survey, the second survey, and the majority of comments given at the Lowell meeting the other night.

Your solution wouldn't work because the vast majority of current APP families would not want your suggestion. For your suggestion to work, you would have to have 200 kids (almost half of the 450 projected for next year) move from the APP they know to this new one you are suggesting. I would never do that.

My kids went through the first split, and it was tough. It was made much better, though, because there were so many experienced teachers to help with the transition.

You say the families are "hostile" to your idea. I think "hostile" is too strong a word but many of us went through the first split and are still waiting for many of the promises to be fulfilled. As the saying goes, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

APP parent

Anonymous said...

The APP AC has done a really good job of hearing all the voices and using past history to advocate for what is best for all of us, we are lucky to have such a hardworking group looking at the options wholistically, and they deserve our thanks for rallying to address the issues in record time.

Our best bet as a community is to support the model that the APP AC has recommended to create a chorus of unified voices. If we combined effort we may be able to replicate the results realized recently at Ingraham with the reinstatement of Martian Floe.

APP AC Supporter

dj said...

APP AC supporter, can you articulate for us what the long term vision for APP the APP AC has? Because I am not familiar with it.

Stu said...

My concern - illustrated in this thread - is that the North parents will advocate for a specific solution that appeals to them, but not necessarily one that serves all kids who qualify for APP.

Georgia,

As a "North" parent who's already been through one split, I feel I always advocate for the entire APP community. That said, to reiterate something that's already been mentioned, there are two issues being discussed right now. We ALL want a plan for a stable APP future, one that addresses the concerns of ALL families. However, this coming fall, the "North" program is going to be radically altered.

Around 60 days from now, either the Lowell APP kids are ALL going somewhere else together or SOME are going one place while others are not, which in my opinion drastically changes the nature of the program for the North kids. THIS particular issue has a lot to do with the overall APP programming discussion but, for this moment, we need to find a place to put the North kids!

By advocating for the North program to move, in its entirety, to Lincoln for the next two years, I'm not leaving out the Central or South kids. THIS particular decision HAS to be made for this moment. Then, with that taken care of for September, we all need to address the future of the program.

stu

Not anonymous said...

"I think the idea is that Lowell APP move to Lincoln now for 1-2 years until John Marshall is ready to be re-opened as an APP 1-8 school. As an APP parent who lives in Fremont, this idea is one that I like.

I also agree that South/Central APP families need a long term solution as well. Since my daughter is supposed to be starting at Lowell in the fall, my focus and priority (right now) is on the current situation at that school. Hopefully in the next couple years, there will be a solution for all APP families where ever they live.

Susanne"

If this is an actual plan being considered, then hooray. Sounds like an excellent idea. For peopl who live more too far south for this to be convenient, there is always Thurgood Marshall. Or, there could be Thurgood Marshall, a re-established Lowell, and, John Marshall. APP will continue to grow and plans must be laid to accommodate this growth. Plus, the maps indicated to me that a very large fraction of APP students are in the North End -- we're not, but a North End school _will_ be vastly more convenient than one on Capitol Hill. So, we'd lean towards John Marshall if it happens.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if we will hear something before this Friday from the District.

Wondering parent

Stu said...

Wondering if we will hear something before this Friday from the District.

Ahh . . . the calm before the storm!

The District, APP, and Stability, are not three things you usually think of in the same sentence. The two most important things SPS could do to add to the stability of the APP program, in the long run, is OPEN COMMUNICATION and LISTEN TO SOMEONE ELSE ONCE IN A WHILE.

They did say they'd announce something by the 8th, didn't they? We'll see what happens. It's awfully quiet!

stu

Anonymous said...

This is the same crazy game all over again! Does anyone have a contact in the media who would be interested in this story? Do we really have to be sitting ducks?

frustrated.

none1111 said...

Georgia said: "My concern - illustrated in this thread - is that the North parents will advocate for a specific solution that appeals to them, but not necessarily one that serves all kids who qualify for APP. APP is a program, and I think every child who qualifies deserves the same education and resources, regardless of where they live."

It's still not clear to me what your complaint is. You're saying that north end APP families shouldn't advocate for what's best for their kids because it might be different that what APP south has?

The first thing that's wrong with that thinking is that ThM families actually have stability right now. Lowell/Lincoln/wherever does not. So if we really want equality spread around the program, then we should make the ThM program move to another building this year as well. Yes, right now, after school is out. No, on second thought, I'd like as many kids and families to be well-served as possible, so I'm not really on that bandwagon.

Second, look at high school. North and south are completely different programs. Are you opposed to this too?

Third and most important, in a more general sense not even related to APP, this reeks of an "If I can't have it, no one should be able to have it!" attitude. It's really hard to deny that's what you're saying, and it stinks.

I want whatever is the best for as many kids as possible. Right now that might be stability. Or it might be a 1-8 building. Or something else entirely. If APP-south was about to make a move to a brand new building, co-housed with a SpEd population and all the existing APP teachers were making the move, and they got extra funding to help new teachers with gifted ed. training, you know what I'd say? Way to go! You rock! As long as it doesn't negatively affect my school and my kids. Plus, if I saw some actual support for the program anywhere it would give me hope for the future for my kids as well.

The best scenario for most kids across the board would be to re-open TTMinor for central neighborhood kids, tighten back up the APP entry criteria, strengthen Spectrum around the city, glue APP back together at Lowell w/SpEd, and go back to what we had a few years ago. But since that's not happening any time soon, we should all be hoping for whatever best outcomes we can for the most students and families. Without bitterness or jealousy.

Anonymous said...

In looking at qualifications other districts use when offering multiple levels of gifted education, some use MAP scores of 97-98% for the most accelerated pathway (in addition to CogAT and other criteria), and many programs don't start until late elementary.

As an aside, the mean math MAP percentiles for elementary students enrolled in APP in 2010 were (Fall/Winter):

Grade 1: 99/99
Grade 2: 99/99
Grade 3: 98/98
Grade 4: 97/96
Grade 5: 95/95

Mercermom said...

Whenever I see people advocating for using a higher percentile cutoff, I am concerned because of standard margin of error. I don't know what is is on the MAP; but I recall from the APP audit done a few years ago that it was as high as a few percentage points. That does not make me feel comfortable that the cutoff should be 98/99 when that would likely mean that you are excluding students who are actually in that range when the margin of error is taken into account. Of course, for that reason, the audit said that the test results should not be the only admissions criterion.

none1111 said...

Whenever I see people advocating for using a higher percentile cutoff, I am concerned because of standard margin of error.

You are right to be concerned about the margin of error -- especially with the MAP and APP kids. See this SaveSeattleSchools thread, toward the bottom, where there's a discussion about this:

Open Thread / MAP reliability

That does not make me feel comfortable that the cutoff should be 98/99 when that would likely mean that you are excluding students who are actually in that range when the margin of error is taken into account.

Don't forget the other half, which is that a large margin of error allows kids access who don't really meet the eligibility mark.

Consider which of those two situations is worse:

If a student doesn't quite make the mark for APP one year, they have a chance again the following year, and you'll hear many, many stories where that happened. Yes, it's unfortunate for that extra year, but the alternative?

If a student gains entry to APP because their score was higher than reality (50% chance with MAP, but other tests aren't necessarily constructed that way), then they are granted a seat for the remainder of their years in SPS. Not the best fit for them, and not the best fit for the other students and teachers.

Kerry said...

none1111,

I'm curious what your negative experiences are with kids that shouldn't be in the program.

I'm not trying to start an argument. I am really curious what experiences drive you to make these comments. My child will be new to APP this year, and I hope she won't be diluting the program further for your child.

Are there really kids in the program that are so far below their peers that they are hurting the program? If that's true, why would the parents keep them in the program?

Stu said...

This thread has taken a strange turn, hasn't it? As has been written earlier, and in other threads, the threshold for APP hasn't change in years. The district keeps talking about greater access by spreading the program around but that can only be considered in terms of attracting families that opted out 'cause they didn't want their kids going so far from home.

Theoretically, and correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure you all will) the MAP testing is supposed help identify students who might not normally be testing for APP. It's just another way of identifying potential APP students; they still have to score on the other tests, right?

There are three especially logical reasons for the growth in the program.
First, more APP-possible students are being identified by teachers and testing; second, the economy has forced some families, who might have considered private school for their APP-qualified kids, to come back to public school, and third, in my opinion most likely, the dilution of Spectrum has forced families to leave their local schools for APP so that their kids can get the education they need.

The standards have not been lowered, nor should they. APP isn't just about "smarter" or "more advanced," especially in the early grades. It's also about the WAY a student learns and acceleration and the support of "like-minded" students and the need for a cohort.

stu

Anonymous said...

My daughter got in this coming year and the cog test cut-off for fall MAP was 85 and above in Math and Reading. Once you make this cutoff, you then have to get 95 and above for Math and Reading in the Fall/Winter MAP test. The other requirement of 98% and above in 2 areas in the Cog test was the same. So with the MAP testing, it added another requirement to be accepted into APP. Heard some kids had private cog test over 98 but did not get in because of MAP scores being under 95.

Anonymous said...

My daughter got in this coming year and the cog test cut-off for fall MAP was 85 and above in Math and Reading. Once you make this cutoff, you then have to get 95 and above for Math and Reading in the Fall/Winter MAP test. The other requirements were the same, 98% and above in 2 areas in the Cog test was the same. So with the MAP test, it added another requirement to be accepted into APP. Heard some kids had private cog test over 98 but did not get in because of MAP scores being under 95.

New parent

Steve said...

Stu, I think you're right on. I'm unclear, however, about two things related to MAP testing for next year:

1. I believe the district is only planning to give the MAP test twice next year (in Winter and Spring), and not in Fall. Given how the Advanced Learning testing is usually in Fall, and MAP is one way they identify kids who might qualify via the further MAP testing, how is this going to work for incoming kindergarteners (those who usually take the Advanced Learning tests in the Fall)? Say what you will about testing K students for this, but a lot of parents to to qualify for APP, Spectrum and ALO for 1st grade.

2. There is some confusion (at least in my mind) about whether kids who don't meet the initial MAP threshold (for being contacted and encouraged to test for Advanced Learning) were actually not allowed last year to take the Advance Learning test. Was that true?

Anonymous said...

Your numbers are all messed up anon just above. It is simply

85%+ Map as one of the factors for school testing... But you can appeal.

School testing: 98%+ IQ and 95%+ reading and math but again you can appeal.

MAP scores are only for who can be tested then they rely on standardized IQ/Achievement test.

Anonymous said...

Grade 1: 99/99
Grade 2: 99/99
Grade 3: 98/98
Grade 4: 97/96
Grade 5: 95/95

These numbers say it all. Students who begin APP in earlier grades are higher scoring, whereas students who join APP in later years score lower. This is part of why there is so much concern around dilution of the program as well as the idea propogated by the school district that it is possible to grow the program. The only way to do that is to lower the bar.

Number Cruncher

Anonymous said...

It makes sense that kids in the 98/99 range would join APP earlier as they're more likely to be identified as outliers among their peers. That does not mean that kids who join later are any less eligible or deserving. The bar has always been set at 95% and any child above that is eligible to participate.

It also makes sense that the program would grow as you head toward middle school because parents begin to realize that kids cannot access the calculus-prep math track unless their children are in APP. I think it's a mistake to assume that only kids in the 98/99th percentile are well-suited for the rigor of APP. Over time, especially as effort and motivation gain importance in the upper elementary and middle school years, additional children will prove themselves to be excellent candidates for inclusion through performance and testing.

I'm not sure what there is to fear by giving more students access to challenging curriculum in upper elementary school and middle school so long as they meet the program criteria. Perhaps number cruncher could explain? Having been ID'd as a 99%er long ago, I know that by 6th grade there are plenty of slackers who can easily be replaced by more motivated kids from gen. ed with no loss of program quality.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

There could be several reasons for the decreasing MAP scores.

I looked at the MAP numbers by grade and thought it was a sign that the math curriculum was underserving students. We've noticed gaps in our child's math knowledge and skills that we attribute in part to EDM and CMP.

CMP seems to stunt the math instruction for grades 4-5. With a different curriculum, I'm guessing the students could cover more material and cover it more thoroughly than with CMP.

It could also be a function of the MAP test. There is one MAP test for early primary (K-1) and another used for 2-5.

Anonymous said...

The MAP numbers (or the equivalent) for a gifted program will always go down as you go up in grades. To get into the program, you have to be performing at a very high level. Once in, some percentage of kids will stop performing at that level for the usual assortment of reasons (famikymproblems, emotional problems, boredom, don't click with the materials, don't click with the materials, etc.). It is statistically inevitable.

--amsiegel

Anonymous said...

Number cruncher said: These numbers say it all. Students who begin APP in earlier grades are higher scoring, whereas students who join APP in later years score lower.

How can you tell that from the data given? Wouldn't the students just entering the program be most likely to score around 95% or higher, since that was the threshold for entry?

Maybe some of the students that have been in since 1st grade are no longer scoring 95% and higher. Who knows without seeing the data?

There is also the issue of test measurement error (SEM).

For example:

In math, a 95% on MAP for 4th grade is equivalent to a RIT of 220 (when taken at the beginning of the year). Assuming a minimum SEM of 1.5, the score range is 217 to 223. According to the norm data, that is a range of 90% to 97% on MAP.

Anonymous said...

Some good points have been made about not having all the data available, but logic would also say that students firmly in the top one or two percent are likely identified early, and that in many instances more fringe cases are identified in subsequent years and perhaps even after multiple attempts at testing into APP.

Agreed that tests are not always accurate and that students are not always well served by materials and teachers along the way, however, there does appear to be an undeniable pattern of decending averages as more kids join the program. Again, this supports the concern that APP clases often need to bend to accomodate those who fall under the top two percent.

This is important given the recent idea to potentially lump APP and Spectrum together in middle school science classes. These groups learn differently, which is why there have been two separate programs for them all along.

Number Cruncher

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, do you have any data to back that up?

Speaking purely anecdotally, I was a 'late bloomer' in reading, and yet was 99th percentile on every standardized and IQ test I ever took. The thing is, the first one I took was in 6th grade. I'm pretty sure I would have been low-to-average in reading in K or 1st grade, as I was in middle reading groups.

Anonymous said...

Number Cruncher: "... but logic would also say that students firmly in the top one or two percent are likely identified early..."

Am very curious to know what logic that would be?

Dissenter said...

I think that there is actually data showing that gifted identification at age 4 or 5 isn't accurate because it relates more to the child's early environment than to their real IQ.

Anonymous said...

From Assessing/Testing for Giftedness, by Linda K Silverman:

"There is a widespread myth that IQ test scores of preschool and primary-aged children are inflated due to environmental advantage (e.g., parents reading to their children or the children attending excellent preschools). However, the impact of the environment increases with age; therefore, the IQ scores of third graders are unquestionably more influenced by the environment than the scores of kindergartners. For girls, in particular, early IQ scores are more reliable than those obtained after they have been socialized into hiding their abilities."

http://www.malonefamilyfoundation.com/whatisgifted_assessing2.html

Anonymous said...

nope dissenter entrance into APP is based on IQ.

Number cruncher, the fact is that highly gifted kids rarely excel in both math and reading. I have three app qualified kids one is 99% all the time in math, one in reading and the oldest is both.

Charlie Mas said...

Three things are needed for a stable APP:

1. Sufficient capacity for the program at every grade level.

We don't have that now because there is not sufficient capacity for north-end elementary APP at Lowell. Space constraints can also be predicted at Hamilton and Garfield.

2. A consistent understanding of the program from Vision, to eligibility, right down to content and services.

We don't have that now either. We don't have any of it.

3. Protection from outside pressure.

This can come in the form of capacity pressure from co-located programs, enrollment pressure caused by a loss of public confidence in Spectrum and ALOs, political pressure from elements within the District that are opposed to gifted ed, and impacts from other forces outside the program.

Here's what is needed:

The District has to take a moment and actually focus on Advanced Learning. They were supposed to do this already. An Advanced Learning Review was one of the original projects of the Strategic Plan. It was quietly dropped. It needs to be restored and executed.

When it is done, I suspect the outcome will call for three elementary sites - north (probably at John Marshall), Central (probably at Thurgood Marshall), and South (probably at Columbia). These programs will not be co-located with an attendance area program, but may be co-located with a special population - SpEd, language immersion, Montessori, or E.B.O.C.

I think three locations will be necessary and I think that each location can have the 250 student critical mass necessary for viability.

There could be either two or three middle school sites: Wilson-Pacific in the north, Washington in the Central/South, and, possibly, Aki Kurose in the South. Again, the determining factors will be whether the enrollment will be sufficient to provide the critical mass needed for viable communities.

I think the high school program will allow additional options. I think it could continue to keep Garfield as a base, but with Ingraham IB, Sealth IB, NOVA, and STEM as recognized APP pathways.

Beyond the site sizes and locations, it will be much more critical that the District figure out what they want Advanced Learning to be; write, implement, and enforce a 1-8 curriculum; institute effective quality control; and protect the program as they would protect any geographic community.

To be candid, I don't think there is any chance that the District will do this.

dj said...

Charlie, it may be that a rational APP has three sites, but I am not sure that I agree with you that Thurgood Marshall would be a central site, with another site to the south of it and one to the north. That doesn't map on to where the kids in APP actually live; as it is, while I don't have access to the district figures, I would be completely unsurprised if a majority of THurgood Marshall families in APP lived north of the school as it is. It might be that locating a school in the far south would draw in more families from the far south. I'm skeptical. But I think if you are setting up three sites, it doesn't make sense to locate two of them in south/central when the majority of students live in the north end.