Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Advanced Learning survey results out

About a month and a half ago, the Advanced Learning Task Force, a group set up by the district, put out a survey to parents. Via School Board Director Kay Smith-Blum, the results (PDF) of that survey are now available.

What do you think of the results? Of the survey? Is there anything you think the survey did not cover well or missed?


Gouda said...

Wish I could see these data disaggregated by region and race.

Anonymous said...

Why do people like CMP and EDM so much? I thought math would be panned, but it wasn't. I think the district will look at the math results and think it's working for APP kids. I was hoping the survey would show that the math needs immediate changing.

Overall, I think the district should be thrilled that people are so happy with the program despite all the district has done to it over these last years.

APP Parent

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the survey comments broken out by type of school (elementary, middle and high school) and by individual school.

I'm also surprised by the math results - but I wonder if you'd see a difference between families whose kids are using the CMP textbooks (which in my opinion are much worse than the Everyday Math books).


Anonymous said...

Respondent Profile
Grade Level
􀂇 Elementary School 60%
􀂇 Middle School 30%
􀂇 High School 10%

􀂇 Central 17%
􀂇 North East 29%
􀂇 North West 35%
􀂇 South East 6%
􀂇 West Seattle 12%

Could these number show how much the parents care about their students in the different grades and in the different parts of the district???

I am missing the summary of the optional answers (when you could write down your personal issues with words).

Fiona Cohen said...

I think the written comments are summarized on page 26. I'm not crazy about how they put it together as a list of issues. For example, I believe my entreaties to fix math fit under "curriculum and instruction."

Anonymous said...

I take offense at the "shows how much parents care about their students" comment...seriously?

I think it reflects that Elementary parents tend to be very reactive and their children are little, which would explain the larger response at that level.

Middle School and high school parents have kids that are dealing with a much broader world and different issues beyond AL - social issues, college etc. - so responding to the AL survey was most likely way down on the list.

Here's an offensive comment for you that I have heard: North-end parents tend to be "helicopter parents" while south end parents tend to believe in letting their kids figure out how to cope".

Again - would explain the over-representation in the North-End.

Making offensive comments like that remind of the people that say "We send our kid to private school because we CARE about education". Suggesting, of course, that everyone else couldn't care less.

-South-end Middle School APP parent

Anonymous said...

Being forced to rank answers also affects the results. Some things may have been of equal importance (or unimportance) to me, but I was forced to rank one ahead of the other.

I would be interested to see responses broken out by grade level as well as actual written comments.

Anonymous said...

To: South-end Middle School APP parent
You can argue with the previous comment and its words but can not argue with the numbers.
Obviously you filled out the survey but I feel that we all (SPS parents) had a chance to show our "care" but many of us didn't take part of it. I don't agree with you on the possible reason either. But would like to know the real reason. (Maybe the parents are not participating are all happy with their schools and their programs???)
- Curious

Steve said...

Anonymous at 9:52am, the percentages you cite are response rates to the survey by location. The survey doesn't include the number of Advanced Learning families in each of these areas. Could it simply be that there are more kids in Advanced Learning programs (or eligible for them) in the areas with the higher response rates? If they had response rates by region based on the number of people who received the survey, you could ponder away (I guess).

Jon said...

I was disappointed that the survey results, as summarized and perhaps watered down, do not give clear actions.

For example, in the written comments in my survey, I said the biggest changes we need in advanced learning are to stop forcing APP to move schools, to switch to Singapore Math for advanced learning, to favor and support teachers certified in gifted education for APP, and to strengthen the Spectrum option (or new alternative school options) for children who nearly qualify for APP (ideally, placing those in the same school as APP). Those four changes would be hugely beneficial.

I'd be surprised if there was not widespread support for all four of those. But I did not see those four things emphasized in the summary of the survey, perhaps not because parents did not say it in the survey, but because the summary of the survey did not fully convey what parents said.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please comment on the results on page 14?
The satisfaction rate seems unbelievable knowing all the problems with the Spectrum and the APP program districtwide.
- Curious

Anonymous said...

You also have to remember that those with older children didn't have the same math curriculum that students use today. It wasn't until a few years ago that APP had to switch to EDM.

Anonymous said...

"Somewhat satisfied" - how do you interpret that? I look at it and see only 48% are very satisfied with APP, and even fewer for Spectrum (29%) and ALO (17%). The majority of respondents are not "very satisfied."

Anonymous said...

Here are my narrative comments from the survey:

inappropriate teaching (acceleration w/o sufficient support for needs
of younger students, rigid curriculum, inappropriate homework levels).
Lack of experienced teachers; huge range of teacher quality, from
terrific to poor. Insufficient flexibility for students even modestly
above APP average (math situation scandalous). Experienced teachers'
opinions often not respected.

I support the use of multiple measures of achievement/ability, but
consider high scores in EITHER to be a red flag that low scores in the
other area may be a mismeasure. It's plain ridiculous that one low score
should completely veto 99.9th percentile scores in another area.
Out-of-level testing should be used to assess need for acceleration and
to reduce the impact of careless errors, especially by young children.

Anonymous said...

Insufficient flexibility for students even modestly
above APP average (math situation scandalous).

Completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Where is the full report that documents individual written responses? Is the committee just getting the summary?

Anonymous said...

Now I remember what I didn't like about the survey - the fact that several of the scales have only 4 real options on the scale. So I was forced to say the math curriculum was either mostly appropriate or mostly inappropriate. I chose mostly appropriate. But if they had given me a choice that said "appropriate about half of the time", I would have chosen that. The structure of the survey could be disguising a lot of medium-level frustration with the math curriculum.

50/50 on EDM

Anonymous said...

Can someone please help me read slides such as #10? It looks like this is supposed to reflect the reasons AHG students/families choose whichever program they do. So does this mean 83% of those who elect to go the APP route do so for academic rigor? And 76% choose APP for curriculum? Another 65% choose it for the cohort, and so on? That's way more than 100%... Or perhaps the comparisons are within each topic? No, those are over 100% too... Although not noted here, I imagine this has something to do with the rankings, e.g., 83% of those who go the APP route indicated academic rigor was in their top half of priorities?

I also agree it would be GREAT to see the results broken out by school, or at the very least by elem/MA/HS. The programs are very different at the different grade levels, so aggregating them doesn't say a whole lot about any of them.

Oh, and regarding the satisfaction issue, I agree it's partly a matter of the choices available. If your child is getting SOMETHING beyond gen ed, you're inclined to be a bit satisfied to start with, even if the actual program delivered falls far short.

lendlees said...

Slide #10 had a question that allowed multiple responses. So, the way you would interpret the results is that 83% of AHG families indicated that 'program rigor' was ONE of the reasons they selected the APP program.

Yes, it would be nice to break it down by elementary, middle and high school and the ALTF asked for that. Not sure when that will happen.

And for those who wish they could see all of the filled in comments, please remember that more than 2200 people filled out the survey. That's a lot of comments to go through, but I'm sure if you would like to see them all, you could ask the Advanced Learning office to send you a copy.

As far as satisfaction goes, remember that APP families have come from somewhere else that did not meet their child's academic needs, so comparatively, APP is better, hence higher satisfaction rates.

Anonymous said...

I was dismayed to learn today, by talking to Enrollment Services, that because I did not specify a second choice middle school for our daughter, if she does not get into her first choice school's Spectrum program, she will default to our neighborhood school's REGULAR ED program. I was told it is too late to change the form without it going to "the bottom of the pile." This stinks. SPS instructions were not clear and their inflexibility is infuriating. Would they put a special ed student in general ed because of a mistake on a form?!