Saturday, February 2, 2013

Open thread

A new open thread. Discuss what you like!

101 comments :

Anonymous said...

Anyone considered relocating to Shoreline for their gifted program? If any Shoreline G&T program parents are on this blog, would you share your opinions of the program there?

I'm sorry our family's reached the point where we're giving it serious thought.

-Might move

sixwrens said...

On the save-seattle-schools blog, “APP Alum” wrote “the World School and Nova are being evicted from Meany and it is being turned back into a middle school, I think Meany should become the permanent home of the entire APP middle school cohort, both north and south end.”

This seems like a great idea. Am I missing something? It seems like this could solve overcrowding problems at Hamilton and keep APP together as a cohort. Would such a move also help south Seattle middle schools?

This is something I can imagine advocating for. We have an app-qualified 4th grader in an excellent elementary. We had hoped to move her in middle school. Right now, our choice appears to be between an overcrowded neighborhood middle school that (I don’t think) offers the curriculum she needs and an unstable APP program.

Anonymous said...

We looked at Shoreline schools a few years ago and they no longer tested out-of-district students for the gifted program (if you weren't already enrolled). I'm not sure of the current policy.

been there

Anonymous said...

I thought it looked like the current APP cohort was already a bit above the Meany capacity, and that expected growth would only make the problem worse within a couple years. Could be wrong, but I seem to recall middle school APP cohort will hit 1000 soon.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Is it true some APP parents are thinking about organizing against the levy because of last week's assignment plan decision?

Anonymous said...

Might move -

A friend's son is in the G&T program at Shoreline and they seem happy, but I haven't asked details. (He is high school now.)

Greg Linden said...

Anon @ 11:33, if anyone can confirm that, I'll do a new thread on that topic. I don't know anything about it, but sounds like it's worth its own thread if its true.

Anonymous said...

I have a quick question I thought someone on this blog might know something about.

We received our APP test results today. Our son missed qualifying by 1% point on the CogAT...his MAP scores qualify him for APP. (Verbal 97 / Quantitative 97/ V-Q Composite 98)

I'm curious if it is possible to file an appeal over that 1% or if it makes more sense to have him privately tested.

Any insights you can give me would be most appreciated!

Thanks.

Fey

Anonymous said...

Fey:
Please read upon your question in the next chapter:
"Helping parents applying to APP"

For my previous experience I think you can not make a successful appeal without the private test scores (in the right field and range).
- Good luck

suep. said...

@Fey,

Unless anyone know differently, my understanding is that the MAP itself is not being used to determine APP eligibility; it's being (mis)used by the district to determine eligibility to take the district's advanced learning test (CogAT).

But it's the CogAT that is used to determine APP eligibility. So those, I believe, are the scores that matter in the end.

(I don't happen to agree with using MAP to screen for AL testing because it has known limitations and fallibilities, especially for ages K-2, when many families first try to determine if their kids need an advanced learning program. Even the MAP test vendor, NWEA, Inc., has acknowledged that MAP is of limited use for advanced learners, as I mentioned on a post on the MAP Opt-Out thread.)

Here's that info again: This e-mail exchange between BV and staff at NWEA shows that even NWEA felt that MAP was limited in its applicability for identifying or testing advanced learners:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44810272/MAP-Use-by-Talented-and-Gifted-Programs

Looking at IBX said...

I am wondering about the IBX program at Ingraham. Does anyone have experience with it?

Did it fill this year? Waitlist?

I have heard that it is a better fit for girls than for boys. Any comments on that?

What is the homework load like for 9th grade?

Anonymous said...

I also am wondering about the IBx program. What do students do in 11th and 12th grade, since they are done with the IB program?

I have heard up to hours/night homework? Is that what others are experiencing?

Anonymous said...

I meant to say, up to 4 hours/night of homework for IBx?

Anonymous said...

What is the advantage of IBX vs IB?

Anonymous said...

Ingraham HS Open Houses:
02/06/13 - 7pm
02/13/13 - 7pm - IB info night
02/20/13 - 7pm - IBX info night
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry our family's reached the point where we're giving it serious thought. -Might move

Forgive me for asking you to rehash, but what's driving you to move? Are you currently in the APP/Spectrum/ALO system and are dissatisfied? As a parent of a newly tested-in kindergartner, I'm wondering what I'm getting into.

Thanks, NW Kindermom

Anonymous said...

What was last week's decision re assignment plan? How does it affect APP North?

Also, we may be pulling child out of private to attend 2nd grade APP next year. I would love to hear the pros and cons of those who have done this.

hschinske said...

So far, knock wood, IBX has been a pretty good fit for our son (now halfway through 9th grade). While there's room for improvement, he's made a very strong start, doing better academically than he ever has, and better than either of his siblings were at this point.

The homework has been reasonable, in my opinion -- more than he would like, of course, but not near four hours a night (apart from the occasional project).

I don't know how much of his success is due to his own increasing maturity (certainly his ability to grind out writing assignments took a major leap this year, though writing is still not his strongest area) and how much is due to good management by teachers, but whatever it is I'll take it.

This is a kid who apart from general smarts didn't seem like the obvious candidate for accelerated IB -- not terribly organized, not as mature a writer as some, more on the math/techy side, etc. I'm really pleased that he seems to be getting the appropriate support to do well, rather than just being thrown off the deep end.

The IB program proper starts in 10th grade for IBX, so they do the work over 10th and 11th grade rather than 11th and 12th. Twelfth grade options include internships and what not.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I would just echo Helen's comments:

My 9th grade son is thoroughly enjoing the IBX program at Ingraham. He ocassionally has 4 hours of homework but usually it is more like 1 or 2.

I believe there were nearly 60 kids this year in IBX. Which worked well for class assignments - most classes are under 30 students (not so unfortunately in the non-IBX 9th grade classes where overcrowding was an issue initially until additional teachers could be hired). I have not heard that there was a waitlist this year, but I have heard there may be concerns about capacity for next year as the APP 8th grade cohort is much larger this year than last.

I found last year's information nights very informative and helpful. The staff is warm and welcoming and you get the feeling that they are excited about their growing IB program.

-Parent of a happy Ram.

RosieReader said...

I'm not an APP parent, but I am an IB parent. In my experience, the first IB year (juniors or IBX sophomores) had an increase in homework, but nowhere near 4 hours a night. This year (senior or IBX junior) there's even more. In addition to regular course load, there's Theory of Knowledge (which actually begins spring of junior/IBX sophomore year. Plus, in the fall the students are finishing their extended essay, then they move onto the big assessments/projects in their other classes. While TOK ends after fall semester senior/IBX junior year, that's followed by other class assessments and projects, and getting ready for the May exams.

So yes, it does get demanding, but these are students who can handle this level of work, and it really prepares them for college.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know what is the maximum score a student can get in MAP?

-map numbers

Anonymous said...

Is Spectrum worth moving for?

My daughter just tested into spectrum, but we are VERY happy with her current school which does not offer that program. We are currently very involved in the school and only live a block away. I would love to hear peoples thoughts on whether moving schools is worth it. Like any parent I want to do what is best, but is taking her away from friends (I know she will make new ones) environment all worth it?

Would love peoples thoughts and experiences.

thanks.

dj said...

Anonymous at 9:00AM, the spectrum programs vary at this point in terms of how they are structured, so you should absolutely ask here, but be aware that the pertinent information will be with respect to the particular spectrum program your child would attend. My two cents, if I were able to use all caps "VERY" happy to describe my feeling about my child's current school, I would probably leave them where they were.

Lori said...

Interesting article in the NY Times about kids, anxiety, neurotransmitters, standardized testing... Long, but a worthwhile read if you have an anxious kid or want to understand why some get paralyzed by stress but others can harness it to succeed.

This part was really interesting to me: re-envisioning acute stress as a positive, as something that will help your brain work better:

The first experiment was at Harvard University with undergraduates who were studying for the Graduate Record Examination. Before taking a practice test, the students read a short note explaining that the study’s purpose was to examine the effects of stress on cognition. Half of the students, however, were also given a statement declaring that recent research suggests “people who feel anxious during a test might actually do better.” Therefore, if the students felt anxious during the practice test, it said, “you shouldn’t feel concerned. . . simply remind yourself that your arousal could be helping you do well.”

Just reading this statement significantly improved students’ performance. They scored 50 points higher in the quantitative section (out of a possible 800) than the control group on the practice test. Remarkable as that seemed, it is relatively easy to get a result in a lab. Would it affect their actual G.R.E. results? A couple of months later, the students turned in their real G.R.E. scores. Jamieson calculated that the group taught to see anxiety as beneficial in the lab experiment scored 65 points higher than the controls.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/magazine/why-can-some-kids-handle-pressure-while-others-fall-apart.html?hp&_r=0

Anonymous said...

Great link, Lori. Thanks!

APP in ALO

Anonymous said...

@thanks,
Spectrum really varies from school to school but does guarantee, I believe, math at one grade level above. Some schools have self-contained Spectrum classes, some have walk-tos for math and/or reading. The walkto programs will take in kids who are not Spectrum identified yet can do the work and thereby avoid the problems of self-contained, kids who perform we'll on only one of the criteria for AL, and the problem of over enrollment in Spectrum classrooms which puts qualified kids on waiting lists while taking general Ed level classes. So you would need to ask what they offer at your Spectrum school. As far as staying put, the key is to keep your child challenged and with other kids who will provide a synergistic environment. Ask if your child will get year ahead math and year ahead reading, if so, I would stay, if not, maybe take it up a notch and contact the AL dept. ALO is supposed to be available at all schools and it may take some pressure to get what your child needs but look for other parents who want increased rigor and those who have identified Spectrum or APP kids and start the conversation with the principal. Unfortunately, you may find resistance, but you will find that many staff who would like to offer the walktos as it can actually make their job easier in that they can focus on math or reading for two or three classes a day and work with groups more closely matched in ability.
Attending your neighborhood school,is a great thing and your child and your family will no doubt enjoy it more than if you have to travel, providing educational needs are met reasonbly well. Good luck.

Wilma

Anonymous said...

Scale Variance by Subject (http://www.nwea.org/support/article/532)

Why do RIT scales vary from subject to subject (e.g. the mathematics RIT scale goes higher than other subject areas)? A ceiling effect exists when an assessment does not have sufficient range to accurately measure students at the highest performance levels. It has nothing to do with the actual numbers attached to the scale and everything to do with the position of students on it. For example, in reading, the RIT scale measures with relative accuracy up to about 245. This represents the 93rd percentile at grade 10, and the 95th percentile at grade 8. If a student scores above we know that student performed high but may not be able to accurately assess how high they performed. Relative to other tests, therefore, there is very little true ceiling effect in this assessment. Even most high performing 10th graders receive a technically accurate measure of their skill.

Couldn't find the score for Math

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to understand the MAP "ceiling effect" issue more. NWEA says there really isn't much of one for the Reading portion, since it measures with relative accuracy up to about RIT 245. My fourth grader, however, is already scoring in the 240s, and my current middle schooler passed 245 in 5th grade. I already felt the MAP wasn't particularly useful to us since most of the growth seen wasn't attributed to what they were learning in class--but with this "245" issue is NWEA essentially saying all those many years of testing are a waste of time for us? And I'm still not clear why that's not a ceiling effect? If anyone can explain that better, I'd greatly appreciate it!

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

They are saying there isn't much of a ceiling effect because around 95% of the 8th grade scores and 93% of the 10th grade scores will be in the 245 and under range. Most students tested won't hit the ceiling.

245...represents the 93rd percentile at grade 10, and the 95th percentile at grade 8

If your student is in APP, they'll likely hit the reading test ceiling at the end of elementary or the beginning of middle school. For math, there is a broader and more sequential set of skills to be tested.

Anonymous said...

So if there is no ceiling, does it mean that a student could score 500 points?

My kid is in Spectrum and many of the students in the class are scoring 240+ in Reading and 250+ in Math, so you don't even need to be in APP to get those scores...

Anonymous said...

ps My kid is in fifth grade Spectrum

Anonymous said...

The ceiling of the reading test is 245, according to NWEA. That means scores above 245 are no more meaningful than scores at 245. I'm not sure how high the RIT scale goes for reading or math, but I'm pretty sure it's nowhere near 500. What we saw for our kids reading scores is that they just leveled out. Then we started opting out.

Anonymous said...

For spring, a reading RIT score of 245 is considered 97th percentile for 6th grade and a score of 240 is 97 percentile for 5th grade (2011 norms). I don't doubt Spectrum students are hitting the ceiling of the test as well. I'm not sure how you know the scores of other students in the class, however.

Anonymous said...

Kids talk, parents talk, particularly when scores are used to determine the Math level your child will be. I have no problem sharing my kid's scores.

JB said...

Highest RIT scores on NWEAs conversion chart are 266 for reading and 286 for math. For the data nerds among us, here's some linky goodness: http://www.nwea.org/sites/www.nwea.org/files/resources/NWEA_2011_RIT_Scale_Norms.pdf

Anonymous said...

I imagine most, if not all, APP middle school students have maxed out on MAP, so why subject them to the lost class time of continued testing? Are they just there for use in NWEA's norming?

HIMSmom

hschinske said...

The other thing to consider is that there are different levels of the MAP (MAP for Primary Grades, 3-5, and 6+). If even APP students aren't being exposed to the one for 6th grade and up before 6th grade (I don't know whether this is true, but I wouldn't be surprised), then a ceiling score on the lower-level test isn't nearly as meaningful.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

There's a discussion of what the top possible score could be (and why there may not be a set answer of what it is) at http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2010/10/map-is-definitely-being-used-as-barrier.html

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Is Spectrum worth moving for?

I would say No. You are happy, she happy and you get to walk to school. I would not trade those things for Spectrum. APP maybe, but not Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

dw is articulating my thoughts exactly as usual over at the SSS blog, re: the cost & growth of APP, entrance requirements, and the state of AL. Thanks dw for taking the time.

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=2343643692938700814

Nother mom

Anonymous said...

This is a totally honest question because I really want to understand and am feeling ignorant!

Why is MAP a bad "gatekeeper" for AL? I understand that it was "not designed for that purpose", but what does that mean?

Is it the variability? Anecdotally I feel like APP elem. kids get pretty consistent, very high scores. Is it that high scores aren't always reflecting high ability?

__wants to understand so I can explain it to my husband!

Anonymous said...

To phrase it better: How specifically does MAP differ from an achievement test that SHOULD be used to determine AL eligibility?

Thanks!
_wanting to understand

Anonymous said...

Is there any information available re: number of students in the WMS APP program? And if each grade has a fairly consistent number of students? Any info re math at WMS APP? My sixth grade son is a mathy guy and is currently in Geometry. Will they be able to provide Alg 2 at WMS or are we going to be doing math at home? Would it be tough to be a new 7th grader there? These are questions my son (and I) are eager to hear about, but can't find info on.

We are going on the WMS tour in a few weeks, but it does not look like it is geared to APP. Thanks for any info or suggestions on where to find information.

New to APP

Anonymous said...

Math assignment at WMS (and all middle schools) is not programmatic. So a math class can be a mix of spectrum, APP, and older gen Ed kids - based on ability/test scores. Kids got assigned to 6th grade math based on map test scores. Most 6th grade APP kids at WMS were placed 2years ahead; some were placed 3 years ahead in algebra 1. Current 7th graders from APP did not have that option so most are in Algebra 1 this year. So for your strong math kid who is going into 8th, I believe that there is no WMS math next year that will be 3 years ahead. Current 6th graders, by contrast, will have that option for top math students. Of course, this is SPS, so it could all change. I suggest contacting Jon Halfaker (principal) about options for your child.
- APP parent

Anonymous said...

The MAP test was specifically designed to find out what your child does NOT know.

Reports were created to inform the teacher on weaknesses that needed shoring up rather than strengths.

Functionally the test is designed to find weakness rather than strength. Using it in any other fashion has no internal validity from an assessment point of view. It would be like a teacher giving a diagnostic essay to find out what their students have yet to learn and then using it for their final grade without having taught the intervening material.

-Helpful

Anonymous said...

That makes a lot of sense, Helpful. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

The MAPS test is also designed to help teachers create level groups and appply differentiated learning.

From the website:
Teachers use MAP data to differentiate instruction, create flexible groupings of students and inform intervention strategies.

Of course we know in SPS that grouping by level is generally thought of as a bad thing. So MAPS is probably NOT being used for this intended purpose.

It is a tad ironic.

Anonymous said...

New to APP,

It can be tough to be a new 7th grader at WMS because most of the APP kids have been together since elementary school. There is also very little time to get to know each other and socialize. Couple that with the fact that the kids all live in different neighborhoods; so, it's downright tough to make friends.

As for math, if your kid is mathy, you're still going to need to do supplementing at home. Even if they have the class in place by the time he gets there, the classes just aren't hard enough or fast enough for the mathy kid.

-- moved to WMS last year

Anonymous said...

This is a bit sensitive but what do kids in APP typically score on the MAP test? I've always assumed they're mostly 99% percentile but am now kind of curious if anyone was willing to share date anonymously.

Curious

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when they first started administering MAP, the district compiled some of the data and they had it broken out by grade and APP. I don't think the average or median (can't remember which was reported) was 99%. It may have been closer to 95% for some grades.

Anonymous said...

My APP student scores 98-99% in Math; reading is all over the place. So, for math can't really see growth and reading have no clue what those scores mean - making progress, losing progress, making progress.....


We are done with the test.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter. Lots of non-APP kids get 99 and APP kids don't always. Maybe at a school-level the data could be informative but...not sure for this population. My child gets 99 every time and his teacher said it means nothing in terms of how or what she's teaching. It's a flawed test.

Anonymous said...

I think my 3rd grader is on the lower end of APP: 90-95 for reading; 89-97 for math. He's one of those bright kids who happened to test in.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:55, are you being sarcastic?

Anonymous said...

No, just being honest.

Meg said...

after missing over 4 months of school due to illness, my daughter scored higher on her post-illness math MAP than her pre-illness MAP. With, seriously, pretty much no school attendance in between the two. I'd been skeptical of MAP as a tool to assess student progress even before that (and even more skeptical of using the test to assess teacher performance), but that kind of sealed the deal for me.

I am willing to believe that for some kids it does catch issues that other tests might not, but I think for APP kids it seems to be pretty useless.

Anonymous said...

Curious, I have two, one of whom is kind of at the top of the class when they get grouped, one feels about the middle, above average in math, below in writing.

They are both 99's most of the time, with the one in the middle getting like a 98 or 96 a year on the reading section. So far never below 95, but each individual score does seem pretty random (though the ranges they each score in do not, if that makes sense. The higher one is consistently really really high, and the middle one is consistently pretty high but not incredibly high.)

Anonymous said...

Anyone know when winter MAP scores will be up on the Source (or how long it takes for them to appear). Our school finished testing last friday.

Impatient

Anonymous said...

I have confidence in the math test b/c it tests math skills which are kind of universal. The reading test includes questions that need to be taught, such as identifying types of poetry, what type of advertisement is this (i.e. if kid has to be taught how to identify certain ad techniques by name). My kid is 99% on WISC, CoGat and ISEE, but has not budged in her RIT score for reading in about 2 years. (Still at about 98% tho). I think the reading test is not well aligned to the curriculum she's had thus far. Or if she's going to get those things, they are still ahead so her RIT will remain parked until she gets some instruction on those items.

Anonymous said...

We have a similar experience to Anon at 5:47. So you're left to interpret stagnant scores to either mean your child isn't learning anything at all at school, or that the test is flawed.

We opt out.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Impatient,
I've heard that the school, or at least principals, have access to MAP scores within a few working days.
SPS parent

1st grade parent said...

Just out of curiosity, where did the MAP growth stagnate? I have a 1st grader with a reading RIT in the mid 220s and was wondering if we should expect to see much improvement in scores.

Anonymous said...

You can ask your child to remember the number that shows up at the end of the test and then look up the RIT/percentile the same day.

dw said...

dw is articulating my thoughts exactly as usual over at the SSS blog, re: the cost & growth of APP, entrance requirements, and the state of AL. Thanks dw for taking the time.

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=2343643692938700814


Thanks Nother Mom. It does take a lot of effort to articulate these ideas, and it often feels like a waste of time, so it's nice to hear that at least someone appreciates it.

Now let's see if I can get past the captcha here.

dw said...

Made it past the captcha, so I'll try another.

map numbers said: Does anybody know what is the maximum score a student can get in MAP?

There may be a theoretical maximum, but no one is going to see it. As kids rise to (and through) the hardest questions, the test eventually runs out of more difficult questions to adjust upwards. Rather than stopping at that point and telling the kids "Great Job, You Won!", it continues to give the hardest questions it has available, which are actually easier (designated lower RIT scores). So the "maximum" score a kid can get depends on the timing of when this happens during a given test cycle.

If that doesn't make sense, don't worry about it. Just understand that there really isn't a maximum in the way most people would think about it.

and HIMSmom said: I imagine most, if not all, APP middle school students have maxed out on MAP, so why subject them to the lost class time of continued testing? Are they just there for use in NWEA's norming?

This is not true. Few kids, even in APP, max out in middle school, at least in math. Reading is a completely different beast, by its very nature. As some anonymous person at 5:47pm above said: "The reading test includes questions that need to be taught, such as identifying types of poetry, what type of advertisement is this (i.e. if kid has to be taught how to identify certain ad techniques by name)." Unlike math, the material is not sequential, and does not lead itself to be measured the same way. The scale is very different as well.

That said however, what does happen is that as the math scores get into the 270s/280s the standard error starts rising significantly, and continues to do so all the way up. The reliability gets really bad. That's what teachers are talking about when they say the error rate is higher than the expected yearly growth (although I don't believe that's true for kids in the "normal" achievement bands). Reading numbers are about 40-ish points lower than math, but because the material is so different in nature, it's difficult to make direct comparisons.

Maureen said...

Has anyone seen a plot of standard error vs. score level for MAP? Maybe by grade/age of child? It seems to me that the s.e. could be huge for the Reading exams given the non sequential nature of the subject and how few questions are asked. And wouldn't the lack of motivation for older kids cause an increase in the measured s.e.?

dw said...

Maureen, JoanNE had some nice charts a couple years ago that I think were posted on scribd. I believe there were links posted either here or on the SSS blog. Really good stuff.

I can't go digging right now, but hopefully that gets you started. Please post a link here if you find it, as it's relevant to the GHS protest and I'm sure others would find it interesting as well.

dw said...

Maureen, JoanNE had some charts that I think she posted on scribd a couple years ago. Really good stuff. I believe there were links either here or on the SSS blog.

Sorry, can't go digging right now, but hopefully that gets you head start. If you find them, please post a link, as it's relevant to the GHS protest, and I'm sure a lot of people would find it interesting.

(this post failed, trying again)

Anonymous said...

The margin of error for an individual test is rather large. But when you combine it for a classroom of kids, it is much smaller. That is, you need to look at a number of tests for your child to get a handle on his performance on the test, and you will likely see outliers. A teacher looking at an entire class's scores should get a reliable read on that class's performance on the test.

suep. said...

Re: Reading: dw said...(...) Unlike math, the material is not sequential...

Unless I'm misunderstanding something, I don't think I agree here. There is an appropriate sequence for teaching and learning reading, writing and comprehension. That's why there have been legitimate complaints about MAP asking kids inappropriate questions -- on materials they should not be expected to know yet, like asking young elementary schoolers about symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" (a high school book), or high school freshmen about "enjambment," a poetic term they haven't yet studied.

How is that any different from testing a kid on geometry when they have only studied algebra?

As for kids maxing out on the MAP test, I was told by SPS test administrators that, yes, that can happen. How else do you describe it when kids consistently are in the 97-99 percentiles on MAP -- and then their teachers are told to somehow 'raise these scores,' but there's nowhere for them to go?

Anonymous said...

Percentiles are age (grade) based so my daughter who got 240+ since second grade went from 99% to 96 as she progressed through grades.

Anonymous said...

or i should say (from above) 240-250

Maureen said...

I have seen JoanNE's plot (will look for it again), but I don't remember it being broken down by age/grade.

Anonymous at 10:57 said:
The margin of error for an individual test is rather large. But when you combine it for a classroom of kids, it is much smaller. That is, you need to look at a number of tests for your child to get a handle on his performance on the test, and you will likely see outliers. A teacher looking at an entire class's scores should get a reliable read on that class's performance on the test.

I don't think we are talking about the same thing. I'm talking about the standard error for the test as measured on the entire population. If I remember correctly, the s.e. for an individual test would be undefined (you would be dividing by n-1=0 because n=1). You use the phrase "margin of error." Do you mean something specific by that or are you just saying that if you look at a bunch of exams from one class or one kid over time and throw out the ones you think are outliers for some reason that the rest of the exams can tell you something meaningful?

Anonymous said...

Greg, since high school tours have started, can we please have a thread about our HS options: Garfield vs Ingraham (AP versus IBX)
Thanks so much.
HIMS mom

Greg Linden said...

No problem, new thread created.

Anonymous said...

@dw, you said few kids, even in APP, max out in middle school, at least in math.

Can you please clarify this? In looking at the 2011 RIT norms, it looks to me like a spring 6th grade math scores of 245 is only about 89% percentile. Given that APP eligibility is partially based on high APP scores (at least initially), and given that these kids are working ahead of most other 6th graders, why wouldn't most be scoring at least at this level? I know there are a lot of factors that go into MAP scores, but even at fall of 6th grade--middle school entry--it looks like 95% percentile for 6th grade puts them at 245, the level above which math scores are less reliable.

I'm just having trouble understanding the value of math MAP testing for APP middle school... Any further clarifications/explanations are much-appreciated.

Thanks,
HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

The APP @ Lincoln Thursday Note had a principal's update that said the school is projected to grow by one classroom next year. Considering the school added close to 100 students this year, does this indicate that there may be a cap on the number of successful appeals?

dw said...

@HIMmom

Not sure what you're asking to clarify, since your comment doesn't contradict anything I wrote, i.e. Very few kids max out (exhaust the entire bank of highest questions) on the math portion in middle school.

But yes, many APP middle schoolers do score in the upper range of the test, where accuracy is less reliable (though I'd suggest that the math portion is reasonably accurate past 245 in math, maybe up to 260 or 270, but I'm only going from memory, not looking at JoanNE's standard error charts). There's no contradiction, as maxing out is very different from entering the less accurate range of the test.

As for your overall assessment, I'm not sure the test is actually very helpful for many APP middle school students. But I do think the math portion probably does still provide somewhat helpful data throughout middle school for most kids that are not working multiple grade levels ahead.

The reading portion is much harder to get a grasp on than math, which brings me to the next comment...

dw said...

@suep

Sue, you can't compare the very highly sequential nature of math with the various skills associated with reading. Of course there are some aspects of reading that are somewhat sequential, but whether a curriculum or individual teacher decides to teach the different styles/structures of poetry before or after diagramming sentences, before or after symbolism or any other broad topic is fairly arbitrary.

The earliest stages of reading (letter recognition, phonemic awareness, decoding skills) are more naturally sequential, but the later topics are not. Math, on the other hand, is mostly sequential (other than a few bits, like exactly where geometry falls in), at least through Calculus. College level math becomes a bit less sequential, but we're not talking about that here.

In general, the expected order of what is taught in math is pretty much all laid out, unlike reading. This makes an adaptive test like MAP more appropriate for math than reading if the goal is constant growth.

To hammer this home, consider social studies, which is highly non-sequential in nature. Imagine if the MAP folks decided to make a nationally-normed test on social studies that had some kind of internal interpretation of sequence. If they expected all kids to study Egypt in 2nd grade, but your school or district didn't cover Egypt until 4th grade, your kids would be screwed on the assessment until they reached 4th grade. Of course they would (hopefully) get a much more rich and thorough understanding of Egypt's history in 4th grade simply because they are more mature and capable at that age. Many of the broad lessons that social studies is supposed to teach are much more easily understood in the context of certain societies, so the whole thing would be crazy to try to assess in a sequential way.

Reading falls somewhere between math and social studies as far as being sequential. I think there's probably some meaningful data to be found with the reading portion of MAP, but far less than in the math portion.

As for kids maxing out on the MAP test, I was told by SPS test administrators that, yes, that can happen. How else do you describe it when kids consistently are in the 97-99 percentiles on MAP -- and then their teachers are told to somehow 'raise these scores,' but there's nowhere for them to go?

Just because a student is in the 97-99th percentile, that doesn't mean they've maxed out the test. Remember, a 1st grader working at the 4th grade level is probably at the 99th percentile for his age group, and yet he hasn't even begun to max anything out, and has tons of room for growth. APP parents should be happy for the expectation that kids like that should still be expecting growth. In many classrooms around the district those kids are completely ignored because they are already "doing just fine".

You just need to use RIT, not percentiles. When the district uses percentiles to grade teachers, they are not only misusing (abusing IMO) the results, but they're incorrectly interpreting them.

Don't get me wrong, none of this excuses the misuse of MAP results in Seattle, and the loss of several weeks of library time, etc. I've written opt-out notes for my kids. I just wish that more people understood how these tests work, and how they are and are not useful. It makes for more effective arguments.

hschinske said...

As far as I can make out, getting all the questions you're presented with correct could get you various RIT scores depending on what questions you're randomly presented with for the last few. If you happen to get a really hard question and get it right, you'll get a higher RIT score than someone who by chance got only moderately hard questions at the end. MAP is supposed to zero in on the level where the student is getting about half the questions right (which shows the level where you know enough to put things into context, but can benefit from much more instruction), but if you're too close to the top, of course they can't do that.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Oh, and I haven't been able to find any evidence that MAP math contains anything beyond algebra and geometry. That's on the higher-level test -- dunno whether the one used in elementary ever gets into algebra or not.

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

Anonymous said...
The APP @ Lincoln Thursday Note had a principal's update that said the school is projected to grow by one classroom next year. Considering the school added close to 100 students this year, does this indicate that there may be a cap on the number of successful appeals?


No, I don't think that's what it means. I think the district has NO money whatsoever, so they are intentionally underestimating enrollment at certain schools so that those school don't go out a hire new teachers for the fall.

Fortunately, because people have to choose APP during open enrollment, they will have a better estimate of fall numbers later this spring. Theoretically, they'll revise budgets and free up money to hire teachers before September, although in past years, sometimes the schools are only given permission to hire in August.

Based on what happened this year when they tried to pull 1.5 FTE teaching staff from Lincoln even though the school exceeded its projected enrollment, I suspect they are being extremely conservative this year.

Anonymous said...

Lori -- People do not have to choose APP during open enrollment any more. The policy changed last year. You won't know numbers until school starts. Projections are just an estimate like last year.
-- enrollment watcher

Lynn said...

Anonymous @ 6:59

You can find the enrollment projections by school on the district's enrollment data page.

Maureen said...

Based on what happened this year when they tried to pull 1.5 FTE teaching staff from Lincoln even though the school exceeded its projected enrollment,

What did end up happening? I was following all of the complaints, but never really heard if the teachers were retained? I heard a rumor that SNAPP families raised enough money (how many tens of thousands? I don't know) in one month to pay for the teachers, but that seems crazy, even for uber involved APP families. (very roughly estimating, even for just 1.5 teachers, it seems like they would have had to raise something like $300 for every kid enrolled and most of those kids wouldn't be in the affected classrooms, so I don't see how that would be possible.)

If SNAPP did pay for them, it seems like that gives SPS even more of an incentive to over estimate and threaten to reduce staff (not that I think they really have it together enough to do that.)

dw said...

@Helen,

That's correct, there's a lot of, for lack of a better term, randomness at the very top of the MAP. Two kids could get all 52 questions correct, including all the hardest questions, and their scores would differ, depending on where exactly they started. Some time back you were suggesting that the MAP administrators should know exactly what the highest possible MAP score could be, but I think at this point you can see why that's not easy. Perhaps there is a theoretical maximum, but the sequence that a student would have to go through to get it would be akin to winning the lottery. I really doubt anyone at NWEA knows, nor should they care, given the way the test is structured. Plus, there are "experimental" questions mixed into the tests that don't count for or against the student, but are used to determine RIT scores for each question before they're actually used. Since new questions are being added and old ones are being fixed and deleted all the time, any possible maximum would change all the time as well. It's just not a number anyone should care about.

On the math side it's relatively easy to understand how maxing out works (though it's opaque for each individual student). But with the reading section, one can imagine that even though the algorithms may be the same, the less sequential nature of the material, along with the way RIT scores are determined (empirically) makes it difficult to even comprehend what happens at the top end of that test.

Kind of back to the above conversation with suep, any question can be assigned an empirical RIT score, regardless of the lack of any sequential knowledge required, but it doesn't mean it's meaningful. For example, I could add a question "What is Barack Obama's middle name?" to the reading test, and based on which kids got it right or wrong, and what those kids' final RIT scores were in the different sections, I could use some fancy algorithms to assign RIT #s to this question in each strand, or potentially throw it out if some error factors were too high. So we could end up assigning that question a RIT value that makes it appear to be in a particular sequence, but it's really not.

As for questions beyond Algebra and Geo, yes there are questions that go into Algebra II and a bit beyond, but not many. There are, however, at least a few very interesting, challenging questions in the high banks. If your MAP administrator allows it, you should give it a try.

Lori said...

I don't see that enrollment change on the web site, although that doesn't mean it's not true! Any idea where we can confirm enrollment watcher's statement? Or maybe you can enroll any time, but placement is only guaranteed during open enrollment.

Here's what it still says on the district web site: Newly-eligible APP students who enroll on-time (during Open Enrollment) are guaranteed an assignment. Assignments for students who apply after Open Enrollment are based on space availability. APP students may apply for available seats at either site but preference is given to those within the region.

hschinske said...

In saying "algebra and geometry" I was counting algebra 2 as well -- are you saying there aren't even that many questions from algebra 2?

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Lori - this year enrollment asked people to enroll on time, but people who enrolled in APP late were allowed in to the program per district policy. If your APP assignment school is thurgood, you are guaranteed an in at that school even if classes get over-filled and you sign up late. There is no space limitation if it is your assignment school. If you are looking to go outside of your assignment school, they may exclude you based on space. they are no longer excluding you from the program altogether if you miss the deadline. The same is true for late enrollment to your neighborhood school. That is how they interpreted that written policy this year.
-enrollment watcher.

Anonymous said...

The reading MAP does have a stated ceiling - a RIT of 245. A student can score higher than this, but it does not mean anything more than a score of 245. You can report that a student scored high, but not that moving from 245 to 250 is meaningful growth. Some elementary students are hitting this ceiling.

Lori said...

enrollment watcher, I know a family who applied for APP at Lincoln (which would be their assigned school based on address) AFTER open enrollment last year, and they were wait-listed. They eventually got in, but only as space allowed.

I don't mean to be debating this point back and forth with you, but I think it's important for anyone out there who's deciding right now to seek clarification on their own.

Maybe TM has more space so it's less of an issue? But I don't think anyone who misses open enrollment should assume they'll get into Lincoln if they later change their mind.

kellie said...

I think Lori is correct. You are guaranteed your "attendance" area school, not a program assignment.

hschinske said...

Elementary students take a different test, so a 245 on that does NOT necessarily mean the same thing as one on the test for 6+. (Ideally APP students would be taking the 6+ test earlier than sixth grade, but I haven't heard whether that's happening.)

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Previous discussion of maximum RIT score on MAP was here: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2010/10/map-is-definitely-being-used-as-barrier.html

Helen Schinske

dw said...

Helen, I'm not sure how many Alg2 questions there are, but at least when my kid was taking it, there was essentially nothing above Alg2. There were only a couple log problems, and nothing above that. For most kids around the city, that's not a issue in middle school, but in APP we should expect to have a handful each year.

Remember though, they add and remove questions all the time, so for all we know they could have added 1,000 trig or pre-calc questions last week and we wouldn't have any way to know.

@anon at 3:26 PM

"Ceiling" implies a hard limit, and no, 245 is not a hard limit, there's nothing magic about that number. The tests are simply less reliable as scores get farther away from the norms. I've seen strand numbers on the reading test reach up into the 280s, but the error bands can be 25-30 points. It's a matter of interpretation as to what that means. Frankly, I think kids are probably topping out the reading section as well, but because of the nature of the questions it would be very difficult to know with certainty.

Also, as Helen said, be careful that you're comparing scores from the same tests, as there are different versions.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if 5th graders exceeding 250 on the MAP were allowed into Algebra at either Eckstein or Jane Addams this year? If so, did many families take advantage of this opportunity?

Thanks,
APP in ALO

flud said...

I got the impresson that JAK8 students walked to Hale if they needed math placement higher than 8th grade. There is currently a cohort of 7th graders taking 8th grade (Spectrum level) math, so hopefully they would have an Algebra 1 class in place for next year. That would mean qualified 6th graders would be in class primarily with 8th graders, then walk to Hale for 7th and 8th grade. That only works while JAK8 is situated across from Hale.

If your child is working beyond Spectrum level, you should clarify with the principal that 3 years of math will be available at whatever school you choose. You could get into the situation where an online or offsite class is needed since nothing is offered at your chosen school.

There still is not an Algebra II class at HIMS, home of APP. Supposedly there will be once this year's 6th grade cohort gets to 8th grade.

On the fence for next year said...

We have a child who started in APP this year at Lincoln. We are debating whether this was a good choice and if APP @ Lincoln is an appropriate fit. Our neighborhood school does a great job accommodating advanced learners -- we moved largely for the cohort. Do we have to make a final decision re: returning to Lincoln vs. returning to our neighborhood school in the fall by March 8th or can we complete the school year and then decide? I’m concerned if we make a decision now, it may not be the correct decision. Thanks for any insight.

just curious said...

On the fence - may I ask which neighborhood school you'd be returning to?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when parents typically receive notification of the results of an appeal? Is it typically before open enrollment ends?

Also is it advisable to make sure the AL office received one's appeal?

Anonymous said...

After. Enroll as if your appeal was successful.