Thursday, February 13, 2014

Appeals for APP eligibility

By request, a thread to discuss appeals for entry into APP. Let's make this a broad discussion, so let's cover whether it's a good idea to appeal as well as Q&A about the appeals process.

85 comments:

Greg Linden said...

There is also an old discussion from Feb 2011 that might be worth a look, "Q&A on APP eligibility appeals".

Anonymous said...

Over on the other thread, Lynn said...I have never heard of anyone getting in without the test scores. I did have a successful appeal just sending in private scores with a "please consider these" letter.

If this is true, why don't they just say you need x score and leave it at that. The website says "Scores are general break points and not absolute qualifiers or disqualifiers." Is this just a lie? Do you need both cognitive and MAP scores to be qualifying in order to have a successful appeal?Also, if it's all about test scores, then why list teacher input and classwork as examples of materials that can be used to support an appeal? If scores are dispositive, they are inviting quite a lot of meritless appeals and wasting not only their time but that of many teachers who are asked to write recommendations to support appeals.

-AL Confused

Anonymous said...

AL Confused -
My question exactly! Has anyone ever had a successful appeal based on teacher recommendation and/or student work without additional test results? Is it listed as a possibility just to make it appear they look at your child as a unique individual? Posters on this blog always say it's all about the private scores - is that anecdotal or actual knowledge? I appreciate both - just want to know which is which! Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of an official policy requiring additional results, but think of it this way: the AL office could receive hundreds of appeals. Considering the delays in getting out letters this year and the even tighter deadlines, what are the odds they'll take the time to consider evidence such as recommendations and student work? If it were me, and if APP admittance next year was important, I wouldn't leave it to chance. I'd get the additional testing.
--Been there

Anonymous said...

In my mind, the question is not whether to get additional testing if you can afford it. If you test privately and get qualifying scores, wouldn't that be pretty much a slam dunk appeal? The question for me is whether you still have any shot on appeal if the additional testing doesn't meet the cutoffs. I'm not even sure what the cutoffs are for the GAI and WISC-IV used in private testing. Is it the same 98% as CogAT? We have MAP tests at 99% in both categories but did not qualify for APP with the CogAT. Results of private testing pending. Informal report by tester indicated GAI would be no problem but WISC-IV would be close.

--AL Confused

Anonymous said...

If your student doesn't meet the cut off on multiple measures, or only meets the cut off on the unreliable MAP test and nothing else, perhaps your student should not be in APP. Isn't that what test scores are for?
Try again next year? I don't understand the gray area.

Anonymous said...

AL Confused,

Your child will qualify if GAI is 98th percentile. (My child with FSIQ 95% and GAI 98% qualified on appeal.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon@3:43. That's very helpful.

Anon@3:42, do you really think there is some magical difference between kids that get 98% and kids that get 97% on these tests? We have no doubt that our child would be successful in APP and that's where our child wants to be. These tests are not the equivalent of the Hogwarts sorting hat. They cannot get into a child's head and determine with absolute certainty whether someone belongs in APP or not. Why do you begrudge parents pursuing the appeals process? The Advanced Learning Department created the "gray area" as you call it, not us. No one can force a child into APP so if an appeal is successful, presumably the Advanced Learning Department has decided the child can succeed in APP.

-AL Confused

Anonymous said...

From an email received from Advanced Learning this week regarding qualifying for APP:

"On a WISC IV, which is what most psychologists use, Full Scale IQ or CAI score would have to be at or above the 98th percentile."

Anonymous said...

To AL Confused: I don't begrudge you the appeals process at all. We appealed last year and were successful. I think the reality is that, even during the appeals process, the AL office uses test results to sort the kids--and that leaves many kids who could and would be successful out of APP.
--Been there

Anonymous said...

Interested in the quote from advanced learning re private test results. Is "CAI" a typo referring to "GAI" or is there another test that goes by "CAI?"

Anonymous said...

For anyone curious, private testing cost us $540 for cognitive testing only. Not cheap at all but a bargain compared to private school tuition.

Tim Flanagan said...

Has anyone else received apparently-inverted percentile results?

Our 8th grader regularly scores in the upper 90s on standardized test percentile rankings, but her results arrived yesterday with astonishing CogAT percentiles:
Such as the 1 ("one", not a typo) she got on the Verbal test and the 3 ("three") she got on the Quantitative test. Those scores seem improbable for this straight-A private-school kid, even on a bad day.

It occurred to me that the scores could have been "reversed" or "inverted":
[reported score] = 100 - [actual score]
But we've confirmed that one of her classmates received plausible right-side-up percentile results, and a calculation error that only affects one student's score seems pretty unlikely.

So I'm wondering if anybody else received scores that are plausible mirror-images of the scores you would reasonably have anticipated for your student?

Thanks!
Tim Flanagan

Anonymous said...

Probably an error. Contact the AL office and let them know.

Anonymous said...

Yes - someone on this site got scores like that last year and they contacted the AL office and found out that her test had been misscored.

TM mom said...

The short answer is that if your child meets the required scores with public or private testing, they are admitted to APP. I don't know if there is flexibility if they don't.

Joe Booth said...

Has the been any clarity on extending the deadline for appeals?

The SPS site says their 'aim' to give 10 days for appeal and we are now in that window so I wondered if they have been specifying an extended appeal deadline in the letters that have been received in the past few days?

Both my kids have recently being through extensive testing for dyslexia including IQ - they both score in the 98%+ and their fall MAP scores are in the 95%+ per the rubric - so we should be good on appeal.

But, we are away next week so I'm trying to figure out if i need to just send in an appeal or if I will get extra time

-- frustrated

Anonymous said...

I still have not received a letter either, but my understanding from the AL Dept is that they will extend the deadline "as needed" up to 10 days but that the open enrollment deadline will not change and they make no promises about how long it will take to notify you of the appeal decision. So if you want to know before open enrollment ends, its best to appeal ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I would probably just go ahead and file appeals for both kids pre-emptively. All you need is a cover letter (and I'd mention that you haven't gotten your district results yet), then copies of the IQ tests and copies of the MAP results (and I've heard that in past years, the AL office didn't have access to MAP data, so, yes, I would include a copy of those results and not assume they'll look them up themselves. Make it as easy as possible on them).

As long as both kids' results meet all criteria, I don't think you need to also include teacher letters, copies of work, etc. Just send the scores.

--take no chances

Tim Flanagan said...

Thanks, folks.
Followup: We just got a call from the AdvLearn office; indeed, the CogAT scores were not calculated properly.

Anonymous said...

I'm just stunned you actually got a call...

- Still waiting for a letter...

Anonymous said...

We're still waiting for one of our two letters as well. I was putting off emailing AL because I know they're behind, but I just couldn't take the wait any longer! Hopefully I'll hear back soon.

Anyone have any idea on how many letters still need to go out?

Anonymous said...

We're still waiting on a letter too. I think they've stopped answering emails. I got a next day response last week. This week, I haven't received a response for days. I think the whole department took off early for mid-winter break and just plans to deal with this fiasco when they get back.

--Maybe tomorrow

Anonymous said...

" I think the whole department took off early for mid-winter break and just plans to deal with this fiasco when they get back."

Wow just wow. I understand the frustration but that remark is so disrespectful and insults the intelligence and hard work of everyone in that office. They are human beings. And guess what -they work well into the evening,most weekends -including this one, and will work next week.

Older parent

Anonymous said...

Older parent, first of all, get a sense of humor. Second, families have no way of knowing what is going on in the AL department because the communication from that department has been non-existent. If AL wants blog posts to be more respectful (and I doubt they care what anonymous folks on blogs are saying), then they should earn that respect by responding to requests for information and explaining why eligibility decisions have not been made/mailed in a timely fashion. If they really are working crazy hours and some unforeseen problem is causing these delays, TELL US so that we can understand what's going on and cut them some slack. Perhaps someone in charge has made the poor decision to keep parents in the dark. I just don't know, and I doubt you do.

I'm sure their are well-intentioned, hard-working people in the AL Department, and if my joke hurt them in some way, I apologize. It was merely a reflection of my exasperation at this whole situation. The Department's handling of eligibility decisions this year is an embarrassment and should not be tolerated. No one in power at SPS seems to care, so we are left to vent on blogs and make jokes.

--Maybe tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Oops, "there" not "their"

Anonymous said...

Sorry, older parent, but I'm with maybe tomorrow on this one. I started out with tons of respect for the AL Dept., and they have basically flushed that down the drain. For families that can't afford to shell out $500-$1000 at the drop of a hat, the idea that we should be preemptively scheduling evals "just in case" is FAR more disrespectful. (yes, I know free/reduced lunch folks get free appeals, I'm talking about those of us in the working middle class paycheck to paycheck reality, who make too much for FRL but don't have spare cash lying around... ). My child took the CogAt 2+ months ago, even if they can't give me a verdict on his final eligibility, they could AT LEAST answer my very polite email asking for clarification about the WJ Test. The idea that it is now less than a week before appeals are due, and I still have no idea how my kid did, is an utter failure on the part of SPS, and their complete refusal to COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY is just so typical of SPS that I'm not wasting an energy on the thought that they might somehow be offended by our legitimate frustration.

Anonymous said...

As of May 2013, there were exactly 4 free and reduced lunch students at Lowell at Lincoln, out of 520 kids. Numbers available at the OSPI School Report Card website. I don't think the AL office is flooded with appeal requests from FRL families challenging the results of district testing. For what it is worth, there is one (1) child in the school listed as African American.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln is not as diverse in terms of race and ethnicity as would be beneficial for everyone, no doubt, but these numbers underestimate its diversity. I know directly more than one African American student attending the school as well as multiple Latino/Latina, mixed race/ethnicity students, and students from recent immigrant families. The numbers are not large, but they are larger than the data reported by Anon at 10:57pm reports. The situation is better at TM, surely in part because of its geographic location in relation to neighborhoods with higher densities of these populations.

(And for what it is worth, Lincoln is more diverse than the neighborhood school from which we came… but I admit this is just another indicator of the situation I take Anon to be pointing out)

--- Lincoln parent of 3rd grader

Anonymous said...

This is a dumb question on logistics. Isn't the district closed next week? So how do we get them our appeals by the deadline? I was going to mail my appeal today, but is that the right thing to do?

Hoping for Good News said...

Still no Cogat results today 2/15/14. I am disappointed and yet shouldn't be surprised after a few weeks of no news, ha! If we need to appeal for entrance to APP it occurs to me that it will be problematic to get teacher letters as we're on break until 2/24. Also, if we don't receive a letter this week - are AL staff on break!? - then incredibly unlikely to receive appeal results by 3/7 open enrollment close.

My now 1st grader kid's scores in K were all high enough for APP except for the WJ verbal/reading. He's now reading fine and his spring K MAP score was 98 in verbal/reading. My question is, if for some reason his 1st grade Cogat isn't the 98/99 it was in K, is there strong likelihood of a successful appeal based on K Cogat and spring K MAP of 98/99? We opted out of this fall's MAP as it was a big mess at our school and he was burned out testing twice with two teachers to qualify for 3rd grade math.

Any thoughts?

I realize after visiting Lincoln and attending the Math Night that I think it could be an amazing fit for him. I will be sad if it's not an option as I think he would be much better served there than his current school which is ALO but without much structure or rigor in many ways.

Also, I'm reluctant to pursue yet more testing. I'm not a big fan of testing in general and am concerned that it can be stressful for him. I hope that teacher letters and student work samples could be enough. Any recommendations? Is it enough to supply teacher letters and student work samples without yet another test?

I don't usually spill all the details - sorry if uber boring - in the vacuum I really could use some feedback. Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

I would recommend that all time sensitive documents be hand delivered to the school district office and you get a date stamped receipt or send it some sort of certified mail that will confirm receipt and keep copies. I mailed documents once and they were never received in the advanced learning office. I'm sure letters do find their way through the mail, but I just feel more comfortable with critical documents if I have proof they received it.

Also, I have been told that docs have been mailed from the central office and it took 5+ days for them to reach me at home, when normal mail within Seattle takes only 1-2 days. Their internal mail processing appears to be one of many weak links.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the reply, anon at 5 pm. I would have preferred to hand-deliver, but with the office closed next week I decided to mail them today. Yikes, scary that documents were not received. I did keep copies, glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Can you send an email copy of the docs? At least it's sort of time stamped?

As for appeals, I don't think K test scores would suffice and anything without current and valid test scores. That said, I'd be surprised if the COGAT went down from K. If it did, you'd need another test score from this year.

Kp

Anonymous said...

Are we sure the downtown offices are closed all week? On the official SPS calendar, the only day that says "all district offices closed" is Monday, for President's Day. The other 4 days, the calendar only says "No School." Those are full-time, year-round jobs, right? I guess I would expect the district offices to be open even if school isn't.

Anonymous said...

Be forewarned!

Do not email any appeal, per the AL website:

"We do not accept e-mailed or faxed appeals. Submit no more than 10 pages, no larger than 8 1/2" by 11", no notebooks, plastic covers, plastic sleeves, metal brads or fasteners. Submitted materials are not returned."

Also from the web site:

"Many families have not yet received an eligibility letter from our office. Remaining decision letters will be mailed as soon as possible. The appeal deadline will be extended beyond February 21 if necessary. Our goal is to inform parents of the appeal outcome prior to the close of Open Enrollment on March 7"

Schools are closed but JSCEE is open next week.

NGC

AppMom said...

Can anyone help me, there are six cogat scores is it two out of the six at 98+ or two of the first three, I have scoured the internet and cannot find clarification for this.
Thanks,
AppMom

Anonymous said...

AppMom @ 3:53pm

Good question. I have been wondering similar things. I don't think the eligibility criteria for APP (2 out of 3 >= 98%) have been updated for the new CogAT scores that are now reported for six categories (verbal, non-verbal, quantitative, 3 composites of those). If things were kept proportional, one would think 4 out of 6 at >= 98% would now be needed for APP now. But I do not know whether that's case. If anything, one would think the composite scores are the important ones since they combine the results.

Lynn said...

I asked Stephen Martin this question and received this response:

We are simply reporting more scores than in the past, but there has been no change to past practice or to the information posted on the website. It is still true that any two of the reported cognitive scores at or above the 98th percentile meets the eligibility standard.

He'll be posting something on the AL website too.

To me that sounds like any two of the six scores will be sufficient for APP eligibility.

Anonymous said...

My son had 99-97-77-99-92-97 on CogAT and qualified, so I'm guessing it must be 2 out of 6.

Anonymous said...

With respect to the questions about whether AL considers materials besides test scores: having done a successful appeal my opinion is that those would be helpful only to explain why a student missed by a test cutoff by a whisker, for example, due to an issue like a learning disability or perhaps an issue during testing like an illness. I very much doubt that it would be possible to mount an appeal based on test scores that don't meet the standards with only a general narrative that they are very bright and so on. It feels arbitrary and unfair but the test scores are really the only tool that they seem to use.

In our case our successful appeal was based on private testing that did meet the standards, plus additional explanatory material on why the school tests fell a little short.

I would also echo the commenter who asked that this not be a forum to trash talk the AL staff. In my experience this is an incredibly dedicated and totally under-resourced team. They have a gazillion anxious parents frantic about their unique situation and are triaging them as best they can.

Our appeal was not resolved until school was started - so our kid went to a different school for one day and then shifted to Lincoln. It was so not a big deal.

Lynn said...

Why was your appeal not resolved until September? Were you able to submit private test scores after the appeal deadline?

Anonymous said...

Yes, please explain. Your post makes me extremely nervous. I expect our appeal to be ruled on in March.

Appealing momma

Anonymous said...

Anyone still waiting on their initial CogAT scores? Nothing in the mail again today. Unbelievable. My son tested back in November.

Gilmore Clan said...

My daughter tested in October. Still haven't heard anything. I emailed a couple weeks ago, heard nothing back. Called today, we'll see.

Anonymous said...

We're in Crown Hill and received our letter today, 2/18. It was postmarked 2/15. Best wishes to all who are still waiting - I know it's tough.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:54, yep, we are still waiting on CogAt scores for my K kid. Tested in early Dec, and nothing either way so far. I was assuming that meant he had missed the APP cutoff, since he did NOT get a call re follow up testing with the WJ, but today I got an email just confirming that in general the WJ is required on K kids who have sufficient MAP testing, so assuming APP could still be a possibility...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, meant sufficient MAP scores of 95% or higher in both math and verbal.

Anonymous said...

Ack, typing on my phone. Should say WJ is NOT needed when MAP scores are sufficient for APP eligibility. My real point being that K kids may still be approved for APP even if you haven't gotten a call about the WJ.... Sigh, waiting on this is turning me incoherent.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, I didn't mean to introduce additional confusion into the mix. We moved from out of town so did August testing. The appeal was not resolved til after the first day of school. You should not have that problem. Again, sorry!

Anonymous said...

This forum is really useful. I have a couple of questions. If your MAP scores are 99th percentile and private testing puts you abod 99th percentile, will the appeal be successful even if CogAT scores are oddly low? Or is there some discretion in deciding whether the appeal is granted? In our case, our son's other tests are at 99th percentile and teachers confirm that he is far above grade level in reading and math, yet the CogAT is in the 50s for verbal. Could there be something wrong with the scoring? If so, what's the best avenue to pursue?

Lynn said...

If the private testing was IQ testing and his FSIQ or GAI were at or above the 98th percentile, he will qualify - you just need to send in the report and a cover letter asking them the consider the IQ results.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to those wondering if the John Stanford building is open: It's open this week (I just dropped off my student's paperwork), and there is an "Advanced Learning" bin in the front lobby. All you have to do is put it in the bin. A note says that if you put your email address on the paperwork, they'll email you a receipt.

Anonymous said...

What is the margin of error on the CogAT & MAP that a retest can change?

My not-yet-reading 6 y.o. tested
69,93,97,87,97,94 on the CogAT
and 91 verbal, 99 math, on the MAP.

The kid's got a deep vocabulary, so I don't quite get the 69 on the CogAT verbal section, but am curious to find out whether these scores are in the range of what other parents' private testing "pulled up" to the SPS admission standards.

Thank you,
MW

Anonymous said...

Hi MW,
Our six-year-old kindergartener had CogAT verbal = 84 and private IQ Verbal = 99.8. It was her lowest area on the CogAT and her highest on the private IQ. We think of her as a highly verbal child with a large vocabulary too. Incidentally, she had some language testing done (not IQ) as part of a UW research study last year and the vocabulary measures from that were all 99th percentile, which seems to line up better with the private results than the CogAT. Kids don't have to read for the CogAT, but sometimes something just doesn't click and it doesn't get a true measure of their ability. - ML

Anonymous said...

If he's got a deep vocabulary but isn't reading IQ testing will be much better for him than the CogAT (I think low CogAT scores are meaningless.) He'd need reading testing too though - and I don't think a non-reader can get a 95th percentile score on that.

Those scores qualify him for Spectrum. If you're going to do private testing, I would do the reading test first.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to stir the pot but does anyone else notice a common thread of people getting surprisingly low scores on the verbal portion of the CogAT? My daughter did and I know of at least two other kids who I would have expected to qualify but who scored unusually low in verbal (considering their reading abilities, vocabulary etc.) Hmmm. I wonder if there was a scoring issue or maybe the test itself is not the greatest.

Anonymous said...

I just received this note from the APP office in response to my email i sent 10 days ago - they say the delay is due to 'scoring errors' by the provider of the test and by switching to a new student information system. They will extend the appeal deadline if letters are sent late (I'm still waiting and that was my concern!) Here is the full text of the email...

Thank you for your inquiry. We apologize for the delay in our reply and in sending you the eligibility letter for your child. Due to scoring errors by the publisher and the district’s transition to a new student information system, we were not able to meet our original goal of having all decisions made and letters sent by the beginning of February.

Letters are being sent as soon as cognitive testing scores are available and decision are made. You may have received your letter already. If you have not received your letter please know we are working evenings and weekends to get the work done prior to the Open Enrollment deadline of March 7. We appreciate your patience and understand the extra anxiety you may be experiencing. Scores and eligibility decisions are not available by phone or email.

Most families’ concern is if they will have the Advanced Learning services eligibility information in time for Open Enrollment. If you have not received your letter prior to the beginning of Open Enrollment, February 24, we recommend that you participate in Open Enrollment with what you think will be the best choices for your student believing s/he receives the eligibility decision you were expecting. Remember that you will need to select both the program and the school when you make your choices. The default program at every school is the General Education program. If you only write down a school’s name without the program, you are NOT requesting an Advanced Learning program or service (i.e., APP, ALO, Spectrum).

The Advanced Learning department works closely with the Enrollment office and updates their database on a frequent basis with students’ new or continuing eligibility. The Enrollment office may have received our decision before a family does, which is why we encourage you to participate in Open Enrollment if you have not received a decision or if you are still waiting for information for an appeal to our original decision. Eligibility decisions including appeals will be processed before the open enrollment deadline of March 7. Extensions will be made when necessary (www.seattleschools.org/enrollment)

If you do not believe the original decision reflects your child’s ability, you are welcome to appeal. Please provide information as soon as possible. Our original deadline was in place to guide families to appeal prior to the start of Open Enrollment. We know that may not be possible for you if you received your letter late and we will continue to consider appeals throughout the Open Enrollment process. There is no appeal of the appeal.

Anonymous said...

I received my son the result yesterday (2/18/14). Should I appeal with the below result?

CogAT: 79-92-98-95-97-95
MAP Fall 2013: 99-reading and 98-Math

One of the CogAT test was 1% tile short compare the the cut off. If yes on the appeal, what should i write when I don't have the private test.

Thanks in advance...

Anonymous said...

Folks - get the private test scores if you want a successfull appeal. I'm not sure why people are resisting and wanting to do things differently and still get their desired results. The scores are what matter. Anything else is icing on the cake. If you don't want to get your kid privately tested, try again next year through the district's free testing. It's possible the scores may change. Or it's possible that your kid will not meet the APP qualifications and they are really properly qualified at Spectrum. And, that should be OK! It doesn't mean your kid isn't bright or less than or won't do well in life. It just means they didn't qualify for this district program.

Anonymous said...

I want to second what Anon at 2:17pm said, and add that you should use your knowledge of your child and their needs, not test scores and how close they may or not be, as a guide in deciding whether or not to appeal. Folks on the blog don't know your kid, so asking whether this score or that score should trigger an appeal is meaningless. If you think your kid really needs APP or Spectrum and it feels like a mistake that they didn't qualify, by all means get the private testing done to see if that produces qualifying scores. But if it's just that you see AL programs as somehow better or more prestigious or whatever, that's not a great reason to appeal.

HIMSmom

37 Questions said...

Boy, do I feel for new potential APP parents! I was anxious last year with 2 kinders waiting for results...

I am also getting frustrated this year, waiting for my kid's results. I guess I will go ahead and put in the appeal, just in case. To new APP parents: pace yourselves! Once your child joins the APP pathway, you will likely find yourself angry and frustrated with many aspects of the program. Pick your battles.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Jen C, can you describe the aspects of the program that are making you frustrated and angry? I'm frustrated and angry with my son's current school for the lack of rigor. I assume it's different issues at Lincoln. Are you talking about issues related to the Lincoln site or is it other aspects of the program?

Thanks,
Uncertain

Anonymous said...

Posting this to hopefully help someone in a similar position in the future. Tested for APP but the results did not come in a timely fashion. Learned our daughter was Spectrum eligible but still did not have test scores. We thought she should be in APP so arranged for private testing. Before we did the private testing, we learned that CogAT scores were: 93, 75, 84, 87, 81, 87. With those scores, we would never have sought out private testing as it only made sense to us if the numbers were close. Went through with testing anyway as it was scheduled for the next day and we felt it was too late to cancel. Private testing (WISC-IV)showed full scale IQ at 97% and GAI at 99%. As I understand it, the GAI score qualifies our daughter for APP regardless of the other scores. The difference in the FSIQ and the GAI were low scores in working memory and processing speed which I now understand are not good indicators of giftedness. Anyway, the moral of this story from my perspective is that regardless of the CogAT scores, if you believe your child should be in APP and can afford private testing, do it. Don't assume based on the CogAT scores that your child would not qualify even with private testing or that private testing would be a waste of money. I should also say that I got no sense that the private testing was somehow fixed. We just picked someone off the approved list and the tester made no promises as to the results. Good luck to all on your appeals.

Anne Porter said...

I am preparing an appeal for APP eligibility for my student and am wondering if there are any suggestions for the parent statement?

Anonymous said...

Anne Porter, just my opinion, but I don't think the parent statement matters except for your signature indicating that you want to appeal. Every parent who appeals thinks their kid should be in APP, and I can't imagine anything you could say that would be persuasive if not backed up by objective documentation you included with the appeal.

Anonymous said...

Truly, don't torture yourself about what to write. Its the test scores for APP. For Spectrum, they will wiggle on a near miss. Also, as others have said, don't let SPS test scores change what you know about your child. If you have always known your child would need APP, don't let a low Cogat change that knowledge. If your child can't read, don't let a 95 on their first MAP make you think they should be in APP. You know best.

MD dad

Stressed Mommy said...

I still haven't received my 1st grader's scores. I haven't heard back from SPS on whether I will have more time to actually appeal IF the scores are too low for APP. I -- perhaps foolishly -- assumed I would have time to get her privately tested after we received her scores, but just discovered yesterday that the deadline for an appeal is tomorrow! Does anyone have any information or suggestions? I can't get her tested or get her teacher to write a recommendation until after tomorrow. Should I submit some sort of statement saying "I reserve my right to appeal after I receive the scores, and here is the information I will include? I confess I'm quite stressed as my daughter is miserable at her school and everything points to her needing to be at an APP school with her peers.

37 Questions said...

Uncertain,

I mean both the program and lincoln. One of my kids attends lincoln now, and overall the switch was a good choice for us. The academics are much better, and nearly as important our son is happy there.

the lack of an appropriate recess area is really something that bothers me. These kids are just kids - they may need more academic challenge, but they need to play, too. I don't like the regimented lunchtime. I don't like the week-long music, art, pe rotation. I think kids need more pe than that.

the program is unstable, and has been for a long time. There are other big program issues, but for us it was the right choice.

Lynn said...

I would send an email to advlearn@seattleschools.org with your student's name and ID number. I would make it short and easy for them to reply to. Ask them to confirm that the initial determination of eligibility has not been sent and that you will be allowed 10 days to appeal if necessary.

The good news is the private providers will have more availability as time goes on.

Stressed Mommy said...

Thank you, Lynn. I'm on it.

Anonymous said...

Stressed Mommy, they have said they are allowing additional time to appeal as necessary. The current posting on the website suggests they will be considering appeals throughout open enrollment. If you submit an appeal within 10 days of your letter, I think you're fine. Here's what they say: "All eligibility decisions including appeals will be processed before the open enrollment deadline of March 7 if possible. Extensions will be made when necessary." They want everyone to submit appeals as soon as possible which is why they are somewhat vague about the actual deadline.

Anonymous said...

Our son qualifies for Spectrum but we are considering appealing the decision and do private testing.
I've seen that they have a list of provider on the SPS website, but I was wondering if anyone had recommendation for a tester, preferably in the South end?
Thanks!
SE Maman

apparent said...


For those preparing an appeal or wondering whether to appeal, my very strong sense is that although the criteria do invite additional information including parental statements, teacher statements, and work portfolios, these submissions will not influence the result. Qualifying scores from any of the several approved nationally normed tests are what the appeals committee looks at and if the kid has them they qualify. Personally, I have never heard or read any credible first-hand parental account of a successful APP appeal without those qualifying scores, despite fairly frequent outbursts by disgruntled bloggers who simply oppose the APP program. I agree with another poster above who wondered why these additional, less-easily quantified criteria are even included as they generate unnecessary work and perhaps false hopes for many parents in seemingly close cases.

If you just received a negative eligibility letter or are still waiting, follow Lynn's advice above and request 10 more days to get private testing for your appeal.

If you schedule any of these very busy private educational testers during this year's expanded appeals window, and your kid does earn qualifying scores, just submit your appeal test scores without sweating about any other material. If you don't schedule private testing, or if your kid comes close but does not get the needed scores this time, don't hold your breath that any appeal will be upheld. This might seem harsh, but do remember that the pyramid expands exponentially as you move down from the top, so lacking test results it is almost impossible to distinguish any one case from among so many without turning to more subjective interpretations.

Also remember that as the Advanced Learning Services letter reposted above explains, you should simply fill in the open enrollment form in your preferred order (including both school and program codes as required) on the assumption that your eligibility appeal based on qualifying private test scores will succeed. Do this even if your appeal has not yet been determined or even if you are still waiting on private test results before the current or extended appeals deadline expires. If your kid turns out not to be eligible next year for APP (or Spectrum if you have requested that option), the enrollment office just works down your list of preferences, with your overall default set as guaranteed general education at your attendance area school.

Not to dampen any high hopes, but open enrollment can be stressful especially with the delayed letters and family travel, and this is what you can expect. For those who wonder whether lower school tests (cognitive or achievement) make private testing entirely pointless, you must trust your own instincts concerning your kid. Like the story a couple of posts above, some academically higly gifted kids do perform much better in a more attentive individual setting.

Good luck to all who are still waiting or who have already decided to appeal.

Sand Point mom said...

So we've yet to get our CogAT results, but I went ahead and did private testing on Tuesday, just in case. My dilemma is that I have APP qualifying WISC IV scores - 98% and 99.5%, and qualifying MAP scores - 99% and 99%, but no eligibility letter from AL. Any opinion on whether I should go ahead and send in an appeal, sans CogAT results, or wait until I get the letter and see if I actually need to appeal? I don't want to cause any confusion in AL, as I think they're pretty much at their breaking point right now.

Anne Porter said...

As a parent of twins, I would really like to keep the kids together. While one is APP eligible, the other is not quite (had highs in CogAT of 97/98). We are appealing APP eligibility for the other, but private testing didn't indicate high enough scores either. I am stressing about enrollment of the eligible child in APP, losing the appeal for the other, and losing our spots in the current school, which is not our neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

If private testing didn't yield high enough scores, your speak is not likely to be successful. Wanting to keep the twins together is not a compelling enough reason. If I were you, I would either keep the twins together at their current school or split them up. I don't know if it would lessen the stress but you have to assume the option if putting them both in APP is off the table because of the test scores. Sorry it's so stressful and probably not what you want to hear regarding appeals.

CC

Anonymous said...

Oops.. Your appeal (not speak). Also, since your APP eligible child will retain his/her eligibility, it's possible testing results for the other could change next year and you could move them next year together.

CC

Anonymous said...

Anne, twins is one special case where your teacher input and/or work samples could influence the appeal. What grade are your twins in? If there is a compelling case that your twins have similar or indistinguishable ability in school, the unreliability of the cogat (especially if the twins are young and took the oral version) can be weighed against the teacher's statement that the twins both need APP. Your private results should probably not be included in the appeal. You should wait to see if your appeal is processed by March 7th to submit your enrollment so you don't lose your option school. If its unsuccessful you should test your other twin again next year.

Anne Porter said...

Twins are in grade 2 this year.

37 Questions said...

Anne, I also have twins. They are in 1st grade, last year one tested APP, one in spectrum. This year we will appeal just in case the spectrum kid does not gain elegibility through the school district, we have the independent cog testing with the numbers for her to qualify.

Sending her brother was a good decision. We felt we would be denying our son the opportunity to be challenged in an appropriate way if we kept him at our neighborhood school, even though we love North Beach.

Also, does anyone know if I also have to include the math and reading scores as well as the cog results? I'm guessing not because they were approved and moved her on to cog testing, but I am diving the appeal down today and I don't want to screw it up.

Jen C

Summer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Just FINALLY got a call today with my son's scores, and while Spectrum eligible, they were lower than we expected and missed the APP cutoff. Admittedly, after the numerous delays and mixed messages we have gotten from the AL office, I don't have complete confidence in the process, and I'm worried enough about how this year has gone that I'm seriously considering an appeal and private testing. Of course, they are only giving us five days to set that up.... So... Would love recs for affordable private testers. Thanks,

Anonymous said...

My 5th grade daughter's MAP scores have consistently been above 95% and usually around 97-99%. Several teachers have urged us to test her for APP. She qualifies for Spectrum currently, but area programs are full and there is only an ALO model at her school. We had her tested for APP and she had a 98 and 97 in two categories. She gets nervous on tests. We think an APP program would challenge her better for middle school and are thinking about testing her again privately and would like some recommendations for a psychologist.
Thanks,
-M

Jet City mom said...

I would suggest Carolyn Ballinger for testing.
I had one kid tested through district. Did not qualify for AL, although we chose not to submit private testing that indicated she was in the .03%
She attended UCDS, SAAS, Reed College and grad school at Marylhurst.
All with generous financial aid, incidentally.