Friday, February 26, 2016

2016 Testing Results Thread Part 2

Due to the large number of comments and to make it easier on mobile readers, I'm starting a new thread to continue the discussion on the test results for this year.

Thread Part 1

I'll repeat my main advice for for those waiting on results to try not to panic. While this is clearly frustrating for many:

1. You will not lose a spot at the HCC school regardless of how late the district processes the scores. Just make sure to follow the procedures and register for it during enrollment (which is ongoing until March 1st). On top of that, you actually have until May 31st to reconsider and still go to the pathway school. 


2. There is no point trying to send in appeals prior to receiving the initial decision. I would recommend emailing after posted deadlines for decisions and following up until they are answered. I don't believe the office has the capacity to manage out of order paperwork and I'd worry that it would be more likely to get messed up.

And thank you to everyone who has posted updates as they've received communication from the district.

Update: latest schedule is mid March for all the letters.
"While we expected to have all eligibility decisions communicated by Feb. 29, technology-related obstacles have delayed the process. We are working diligently to make and notify families of eligibility decisions. We anticipate that nearly all families will be notified (by at least one means) by mid-March. For quicker results, some families will receive an email with their students’ eligibility decisions (without names or scores) prior to their letters being printed and mailed. We appreciate your patience as we continue this work at a pace that allows us to make the appropriate and careful decisions that our students deserve."

Update:  this is the latest mailing from 3/4 
Thank you for referring your student for Advanced Learning or Highly Capable eligibility. We have completed the testing schedule and are in the process of mailing eligibility letters to families. If you have not yet received your eligibility letter, we anticipate that you will receive it by mid-March. 
The Open Enrollment for School Choice window closed March 1, and we noted in a previous email that you could enroll your child during that window even if Advanced Learning/Highly Capable eligibility had not yet been confirmed. If, however, you did not enroll during this time, we want to provide the following information: 

ALO/Spectrum for Families of Students in K-4 All students deemed eligible for Advanced Learning are eligible to participate in Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO) at their attendance-area elementary school. No Choice form is required, and ALOs vary by building. If you would like your child to participate in a Spectrum program at a Spectrum-designated elementary school, you will need to fill out a School Choice form. You have until May 31 to submit the form. Assignment is based on space availability and tiebreakers, and it is not guaranteed even if your form was submitted by March 1. 
ALO/Spectrum for Families of Students in 5-7 All middle school students deemed eligible for Advanced Learning will automatically be assigned to Spectrum at their attendance-area middle school, although a seat is not guaranteed. No Choice form is required. You only need to fill out a School Choice form as an “opt-out” – if you wish your child to attend a different middle school or K-8 for Spectrum, for example. You have until May 31 to submit the form. Assignment is based on space availability and tiebreakers and is not guaranteed.
  • Exception: Newly eligible students in grades 6 or 7 who have chosen to attend a middle school outside of their attendance area must submit a Choice form to return to their attendance-area middle school for Spectrum. Assignment is based on space availability and tiebreakers and is not guaranteed.
Highly Capable Cohort for Families of Students in K-7 All K-7 students deemed eligible for Highly Capable services are guaranteed a spot in the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) in their pathway elementary/middle school. You will still need to complete a School Choice form in order to enroll them in the cohort at the pathway school, but it is not due until May 31. You also have until May 31 to enroll them in the cohort in a different cohort school (not in your pathway), but that assignment is not guaranteed. It is based on space available and tiebreakers.The School Choice forms posted to the School Choice page provide more details on the enrollment process: http://www.seattleschools.org/admissions/school_choice 

111 comments :

Anonymous said...

"Just make sure to follow the procedures and register for it during enrollment (which is ongoing until March 1st). On top of that, you actually have until May 31st to reconsider and still go to the pathway school. “

This, and the district instructions about it, seems purposely confusing. The seat in the HCC pathway seat is still guaranteed if you don't register during Open Enrollment, right? The outcome for the student is the same whether their family registers for HCC on Feb. 29 or May 29, is that correct? I understand it negatively impacts the schools when there are last minute registrations, but I'm only talking about the placement of the student with this question.

reader

Anonymous said...

For example, this is on the AL website:

If my student becomes HC eligible, what are our options?

HCC students are guaranteed seat placement in their HCC pathway, (based on their residential address) if they apply during open enrollment. HCC enrollment is allowed only through May 31st.

They are taking great pains to avoid explicitly explaining that seat placement is guaranteed through May 31st. Is that because they'd rather parents did not understand that option, or am I wrong about it being guaranteed through May 31st?

reader

Lynn said...

reader,

I believe you are correct. The exception is a family choosing to register their child for an HCC option site (Fairmount Park or Madison). Those assignments are not guaranteed and should be requested during open enrollment.

Ken said...

Does anyone know -- if you choose a different school than your neighborhood school and get admitted to it, but then in the middle of the summer change your mind and want to attend your neighborhood school -- do you always have a slot at your neighborhood school? Or since you got your choice school -- you'd get added to the waitlist for your neighborhood school?

Lynn said...

Ken,

The Student Assignment Procedures say:

Changing to Designated School
Students assigned to a school other than their designated school may be reassigned to their
designated or alternate designated school by completing a Choice form application during Open
Enrollment through May 31. Forms are available online at www.seattleschools.org/enrollment
or at the Admissions Center. After May 31, students may only be reassigned to their designated
or alternate designated school in the following circumstances:

 Any student with a Choice assignment who lives outside the walk zone or transportation
area may be reassigned to their designated school/program at any time, even if they have
not moved.
 A student in grades K-8 with a Grandfathered assignment who lives outside of their
school’s service area or linked service area and does not have transportation (and does not
live in the school’s walk zone) may be reassigned to their designated school/program at any
time, even if they have not moved.

Ken said...

Great info. Thanks Lynn!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if letters are in today's mail?

Waiting

Ken said...

We got none in today's mail. At this point I'm just hoping to get it before May 1st.

Anonymous said...

Email from the advanced learning office said they would start mailing out eligibility letters in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, anon. Did you hear from them today? Are they actually mailing them, or are they emailing them? Someone else had posted they got an emailed result.

Anonymous said...

I heard from them yesterday and they did say mail not email

Anonymous said...

I had thought that the rules had changed and a person only got the HCC placement if chosen during open enrollment, which at this point would mean giving up any chance of a spot on a spectrum wait list. This delay in results could mean many advanced learners will not get a challenging education because their parents were forced to play roulette with the school choice form. Where does it say that HCC spots are guaranteed after open enrollment? I thought all that language was removed, perhaps deliberately to reduce the number of AL kids.
West

Anonymous said...

Here it is: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14618

These families should still submit a School Choice Form on time, even if they haven't yet been notified of Advanced Learning eligibility.

Spectrum-eligible students in grades 1-5 will be assigned on the basis of space availability and standard tiebreakers. School Choice Forms should be submitted by March 1.
Middle school Spectrum placement is guaranteed.
HC-eligible students are guaranteed a seat in the Highly Capable Cohort (self-contained classroom) at their pathway HCC school as long as the School Choice Form is submitted by May 31, but it's preferable to submit by March 1.

Lynn said...

I don't believe there will be Spectrum waitlists anymore. There are no self-contained elementary programs - so no limit on the number of identified students in a school or grade. Of course, if a particular school provides services you think would be good for your child, you'll only be able to transfer if there is space available in the school. (Aren't all those schools full at this point?) Access to Spectrum is guaranteed at the middle school level.

Anonymous said...

So then does that mean that one needs to submit a choice form for Spectrum by March 1 and then submit another for HCC after getting results by May 31? That wording doesn't help parents who don't know the results of testing.
West

Anonymous said...

I don't get why some parents are receiving email updates but Others aren't getting any. Really poor communication from the district.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous at 7:07 -- Type B are chilling out waiting for results, maybe stopping by here every couple weeks (if they are even aware of this site). Type A parents are obsessively checking these forums. Type A+ parents are checking these forums and emailing the district. Occasionally they get a scrap of information that everyone here devours and attempts to interpret.

the district is really bad at communicating I agree, but the email updates most people are getting (except the official communications we all got and the snafu with the bad letters) are just short responses to emails they send asking questions.

SouthEndMom said...

I've sent two short, polite emails with questions and have received zero responses.

Anonymous said...

This AL process has the power to convert the most laid back Type B parent into a Type A crazed lunatic.

SW Mom

Anonymous said...

Amen @SW Mom
Looking for opportunities to get out of Seattle

Anonymous said...

Another vote for SW Mom. It's not about being Type A. I've tried to think about why it is so frustrating. Basically, they have important information about our children, and they (or their process) are incapable of giving it the proper respect or care.

Anonymous said...

The last communication I got from AL was on Feb 5. I never received anything about the mailing snafu or anything regarding any other general update, just wondering if I should be concerned since it seems like some people got one. Weird.

Anonymous said...

The only people who got a direct communication other than the announcement on the SPS webpage about the mailing snafu were those affected. There haven't been any other communications since Feb 5.

Trying to be More Relaxed with #2 said...

So, we are in year 2 of the HCC process. Last year, older child qualified and younger (K) qualified for Spectrum. Older is now at Cascadia and younger is at private school. This fall, younger tested for HCC and we sent MAP scores from private school instead of add'l SPS testing (up to that point process the same as last year).

Sent in enrollment and choice forms for Fall 2016 last week. 1.HCC, 2.Spectrum, 3. Spectrum, 4.Elementary, 5.Reference School. On Friday, we received a letter stating he was in reference school - Gen Ed. Letter not from Advanced Learning....

Does this make sense to anyone? We are operating on the assumption that he qualified for Spectrum or HCC (based on earlier communication).

I'm trying not to worry as I don't think HCC results have been sent out.

Thanks for any input.

Lynn said...

When you registered him with the district he was automatically assigned to his reference school. Results of open enrollment won't be available until mid-April. There's no reason to worry yet.

WedgwoodMom said...

Does anyone know whether waiting til closer to the end of May instead of March 1 to submit application to HCC Middle School (JAMS in my case) would affect my child's access to the electives she wants in 6th grade? We are waiting for an appointment for her in May to help us make a decision between JAMS, Eckstein and Hazel Wolf K-8. I appreciate any input.

Anonymous said...

This was the last specific timeline information that was sent out, is that correct? It was in the email from Advanced Learning/Stephen Martin on Jan 5. I checked and the email on Feb 5 didn't say anything about a new deadline. Or was this deadline negated by the mailing snafu?

Because the notifications will be emailed on a rolling basis, we cannot give you a precise date. If you haven’t received an eligibility email by Feb. 29, please contact us at alsupportanalysts@seattleschools.org with the subject line “Eligibility Letter.”

Anonymous said...

Well, the website still says "before the end of February" but I just got an email response to my "Eligibility Letter" query saying that they expect to begin mailing letters again in a few days. Talk about frustrating. Guess I must be Type A+, eh?

Ken said...

Hi, I just got the eligibility email. Sent by Madaffari, Janine M. It did not include the score, just noted my son's eligibility. They said the scores will be in the postal mail that they are sending.

The email does end with this statement:
"We are sending this information on a rolling basis as we are able to compile and verify it. Additional grades and decisions will be sent as they are confirmed."

Anonymous said...

Ken, if it's not too much to ask, can you remind us of your son's grade? Would you share when your son tested and was it the full cogat?

Waiting

Ken said...

Hi, Waiting.

My son is 1st grade right now. He was at private school, so took the screener on Oct 22 (or around that date) and the achievement test a few weeks back (as he never took that before). He was not offered to take the full CogAt. He scored for Spectrum eligibility, not HCC.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ken. And good luck with your decisions too.

Anonymous said...

Ken, did you email her specifically, asking for your eligibility?

Ken said...

Anon@5:43

No, we didn't email the AL offices at all about eligibility. I saw the earlier post on this thread that said that the mails were going out this week, so I was just going to sit tight this week.

Anonymous said...

Just to confirm, if your child is currently at an option school and you apply to HCC at open enrollment but don't end up going there, does your child keep their spot at the option school?

-confused

SouthEndMom said...

Yes, your child keeps their spot, but you have to put that option school down as your 2nd choice. (Per SPS website and the woman I talked to at the enrollment center.)

Anonymous said...

We plan to move our child only if she gets into HCC. Do I need to fill out the school choice form by March 1st (tomorrow), or is it guaranteed until May? The SPS website is confusing.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to do anything now. Placement is guaranteed until the end of May. The website is confusing because they want to encourage you to make that choice as early as possible.

SouthEndMom said...

Nothing in today's mail, FYI. (Jan. 30 testing.)

Anonymous said...

I wonder how they are approaching this job of systematically sending out the results. It seems odd that some are getting emails letting them know their eligibility.

Anonymous said...

Anaon 10:47, I wonder if they are sending out emails to kids who are eligible for a program, so the parents can make an informed choice on the enrollment forms? I haven't heard anything via email or mail, so just a guess.

SE Mama

Anonymous said...

I just got this via email, but it doesn't say anything about email notifications of eligibility to subsets of families.

"We resumed mailing eligibility decision letters yesterday and expect to complete mailings to the vast majority of applicants by the end of the week."

heather shannon culver said...

I just wanted to say thank you to all who have taken part in this discussion, and the last thread. This has been so much more of a stressful experience than I think it needed to be, and being able to read through all of the thoughts and information here has helped calm me immensely. At least I am bolstered by the knowledge that I am surrounded by amazing, involved, smart parents also navigating a more that imperfect system, and perhaps these are all thoughts that can lead to more organized actions that can be taken to the School District, and in the end achieve the best education possible for all of our children. Cheers, and hang in there, everyone!

NWMom said...

Hi there,

I had a question on submitting an appeal. We had my 5th grade daughter retested in math as her SBAC score from last spring did not qualify her for HCC. Privately she tested above the 95% threshold.

I have the appeal documentation prepared. Curious how previous families have done this. Do people drop it off or mail it? Do you get a receipt if you drop it off?

When do you hear back if the appeal is approved? We already submitted the choice form listing our assignment middle school HCC option as her first choice.

Thanks for feedback that anyone who has gone through this process can provide.

Anonymous said...

SouthEndMom,

You have me worried--so if you submit a school choice form for HCC, you risk losing your child's current spot in an option program (he's in Spectrum at an option school, if not HCC we definitely want him to stay there)? Are you saying you have to go back on the waitlist for the option school, or it's just a formality to list it on the choice form? Can you point me to where you saw this on the website?

Thanks,
more confused

Anonymous said...

more confused, here is the link: http://www.seattleschools.org/students/academics/advanced_learning/how_to_apply/enrollment/

Here is the section (see Step 3 for option schools)

Step 1: If you are expecting your child to be eligible for Highly Capable services,be sure to enter your first choice school on the form as if he/she IS eligible for HC services. If you are expecting your child to be eligible for Spectrum programs, continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Enter your next choice (or choices) as if your child was NOT found eligible for HC, but WAS found eligible for Spectrum.

Step 3: Enter any subsequent choices/Option Schools as if your child was NOT found eligible for HC and was NOT found eligible for Spectrum. If your child currently attends an Option School, please enter it as a choice.

Anonymous said...

@NWMom,

When we appealed for our daughter, we wrote a cover letter asking that she be reconsidered for APP (HCC) and submitted her qualifying scores. I made two copies, walked it in, and had my copy stamped with the date. I was covering my bases.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Nothing in the mail here either.

Anonymous said...

Is it only private school students who've received emails?

Waiting

Anonymous said...

Just got today the invitation for full COGAT test, the screener was on Jan 23rd. FYI dear parents..hang in there!

Anonymous said...

can we get an open thread started?

- Have a Q

Anonymous said...

This is what the SPS website says:
There is no CogAT “cut score” for either AL or HC identification. The MSC uses at least 5 different data points during the eligibility process for each and every student.
Is this correct? What data points do they use? The parent and teacher comments, MAP scores, Cogat scores? That's 4 data points. What's the 5th? Am I missing something?
It makes me wonder if high MAP scores (99 on both math/reading) may be taken into consideration for a student who has a lower Cogat score (i.e. <98%). I know that in past years, the Cogat score >98% was required for APP/HCC eligibility.

Ken said...

From the SPS FAQ:

As stated in the procedures, the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee considers all factors in determining eligibility. SPS's established eligibility thresholds are neither absolute qualifiers nor disqualifiers; teacher input is also an important consideration.

For example: A student may have achievement scores that do not quite meet the requirement. Although the scores are slightly lower than the required percentile, cognitive scores, achievement history, and the Teacher Rating Scale are taken into consideration to inform a final decision as to that student’s eligibility. Also, in order to provide equitable opportunities for all students, the MSC considers factors such as cultural diversity, socioeconomic status, linguistic background, and identified disability in its deliberations.


http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14769#15

Anonymous said...

I was told, directly, that there is no way my son will get into HCC with MAP scores below 95, and no record of every getting a score at or above 95. I know that the website makes it sound like there is some wiggle-room, but I don't think that is generally the case in practice. We privately tested him for achievement, as a result.

SE mama

Anonymous said...

I should add that his MAP scores were at the 93%tile for both math and reading

SE Mama

Anonymous said...

Some people should be receiving eligibility letters today, if they started mailing them out again Monday, right??? Anybody?

Anonymous said...

Not here.

SE Mama

Anonymous said...

Not here either. Have any screener results been received at all?

SouthEndMom said...

And yet another day with no results in the mail. (Jan. 30 full CogAT.) I was sure today would be the day.

Anon 2:40, many have received screener results and then taken the full CogAT—but not yet received full scores.

Anonymous said...

SouthEndMom,

Oh goodness. I was also sure today would be the day. Who were the recipients of these results that were supposedly mailed on Monday, Tuesday?

And did you actually receive your screener results? We got called for the full CogAT but didn't ever get our actual screener scores, despite my request.

Ken received an email, without scores, just letting him know his student's eligibility. I'm thinking of emailing to ask for the same consideration?!?

Waiting

Anonymous said...

No results here either (Jan. 30th full Cogat). This is getting annoying.

Anonymous said...

Very frustrating. I'm also really surprised at the number of people who act like it is not a big deal to get preemptive private tests before even seeing their results. We are by no means FRL but private testing is not in our budget and we will need to retest again next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm suspicious now that they are even making decisions. Things seem stalled. Is there something going on with the MSC?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday the end of this statement on the website said "before the end of February." Now there is just no timeline at all.

"Eligibility decisions will be made when cognitive and achievement data have been assembled for review [before the end of February]. These decisions will be communicated as they are made. No scores are available until decision letters are sent."

SouthEndMom said...

Waiting, to answer your question: No, sorry, I misunderstood your original question—we did not receive the actual scores from the screener. As far as I know, no one did. It would be interesting to see that.

Anonymous said...

@more confused

I also started to worry, because my son is at an option school and the only way we'll move him is if he gets into HCC. The only school I listed on our choice form was our HCC program. Just called the enrollment office and they said that the system is designed to leave him in the school in which he is currently enrolled if he doesn't get into the choice listed.

Anonymous said...

how long is the full COGAT test? is it paper or computer based? do kids get breaks? do the parents bring snack? is this the address of the location when they mean stanford center- 2445 3rd Avenue South.

thanks!
@newbie

Anonymous said...

The latest update from Advanced Learning is that we can expect letters by mid-March:

"While we expected to have all eligibility decisions communicated by Feb. 29, technology-related obstacles have delayed the process. We are working diligently to make and notify families of eligibility decisions. We anticipate that nearly all families will be notified (by at least one means) by mid-March. For quicker results, some families will receive an email with their students’ eligibility decisions (without names or scores) prior to their letters being printed and mailed. We appreciate your patience as we continue this work at a pace that allows us to make the appropriate and careful decisions that our students deserve."

- KMOM

Anonymous said...

I hope they will let K-2 families who took the full Cogat know eligibility as soon as possible. Families who were not notified for further testing at least have that information to work with.

SouthEndMom said...

@newbie: When my kindergartener took the full CogAT, it was about 2.5 hours long. I believe the proctor gave them water/bathroom breaks, but they didn't come out to where the parents were. Some parents sent snacks in with their children, but I was told that they wouldn't have a snack break and that they weren't supposed to eat in the classroom, so I didn't send a snack with my kid. (And yes, that is a long time for a little kid to take a test!)

The CogAT was given on paper. And yes, that is the address of the Stanford Center.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @7:52

And what information is that? That our child is dumb and unworthy of a decent education?

Anonymous said...

Why would you think that? Wow. No, the information that your child's Cogat score didn't meet the threshold for HCC, so you can proceed with a private test if you feel like the Cogat score isn't representative. Families who had to take the full test are still waiting for that information. Not all of us will have qualifying scores, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SouthEnd mom!

Maybe the stress is getting to the parents!! we were told last week when I contacted AL about screening scores that my son did not qualify and that is why did not get an invite for the full test..but got the invite in email this week-- so maybe more results are yet to come. The screener was on Jan 23rd.
newbie..

Anonymous said...

Has anyone dropped off an appeal yet this year? I dropped one off yesterday and found the box where you leave it to be comical. It's like the kind of clear plastic cube where you might drop your lottery ticket at a raffle. Small with a tiny slit opening on the top! I actually laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of it. Not only was it not functional, but I felt that it was an insult to the entire process. Most people who appeal have spent hundreds of dollars on a private test and put a lot of effort into their appeal letter, and to have to fold it into tiny pieces and cram it into a tiny box was a joke.

My recommendation to future appealers: Use a regular business-size mailing envelope, not a 9x12 manilla envelope.

(P.S. Our decision letter from SPS was dated 2/11, so appeals were due yesterday - 3 weeks after the date of the letter. We weren't a victim of the mailing fiasco.)

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is worth emailing AL to be sure my letter wasn't actually sent, but I didn't receive it? Or, am I being paranoid? My kid tested at the beginning of December

Anonymous said...

You are being paranoid. Most people haven't received their letters. Just chill.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, if you are in K-2. Nobody in K-2 has received anything. And if your child took the screener, you already have a heads up on your eligibility according to whether they had further testing or not.

Anonymous said...

@Just chill - ha, thank you for the reminder :-)

-Chillin

Benjamin Leis said...

I added the most recent email text being sent out by the AL office .This basically reiterates the new schedule for mailings (mid march) and the fact you may register for HCC up until 5/31. Please be thoughtful in your comments to other parents.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Benjamin. Also remember everyone that the people in AL are doing their best with the resources they have to work with. I think the interim supervisor is in a tough spot and is working really hard to get notifications out asap.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I wonder if someone can offer me advice. I just received my child's eligibility decision, via email. My child doesn't qualify for Spectrum or HCC. However, we went ahead with private testing and the results indicate a FSIQ in the 99th %ile and achievement scores above 95% tile. Would you still appeal the decision? I wonder if we have a chance on appeal, if both spectrum and HCC eligibility was ruled out? Did the private testing truly reveal something the CoGat didn't? What can explain such a stark difference in results?

Not sure whether to move forward?

Anonymous said...

Of course you can appeal with those scores. They meet the criteria. Is your child in early elementary? Many 5 year olds don't do well on the Cogat group test. It is a group test with confusing directions and totally unlike a private test.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:29. My child is in 2nd grade, but a late summer birthday, for what that is worth. The day of the testing, there was much nervousness and apprehension going in to the group setting.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone who did the full Cogat on 1/30 get an email?

Anonymous said...

Not yet...

SouthEndMom said...

I got the form email that Benjamin mentioned/posted above, but nothing with information specific to my child's application.

Northender said...

Does SPS provide transportation to the few Spectrum programs that are left? Or just to HCC?

Ms Meh said...

So we received an email notice that our kid was eligible for Spectrum or ALO. (Hurrah) A couple hours later the email was recalled. (Boo?) So now we are somewhat confused about our son's eligibility status. We don't have a lot riding on the decision, and I'm sure the AL office is busy. So we'll just wait to receive the paper letter.

Anonymous said...

Recalled, as in "just kidding?"

Anonymous said...

I meant a on @1:34. :-)

SouthEndMom said...

Northender, transportation provided just for HCC (unless the Spectrum school happens to be your neighborhood school).

Anonymous said...

Northender, our son receives transportation specifically for Spectrum grade 2. They send a small bus. He does not go to our neighborhood school. We use to be in the bus zone for the school until they eliminated that for non-neighborhood schools. But don't bother asking Advanced Learning, because I asked twice and both times they had no idea if Spectrum kids received busing. Transportation told us "he should", but we were only really certain about two weeks before the start of the school year when they sent us his bus schedule.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a child in the testing cycle this year, but I've been through it four times, and my heart goes out to all of you who are caught in limbo. This process completely stinks!

Regarding the question of private testing, I would strongly encourage anyone who can possibly afford it to do it, even in advance of getting your scores. I say this because the group testing is so flawed that many very smart kids who would thrive in HCC don't qualify by virtue of that testing, and if you wait until you receive the results (especially this year), you may not have time to schedule an authorized tester and get the results back before your three weeks are up to submit the appeal.

Also, in my experience of submitting appeals (three times), only appeals submitted with private testing results have been approved. Strong teacher letters, information about extenuating circumstances like illness during testing, being off by just one percentage point in one of the categories, etc. were all rejected as appeal reasons. With the HCC program bursting at the seams, the appeals review committee seems to reject all but private testing as valid reason for appeal. Maybe that's not true for all, but that's been my experience, and is also what I've heard from many others over the last 12 years that I've been trying to navigate this system.

Finally, if your child qualified for Spectrum but was close to qualifying for HCC, and/or you believe your child has a chance of qualifying for HCC, I would encourage you to get private testing done to try for the HCC qualification. Given what's happened and what is continuing to happen to Spectrum, I believe that the HCC designation is going to be the only meaningful path to getting advanced learning services in SPS going forward. And to the parents of younger kids, you may think that you should sit tight with the Spectrum designation for now and test again next year or in a future year, and that's fine. However, I've found that it's easier to get qualified in younger years than in later years, and since you keep the designation unless your child can't manage the work, it seems safer to qualify early and keep the designation than to wait and risk not qualifying, or to risk a change in the system. Plus, if you plan to opt your child out of SBAC at any point, you have to qualify for HCC prior to doing so, since SPS will be using those scores as initial testing criteria going forward, and after this year, my understanding is that anyone who's opted out of SBAC won't even be allowed to apply for advanced learning (please correct me if I'm wrong on this; I'd like to be, since I'm supportive of opting out of SBAC and don't think SBAC should be used for advanced learning qualification).

I know private testing is incredibly expensive and is out of reach for many families, so it shouldn't be needed for appeals (another reason this process stinks), but I'm just sharing my experiences in case it's useful to any of you going through this process this year. Hang in there, and good luck!

-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

re "Authorized Tester"

I once believed as Seattle Parent that there were "authorized testers", but I asked this question directly of Advanced Learning last year and there are not. Rather, Advanced Learning has a list of providers that at some point in the past indicated they provide private testing services. The providers listed on the Advanced Learning website are no more authorized to test for the CogAT than other providers not on the list. I was told that Advanced Learning has never verified the credentials of the providers on the list because they have neither the time nor inclination to do so.

Therefore, if you decide to have private testing done, don't limit yourself to the Advanced Learning list, but search google and consider calling providers in Lynnwood and Burien and Auburn if needed (and they may be cheaper as well). When I called last year, many of the providers on the district list were full, but otherwise we had no problem finding someone to do the testing within a week.

Another N Seattle Mom said...

Received email last night indicating my k-2 child qualified for Spectrum. January screener, no call-back. Received email this morning recalling prior email and indicating my child is ineligible. This process has been unbelievably frustrating and poorly run. Will be appealing - MAP scores are both 99%ile and private testing shows qualifying FSIQ and GAI scores. And he is literally bored to tears by school.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe there was another snafu in notifications. I am starting to feel bad for people in the department. I can only imagine the pandemonium.

Anonymous said...

Re. "authorized testing", I'm so glad if that rule has changed, since you're right that this opens up options and possibly means less expensive testing could be available for some. The last time anyone in our family had to test was four years ago, and at that time advance learning told us that we had to use someone on their list in order for the private testing results to be considered legitimate. I still have the email they sent in my appeals file.

So much has changed over the years with this program and process, including the duration of eligibility, the different tests used, the nomination process, the locations of the programs, the move from self-contained Spectrum to whatever it is now, etc. that I'm not surprised that private testing requirements have changed. It's a good reminder to save or print everything to do with the process, since it could even change in mid-stream. I remember a mom who kept a voice mail from advanced learning for three years because it was the only proof she felt she had regarding how long her son's HCC (then APP) qualification would last if he stayed in his local school's Spectrum program rather than switching to the HCC program for elementary school (they wanted to wait until middle school to switch him, but up until that year his qualification would have expired in two years if he stayed in Spectrum, so she was worried they may change their minds and wanted to keep proof).

I can't believe this email recall business that's now been mentioned twice in this thread. That's completely outrageous, especially if the first email indicated eligibility and the subsequent email said the opposite, as was mentioned in at least one case. I guess everyone now needs to print any advanced learning email as soon as it arrives, lest it be recalled. Wow.

-Seattle parent

Ken said...

FYI for parents waiting on results,

Yesterday we received via postal mail our eligibility letter. This letter included our Cogat screener score and our achievement score. Apparently he took the IBTS test as the scores were listed under this test. So at this point we've received the email and the postal mail, so I guess our process with AL is done! :-)

It has been an "educational" experience. The school district does need a serious post-mortem on the process. I'm glad its done for us -- although I do sympathize for those of you who have gotten far less communication. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting Ken! Was it obvious where they made the "cut" for Spectrum - screener or achievement scores? Was the screener score a single score?

Waiting

Ken said...

Waiting,

The CogAt screener is reported as one score. All three scores (CogAt, math, reading) were reported as percentiles. Unfortunately, with just one data point its hard to draw any conclusions about what the cut lines are for Spectrum.

37 Questions said...

We are frl and we scrimped, saved, and looked for help from family. I highly recommend finding a way to privately test if you think your kid truly needs APP this yea4. If you like the neighborhood school your child attends, and they are thriving, I would wait till next year, or maybe not at all if your kid's needs can be met closer to home.

Not to be a party pooper, but if you live in the north end and your kid would attend cascadia and is currently happy with their school, I would be inclined to wait until the 2017/18 school year when the kids move anyway. If my kids didn't already attend I might have chosen not to move them until after

SouthEndMom said...

I'm very concerned to learn (from Ken's post above) that the CogAT is reported as one combined score only. When my older child tested, a few years back, it was precisely the CogAT breakdown that told me the group-testing result wasn't accurate to his abilities (the verbal score being lower than the quantitative one didn't seem right for who he was). Surely we have the right to see our child's full slate of scores on the CogAT?

(BTW, still waiting on CogAT results from Jan. 30 testing; nothing in today's mail.)

SouthEndMom said...

OH, just realized Ken was referring to the screener. Presumably the full CogAT is reported with the separate breakdowns? (Sorry for my misreading!)

Anonymous said...

South end Mom, I was told last week the email would come first. However, with the total email fail from Friday, I'm unclear if they'll even continue to send them. We could be waiting another week for a letter from the 1/30 Cogat.

Patrick said...

I'm a little puzzled by something. We applied for our two kids who will be entering 1st and 3rd grade. They're both in private school. The older child was accepted into Spectrum. She took the screener and we submitted MAP scores for the achievement. Her cognitive score was 79, but her MAP scores were 99 for math and 97 for reading. The younger one scored a 50 on the cognitive screener but her scores were 98 for math and 99 for reading. It's baffling how the cognitive scores could be so out of whack with the achievement scores. We might retest but I hear it's really expensive. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Every results season there are so many comments wondering how kids can be scoring so low on the Cogat. Please, parents, understand, it is ALWAYS possible to score lower than your ability. Add to that, this is a group test and many kinders are just not at all interested in or capable of sitting there devoting that kind of attention to an unfamiliar test in an unfamiliar/unfriendly environment with unfamiliar people. Add to that, this year the screener was just analogies. Do you have any idea how bizarre it must feel to a kinder to sit there and do an hour of analogies? Some kids might enjoy it (my younger one did) but it is not that surprising that many of the results are lower than the MAP. I wish that if SPS was going to persist in giving this test in K and 1st, that they would take the time to better explain the directions to the kids, maybe sending them home before the testing day.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear they are not using 87 on the screener as the cutoff for Spectrum, as the cut score is supposed to be lower for the screener.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that people are receiving results. We still have not received results for the full Cogat taken on 1/30. Has anyone received results from that day?

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

If you intend to enroll your children in HCC (if they qualify) I would schedule private IQ testing. Those CogAT scores are unlikely to be accurate. Testing is expensive but it will cost less than another year of private school tuition.

Anonymous said...

Our kid took the full CogAT on 1/30. We got the scores in the mail today.

The first line of the letter says their decision for whether your child has been placed into HCC. It then shows the CogAT scores for the screening form plus for seven different sections (e.g. verbal). Also, it showed the reading and math achievement test percentiles.

Best wishes.

Benjamin Leis said...

I'm closing this thread for readability.

Continue discussing here:
http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2016/03/2016-test-thread-part-3.html