Friday, February 19, 2016

2016 Testing Results Thread

This notice showed up on the SPS website today:

"Mailing Error Halts Advanced Learning Test Result Distribution 
Due to a mailing error, 348 letters of student test results were mailed to wrong addresses. The error, identified and reported by a Seattle Public Schools staff member, occurred at the beginning of a mailing of an estimated 1,200 letters from Advanced Learning.
The letters contained the following information: student name, school district student identification number, and the student’s test results and eligibility status. No other personal information was released. The district is conducting a full review of systems used to sort and mail letters with student information."


At this point at my workplace we would probably schedule a post-mortem meeting to analyze the string of mistakes, look for commonalities and see what process could be improved for next time.

At any rate, we were overdue for a thread discussing the testing results and perhaps questions about appeals. Right now, its very helpful for the other families to know when the  letters start arriving.  So if you're comfortable, please post when you receive any notice and include when your child was tested.

130 comments :

Ken said...

Wow. I think a post-mortem on the whole process this year should be done. The lack of communication, website contradictions, test date confusion, screener-only vs full required, etc... I feel like there were problems everywhere we looked.

I wish I could say I was surprised with this latest revelation.

So when are we supposed to get our test results now?

SM said...

That would probably happen at most workplaces, but guys, this is actually not worse than usual. I have had 3 children tested (one more than once back when you did not retain eligibility), and it really is this bad every year. It's a gauntlet. And this is ALL advanced learning spends their money on. It's not like they are neglecting testing and outreach for a fancy new curriculum or professional development.

SM

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty huge privacy breach--I am uncomfortable with the possibility of someone else unknown having access to my child's testing and id information. Seems like there should be more controls in place to prevent this from happening.

-Troubled

Anonymous said...

Is 348 about the number that's accepted each year? If we didn't receive a letter, does it suggest that our child is about to receive a negative result?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:08, unless you have a k-2 kid and weren't called back for the screener, I don't think you can know. I wouldn't assume your result is negative.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this part : The error was discovered Thursday, Feb. 18, by a staff member and reported.

If the letters were mailed on Feb 12 but maybe didn't go out until Feb 13, wouldn't someone have called or emailed AL when they received the erroneous letter on Feb 16 or 17?

Feb 16 is the day an interim supervisor was listed for AL.

Anonymous said...

And there was the privacy breach early in the process (November?) with mixed up names and emails for testing.

Convenient how the wording blames it on the database. Can't hold a database accountable unless, of course, someone in IT will be fired over this.

It's a systems problem. Poor education at the Gen ed level creates massive pressure on the testing process, as the ONLY outlet. (Also on option schools, which have waitlists). I do hold the AL office responsible for their failure to speak up about the insanity of the testing process, but I also hold a number of other parties responsible for creating such a frenzy to get out of Gen ed in the first place.

South Dad

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the sense that the people running the Advanced Learning program would not qualify for it?

jaded

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for them. They are hurrying and making mistakes. Sounds like the whole system is in disarray and the chaos probably causes the mistakes.

But I find their attitude in the communications (Please be patient, there are too many of you, basically) to be lacking.

Also suspicious about the timing of the discovery being not until the 18th.

Alyssa McFarland said...

We did get our child's decision letter and were surprised to see that SBAC scores appeared to be taken into consideration along with CogAT. Since the SBAC test was new as of last year, I would imagine there would be an uproar of parents concerned that their child's future schooling could be decided by results of all day, grueling tests that were new and, shall I say, "untested." Has there been any discussion about this? I'm new here.

Anonymous said...

Alyssa, can you say more about how they are taken into consideration?

Alyssa McFarland said...

Answer to Anon: according to the letter it says they look at "(a) CogAT, (b) reading and mathematics (e.g., MAP, ITBS), and (c) teacher rating." In the table of scores, there are three columns, one for CogAT, one for reading percentiles, one for math percentiles. The kids did not do MAP last year, they did SBAC. So, MAP Spring 2015 is listed as 0 (I don't know why they put 0, instead of N/A, as they didn't do MAP), MAP Fall 2015 is listed as #N/A (probably because Fall 2015 was too long ago to be considered), MAP Winter 2016 (which is blank because it hasn't happened yet), SBA Spring 2015 (I assume this is the SBAC percentile score) and ITBS (which is also blank...I don't even know what that is). So because nearly all these score slots are either blank, zero, or N/A, and the only one showing a score is the SBA (SBAC I guess), it looks like they are basing part of their judgment on the SBAC score.

Anonymous said...

What did you think they were using for reading and math achievement? The info on using the SBAC is right there on the AL website.

94s said...

I've got a K-2 kid who passed the October screener and did the full COGAT in January (waiting on those results now). My student's best MAP scores were from the Fall and were a pair of 94s for math and reading. Is there any chance for an "HCC eligible" outcome in this situation? Wondering if I should be trying to get some private testing lined up...

Anonymous said...

@94s. I emailed someone at AL and asked about my kid, same story. I was told he is unlikely to get into HCC with no record of a score over 95 on tbe MAP. So, we privately tested for achievement. No idea if the appeal will be granted, but we hope so.

Hope that helps your decision.

SE mama

Anonymous said...

94s, Don't forget that you have three weeks AFTER receiving your results to file an appeal. That's plenty of time to make an appointment and get any private tests that you need. It seems like a lot of parents are getting preemptive private testing, just for peace of mind. If you can live with waiting for the results, you don't need to make an appointment now. Especially since you don't know whether you'll need cognitive and achievement, or just achievement scores.

Alyssa McFarland said...

Perhaps I'm posting in the wrong place. I'm looking for discussion on test results, decision letters and appeals for 2016 HCC/APP.

I know SBAC would be considered for this year's decisions, but I'm surprised they would make children's future hang on this untested test that they thought the majority of kids would fail. So I'm just surprised more parents aren't up in arms about it. Some kids didn't even take SBAC because their parents opted them out, so now they are stuck with doing private testing.

And I'm perplexed by folks talking here about the MAP. In my kid's school they didn't do MAP last spring, so the score is listed as zero. I don't know whether to be concerned this is affecting the decision, or what.

Benjamin Leis said...

@Alyssa - This is the right place for discussion. I don't fault anyone for being confused by the communication about how the testing process works. It's been inconsistent, shifting, and generally spotty this year.

If you look through the SPS website testing FAQ section it now explains most of your questions. Although this has not always been the case. Basically, MAP test score are the achievement piece for K-2 children and SBAC is for 3rd grade+. Commentators here are weighted towards kindergarten parents which is why you see a lot of talk about the MAP test and less about SBAC. This year there was also a provision for having kids take an achievement test if they opted out of SBAC previously. Going forward if you opt out, you will forfeit your eligibility to test to enter the program.

Also older threads have more talk about the testing process especially around October when it just started up. As an aside, I had a thread in the summer about SBAC results. The short story is last year participation was very high at Cascadia which you can use as a proxy for the whole program. That was a bit surprising to me given the anecdotal activity around opting out. We'll see what plays out this year now that everyone has mostly experienced it.

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake: The SBAC scores used as achievement tests are one of many attempts SPS is making to force presumably strong academic kids to take the test. It raises the score of the district as a whole. You could see this coming a mile away. And no, the SBAC - especially last year's as a new test and one that was used in its first year by the state primarily to establish scoring levels, is NOT widely recognized as an achievement test. The use of it is baloney.

This issue was discussed on this forum and saveseattleschools forum last year. More than one parent opted out of the test knowing, although SPS had not yet announced it, that AL would use it to score into HCC. Parents who did so, and whose schools also do not use MAP (the lucky few) can submit private achievement test scores for this year. For next year, the district intends to force the usage of SBAC. Disagree? Then get busy publicly and in the HCC advisory committee. And write to Board members. The current board majority is not a huge believer in forced standardized testing and certainly will be interested to hear from multiple parents calling baloney on SBAC being used as a high stakes test, with no option to drop it if a child wants into HCC. SPS specifically advertises that SBAC is NOT a high stakes test. Again, call them out on it. Change will not happen from within AL.

Veteran Parent

Alyssa McFarland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa McFarland said...

Veteran Parent: By Board do you mean the School Board? I know their email addresses :) If you mean another Board, please clue me in.

Anonymous said...

Alyssa, when I got my kids' scores, I looked on the OSPI website where all the schools report them. You can download an excel file with raw data converted to percentiles there. They are state based (which is enough), not nationally. I agree otherwise the numbers seems entirely randomly generated. One of my kids maxed out both sections, and it was really confusing trying to figure out what happened with it. Neither of them are taking it this year, and the only way I would let them is if they needed it for advanced learning eligibility. I think a lot of people got lower percentiles than they expected, probably because the sample is different than an entirely national one- WA has a somewhat larger than average bolus of kids up at the top (in addition to a lot of poverty at the bottom), which pushes the top down a little. Maybe if they start using national rankings this year it will be smoother. Good luck!

-SM

Anonymous said...


I think SBAC (for grade 3-8) is a bad choice too. It's not only a bad test with lots of user interface problems, but your score can also depend on the testing platform used by the school.

The Bellevue school district uses the CogAT and ITBS for Advanced Learning testing for all grades. Perhaps they get more funding so that they can administer the ITBS in addition to the CogAT. It's just interesting that Bellevue can find a way to do it.

I would hope that all parents who have qualifying CogAT scores, but not the SBAC scores, to appeal the decision.

-nh

Alyssa McFarland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin Leis said...

One other note: I really encourage everyone to use an authenticated identity (these don't have to be your real names). But be aware this is a high traffic site. On a typical day right now we might get 2000 hits. So its quite possible someone that knows you and/or your child may see any sensitive data you disclose like test scores. An anonymous comment can be used in these cases if you want to protect your privacy.

Anonymous said...

By Board I mean School Board. And it will take more than one parent.
A) SBAC does NOT equal valid achievement test.
B) Forced SBAC-taking for HCC DOES equal high stakes testing.

A + B = Unacceptable

Veteran Parent

Alyssa McFarland said...

I'm ok with sharing the info publicly if it's helpful. That said, I may delete some of these posts sooner rather than later. :)

Anonymous said...

Alyssa, the school averages for Cascadia kids were not at the 95th percentile. Closer to 90/91.

Cascadia parent

Anonymous said...

You can see the data here:

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=7778&reportLevel=School&year=2014-15&yrs=2014-15

The rates are about 92-94% in 3rd-4th and lower in 5th but I think that is explained by higher opt-out numbers in 5th that were included in the averages as 0s. Its a bit hard to tell exactly though.

Alyssa McFarland said...

We aren't at Cascadia, but a North end Spectrum school. Thanks for the link. It looks like her school average for 4th grade math SBAC was 78.8%. I wonder if it would make any difference in the appeal to point out how much better than she did than others at the same school.

Anonymous said...

A link to OSPI's testing statistics page (click on the Frequency Distribution Report for 2015):

http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/TestStatistics.aspx

The file I viewed had only grades 6-8 shown for SBAC...scroll to 95%ile range and you will the corresponding scale score for that grade. You'll notice the tail end is truncated, and a significant number of results are lumped at 100%. This is more easily seen on the scale graphs.

Grade 4 math SBAC (Washington State):

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/WASLScaleScore.aspx?domain=SBAC&schoolId=1&reportLevel=State&year=2014-15&gradeLevelId=4&groupLevel=District&waslCategory=1&chartType=2&yrs=2014-15&subjectType=201

Grade 4 math SBAC (Seattle Public Schools):

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/WASLScaleScore.aspx?domain=SBAC&schoolId=100&reportLevel=District&year=2014-15&gradeLevelId=4&groupLevel=District&waslCategory=1&chartType=2&yrs=2014-15&subjectType=201

AM, the cutoff is 95%ile, so an appeal is unlikely to be successful unless other achievement scores are at 95% or above. The previous link from anon@2:23 shows percent passing. "Percent passing" is not the same as percentile rank. If you look at the scale scores for Cascadia, not all students tested at the 95%ile, even though most "passed" with a 3 or 4. You have to take into account that some students could really care less about testing once they are in the program.

You can see there is quite a range of scores:

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/WASLScaleScore.aspx?domain=SBAC&schoolId=7778&reportLevel=School&year=2014-15&gradeLevelId=4&groupLevel=District&waslCategory=1&chartType=2&yrs=2014-15&subjectType=201

Kimberly said...

Can anyone recommend a private testing facility and give me an idea of the cost involved?

Anonymous said...

Is there anything that can be done for a child who isn't meeting the 95th percentiles for "academic performance" (as measured this year by SBAC)? We have had our child tesetd for APP/HCC multiple times. He consistently scores between the 97th and 99th percentile on the CogAT, but also consistently scores at 90th p-tile on state-administered academic tests. School is easy for him. His teachers have consistently talked about his depth and creativity. These are aspects of intelligence that are not tapped in the state programs. He also recently gave in on an ADD diagnosis and he began meds to help in class focus. The timing was shortly before the SBAC last year.

Not Accepted

Anonymous said...

@not accepted. Have you considered private testing for achievement? Not a guarantee that he will score differently via private testing, but perhaps one-on-one testing will help him focus?

Anonymous said...

Is there private testing for achievement? I thought you could only private test for IQ. Any resources welcome as our clock is ticking.
Thank you!

not accepted

Lynn said...

Did you see the names listed on the advanced learning website?

http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14649

Anonymous said...

Not accepted, yes, the providers on the list that Lynn linked to can all do achievement testing as well as cognitive.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea we could have the MAP or smarter balanced given outside of school. I thought this was only possible for CogAT, and that's never been necessary for our son. We unsuccessfully appealed one year with teacher letters. The district response simply told us that our son did qualify because he did not meet the 95% cut off, never mentioning that we could have other MAP testing. I even spoke to someone on the phone, and there was no hint that outside MAP testing was possible.

Thank you! I feel so foolish/uninformed for not realizing that we could have someone else administer the school performance tests.

not accepted

Anonymous said...

not accepted, the private tests wouldn't be MAP, but would be nationally-normed achievement tests like the Woodcock Johnson.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Any indication of when the next batch of correctly addressed letters will go out?

Thanks!

SE Mama

Anonymous said...

Can anyone clarify whether the KTEA-III test will be suitable for the Appeals process, for math retesting? I see KTEA-II on the Appeals page but not KTEA-III. I have emailed Advanced Learning but I don't know how long it might take them to respond, and I have to know ASAP. Thanks!

Cat Mom

Anonymous said...

AL needs to update their Testing Updates on their websites. According to them, all the testing dates have now passed. There is still outdated information which only causes more confusion and is probably generating hundreds of emails they need to answer personally. For example:

Emails were sent yesterday to all students who have not taken the CogAT (3rd-8th) or the CogAT Screening Form (K-2nd) OUTDATED and posted without a date

Since CogAT testing is already scheduled on Saturday Jan. 30, there is no further capacity for achievement testing on that date. There will not be any achievement testing on Saturday, Jan. 30. We will send new achievement testing dates and times early next week. OUTDATED and posted without a date

I wish they'd post a daily update at this point. It would only take a few minutes, yes?
They said screening results from 1/23, full Cogat results from 1/30, and achievement results from early Feb would be back by 2/18, but they are not. Parents are asking for an update on their mailings as well.

Anonymous said...

Who is serving on the MSC, Stephen Martin or the interim supervisor?

(3) A certificated coordinator/administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district's program for highly capable students

Anonymous said...

Yes. The KTEA III is an updated version of the KTEA II. The II is no longer administered.

Advanced Learning has not updated that page.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:25. That is a really good question. My question is whether they are moving forward on the identification process without Mr. Martin. If they are, who is making decisions now? Not just the selection process, but who is deciding how to complete the testing?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone received results from Jan. 30th full Cogat testing?

Anonymous said...

Or any K-2 screening results?

SouthEndMom said...

Still haven't received ours from Jan. 30 full CogAT (and today's mail just came).

Anonymous said...

As of Friday evening, they didn't yet have the scores back from 1/30.

TC

Anonymous said...

None yet. AL did confirm yesterday that screening scores from 1/23 have not been received.



Anonymous said...

Parents that have used cognitive test results from a different state (state wide test- NNAT and OLSAT) for appeals- have they been successful?

So Confused said...

I am so confused. My son is in private K and did the screening Cogat in the fall. Received notice from SPS that he needed achievement testing so he did that in early Feb. We never heard back that he needed full Cogat. I assumed his Cogat was possibly qualifying for HCC because otherwise in K they do not need achievement testing. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

So confused, my guess is that they are still waiting on your son's private achievement scores, and if those meet the threshold, they will still schedule him for the full Cogat. Does that make sense?

So Confused said...

SPS administered the achievement testing so they may not have results back yet? Still seems odd to do it in that order...

Anonymous said...

It does seem that they are doing achievement tests before Cogat for private school students. Probably saving the Cogat for last because it is the most labor intensive for staff.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but curious which private schools people would leave to attend HCC if qualified, and if there are some people would stay at regardless.

-DataDriven

Anonymous said...

So Confused, based on experience, I wouldn't assume anything with SPS. There may be some logical reason, there may be an oversight, or there may be an error. You'll only really know when you get all of the scores back at which point you'll have three weeks to do something.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about your hypothetical exactly, DD, but I do know that at the elementary and middle level, there tend to be a lot of kids coming in from ASB, Villa, Epiphany, Evergreen, Pacific Northwest(Montessori), other small Catholic schools, and sometimes Meridian. People stay at all kinds of schools for all kinds of reasons, though, so I would think families with HCC kids might stay many places. It depends on what your kid needs. I think the private school that gets the most HCC kids applying to go is Lakeside, but just a lot of people apply there.

OnTheFence

Anonymous said...

Lakeside has been very good for my older APP kid (we may also send our younger APP child if they get in). There is definitely a cap on how many APP kids they let in because they are drawing kids from all over the metropolitan area, even as far as Tacoma and Bainbridge Island. Kids are doing long commutes to go to that school.

I had one former APP teacher tell me that they thought the best private schools for APP kids are Lakeside and Holy Names.

-polka

Anonymous said...

More specifically, I am trying to find out which private schools may not do a great job at accommodating gifted students. From OnTheFence's reply, it sounds like the Catholic schools might fall into that category, although I am sure that it is not universally everyone's experience. I imagine most of SCDS' students are HCC-qualified but I don't know if many of them leave for HCC. Interesting to hear that people leave Evergreen for HCC as it is tailored for that population. Of course, people leave for financial reasons (private schools are very expensive), but I imagine there are other reasons as well.

Anonymous said...

Based on curriculum alone, Evergreen is a poor fit for HCC kids that need 2+ years advanced work. Evergreen offers +1 year advanced curriculum, so it may work for children whose needs align with Spectrum. Evergreen tuition is $20k+/yr, so the extras were not worth it for us and certainly the curriculum was seriously underwhelming.

Wallingford mom said...

Veteran Mom (or any others);

Where does SPS publicly/explicitly say that SBAC is not a "high stakes test" and/or "not widely recognized as an achievement test"?

Also, has anyone heard of (or directly experienced) success in getting an appeal approved without submitting private testing data? In other words, a successful appeal based solely on teacher recommendations/grades with qualifying or 1 percentile off qualifying cognitive test results?

Many thanks for any wisdom you can share.

Anonymous said...

Based on curriculum alone, Evergreen is a poor fit for HCC kids that need 2+ years advanced work.

The same could be said of middle school HCC!

Anonymous said...

Anything today in terms of letters? Has anyone emailed for an update on whether the 1/23 or 1/30 scores have been returned?

Anxious

Anonymous said...

Given that the AL department is running on temporary workers I don't expect any results anytime soon. The department is obviously in disarray. I don't like it but I don't think flogging this dying horse is going to help.

Yes, I do think the AL horse is dying BTW.

Veteran Parent

Anonymous said...

It may be running on temporary workers, but who is serving on the MSC, making the eligibility decisions and considering the "5 data points"?

MSC?

Anonymous said...

Look, if you want to get into HCC on anything other than straight COGAT/SBAC scores, you might as well go the private testing route. The 5 data points? It may be on the website. It may even be employed. But is it ever used to bring a student into the program, especially if the student is not a minority? And now with the AL head on leave? Show me that student.

Veteran Parent

Anonymous said...

Based on curriculum alone, Evergreen is a poor fit for HCC kids that need 2+ years advanced work.

The same could be said of middle school HCC! So true! If we had to do it over again, we would have looked more seriously at private school for MS.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an idea on when we will learn if our appeal was accepted? We have the data via private testing to back it up. But between having the fill out the school choice form and this, we will be waiting in eager anticipation on the "official word." It would be nice to have a ballpark date to look forward to.

Cat Mom

Anonymous said...

Cat Mom, most of us haven't received our initial eligibility letters yet. I'd expect they must make those eligibility decisions before turning to appeals.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at the data here and wondering if the wait list applies to HCC? I've heard that they "have to" accommodate HCC students as they are considered "special needs" so when I see, for example, a school like Hamilton where it looks 64 choice forms were filled out last year and all 64 appear to have been waitlisted, does that apply to those who have chosen Hamilton HCC? Does anyone have any insight?

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/2015-16/2015%20Choice%20Datav4.pdf

Anonymous said...

Those are HCC students who are in the Washington or JAMS assignment for HCC areas applying to Hamilton. That is how you get wait listed, but you always have your assignment to your HCC pathway school.

Anonymous said...

If the scores from the full COGAT from January have not been processed yet and they still have to go through the committee (with an interim Head) once all data is assembled, we'll be lucky if we receive eligibility letters by end of March.

- Speculating in NE

Alyssa McFarland said...

On the bottom of this page http://www.seattleschools.org/admissions/school_choice it says "The results of Open Enrollment will be available online in mid-April 2016."

Anonymous said...

Just got an email..."AL Eligibility Decision Notification"... "To help with your School Choice decisions in light of the recent mailing error, the Advanced Learning Office is sending this email to inform you of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee’s (MSC) eligibility decision regarding your child."

Of course I already got the letter a week or so ago, but maybe folks who haven't gotten their letter yet can look forward to an email now?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! Was that for a k-2 kid by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:49pm...it was for a 5th grade kid.

Anonymous said...

The K-2 kids are getting a bit of a raw deal this year. Taking the screener before having to take the full test. Two Saturdays. And it seems they'll be waiting the longest for results.

Anonymous said...

I am still curious how my kid, who didn't gehowalled back for the full Cogat, might have done had he been given the chance to take the full test. We got a qualifying score on the WISC, so waiting to appeal. This process has been glacial.

Patiently waiting

SouthEndMom said...

Anon at 5:55 who got the email: when did your kid take the CogAT?

For the record, I still haven't seen results from Jan. 30 full CogAT. And agreed that it's a difficult burden on K-2 kids.

Anonymous said...

My kid took the CogAT Dec 7 as I recall.

Anonymous said...

Where are people seeing an interim supervisor listed? The only supervisor I see on the AL website is Stephen Martin. Is he back?

Veteran Parent, the program has changed, for sure. It might not look like it used to. But it's required by the state and it's not going anywhere.

adjusting

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:07 for what it's worth the email I just got was from:
Advanced Learning Office Team
Janine Madaffari
Seattle Public Schools
Advanced Learning Office, Interim Supervisor
Dearborn Park International School, Principal Intern

Anonymous said...

Adjusting-

I don't think the law is as concrete as you seem to believe it is. Here is a sampling of the rules.

"RCW 28A.150.220(3)(g)(3) The instructional program of basic education provided by each school district shall include: (g) Programs for highly capable students under RCW 28A.185.010 through 28A.185.030.
RCW 28A.185.020 The legislature finds that, for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.
WAC 392-170-012 For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. School districts may access basic education funds, in addition to highly capable categorical funds, to provide appropriate highly capable student programs."
WAC 392-170-080 Educational program for highly capable students — directs districts to take student needs and
capabilities into consideration when providing services and to keep a description of individual student educational
programs on file.
"WAC 392-170-080 Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which
take into account such student's unique needs and capabilities. Such program shall recognize the limits of the resources provided by the state and the program options available to the district, including programs in adjoining districts and public institutions of higher education. Districts shall keep on file a description of the educational programs provided for students selected."

You will notice that nowhere in the law does it state that self-contained classrooms are necessary. The district could meet the requirements of the law in all the neighborhood schools. "Accelerated learning and enhanced instruction" could be done with differentiated teaching. I am not claiming that the district will actually be able to do these things, but the law is vague. Really, look at Garfield HS. There are zero HCC only classrooms there, but there are lots of advanced classes offered, something the other schools could add. The district does not need to run HCC in elementary or MS as it is done now. Changes have been coming fast and furious to the program in the last several years, and I don't think that's going to stop.

-callaloo

Anonymous said...

Anon who got the email, did it contain all your child's scores, or just an eligibility decision?

Waiting too

SouthEndMom said...

Another day's mail delivery come and gone, another day of wondering. I have a tentative private testing appointment for my kiddo; his MAP scores were just under the mark, and I'm inclined to retest if his CogAT makes the cut or is very close. If not, I'll cancel the appointment. It sure would be nice to know, as the appointment is next week (I figured we'd surely have our results by then). Argh.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, SouthEndMom. At least you've alleviated the wondering for those of us who get 5:00 mail delivery. I would feel better at least knowing whether they've gotten the January scores back from the scoring service. If anyone has gotten confirmation one way or another on that, please post.

Waiting too

Anonymous said...

for MAP scores- does AL look at the mid percentile--i was looking at the MAP score report, and it shows a percentile range with the average percentile ? in the middle
for eg: 90-95-98. So , they take the mid number (in this case 95) to determine eligibility?

Sorry abt stupid qns--but better ask rt?
Thanks

SP

Ken said...

Why is there no communication from AL? Can't we get an email saying, "We've been delayed. Your results will not be sent until 3/7. We're sorry for the delay."

Mistakes happen. I think the lack of communication or any reliable timelines, has been what is most problematic now...

Anonymous said...

SP, yes, it is the number in the middle. Usually in bold. This is the score you would see for your child on the Source as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you @anon 11.37.
SP

Anonymous said...

My son did the screening in December and was not called back for the full Cogat. I'm still waiting on the eligibility letter so I can appeal. Nothing yet. I even emailed them while I was trying to figure out whether to do the private testing, but went ahead anyways. So no word and extremely frustrated. I wish there was an option to do this process online instead.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same position. I am worried that appealing before the eligibility letter appears will only confuse ttbing, but I am still thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

And yet some families have received both a letter AND an email. We are waiting on full cogat results after passing the screener. It will be an awful lot of testing if we now need a private test.

Anonymous said...

Since i am still waiting on the letter, I wonder how this affects his enrollment. I want to get him into Fairmount but I fear the longer we wait, the less chance we will get in. The last email I received stated we can only reach out if we haven't heard by Feb 29th. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Any comments on cascadia vs thurgood marshall

Anonymous said...

There have been comments on both schools. You are unlikely to find families who have experience with both. If you've toured both, at some point you have to rely on your own judgment, and other factors, such as where you want to live.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere along the line, they changed their plan for notifications to U.S. Mail, but back on Jan 5, this was in an email update from Stephen Martin:
The Advanced Learning office will notify you via email about your child’s eligibility as scores are received and processed (late January through February). 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.”

squarepeg said...

So say my kinder kid scored 96% on reading and 99% for math on MAP tests, but no word since October screener. Can I just assume it's a no go? Honestly I'm not wedded to taking him out of his current school, where he seems to be very happy, so we're not planning to privately test. I'm honestly just curious how he did :)

Anonymous said...

Squarepeg, you can always check with AL, but I would say if you haven't heard back from an October screener, he probably didn't get 94th %ile or above.

Anonymous said...

Really! eligibility email by Feb 29th?
Are all the screening scores out? Any notifications regarding Jan 23rd COGAT screening?

Anonymous said...

squarepeg, agree with the 10:24pm post that if your child wasn't called back by this time, it means he didn't pass the screening. My child did not get called back so it was a good indication for me to go ahead with private testing. Glad your child is happy and doing well in school. My son got so bored towards the last half of the year in kindergarten, he started acting out badly to the teacher's surprise. While he may go to HCC next year, the Spectrum program he's in now is much more challenging for him and we have no more outbursts or acting out like before.

On another note, I wonder if this K-2 screening process and future changes for the appeal process are just more roadblocks that are meant to frustrate parents to the point of giving up, resulting in eliminating a mass of applicants. Each year I get so frustrated at their process and delays (my two kids out of three have been through this - and neither of them test well unless in an one-on-one setting).

Anonymous said...

Its interesting to note that as of 1/21/2016, the FAQs on the Advanced Learning website said that the kids that passed the screener would only have to take the remaining subtests. That was changed between 1/21/2016 and 1/30/2016 to say those passing the screener would have to take the full test. The full test in one sitting with no extended break or lunch was pretty darn long for the small kids. The original FAQ makes one wonder whether Advanced Learning knew what they were doing when the came up with the original plan.

As of 1/21/2016: "All K-2 students are administered the CogAT Screening Form, which represents one third of the full CogAT and includes the analogies subtests from Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal Batteries. " "students who reach the 94th percentile on the screener will automatically be invited – in mid-January -- to take the remaining subtests that complete the CogAT 7"

Lynn said...

From today's Friday Memo
Highly Capable Records Breach: 300-400 parents received the wrong mailer in regard to potential placement. As soon as that was known, Stephen Nielsen and Jacque Coe worked with the HCC staff (Stephen Martin is out on medical leave) to verify the numbers and communicate with parents and media. Yes, we had a records breach last year due to an error in sorting spreadsheets. Yes, we did make adjustments but continue to have technical / capacity challenges. HCC processes 5000 students – closer to 10% of our SPS students than the 2% funded by the state. We are not linked into the student computer systems; therefore huge amounts of work need to be done by staff. It typically takes four months to process the new requests each year. And this year we have been pushing to speed the process up so we can do early hiring.

SouthEndMom said...

No results today.

H said...

Anon@7:48, commenting on the screener plus the full Cogat,
I actually emailed them on the day we received our appointment for the further Cogat testing and asked why the next step of testing was going to take the full 2.5+ hours when the website said only the "remaining subtests" were needed. To their credit, someone sent me a lengthy explanation right away (the current interim supervisor, I think), and they also changed the text on the website that same day. Basically they had planned to give the screener online this year, but in the end were advised against it because of problems in neighboring districts with the computerized version. With the paper version of the screener, the publisher is unable to combine the scores from the screener subtests with the remaining subtests. AL did not know that initially, and were hoping the publisher could accommodate them. Since they couldn't, these kids had to take the screener subtests twice. It's ironic that the motivation behind the screener was something like "concern for our younger students who struggle with the length of the test." They actually increased the amount of testing time needed for K-2 kids to qualify. (Though I'm sure there were other benefits in terms of cost and logistics to giving only the screener to the majority of K-2 referrals.)

It will be interesting to see whether they continue with the screener next year, and if they transition to the computerized test. I'm sure that will be fun.

Benjamin Leis said...

I'll point out one thing others may not have considered. I believe all the k-2 kids were literally administered the identical subsections of the CogAt twice because of this "oversight". Once during screening and then again during the full test. I haven't checked on what the district is going to do (I'll ask next time I have a chance) but from a testing methodology perspective the 2nd results are not as valid. Although this is actually in the test takers favor.

At any rate, for those waiting on results 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.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lynn, for forwarding the memo.

I don't understand why the student computer systems are not linked to AL.
Wouldn't linking them to the system and posting scores on The Source immediately reduce workload currently done by an underfunded staff?

I'm guessing they receive funding at 2% based on estimated school population who qualify for AL services, but much more than that apply. If they attempt to reduce the amount of children who apply, equity rears its head. If they don't cap the applicants, they will always be understaffed and behind the eight ball.

Also, it sounds like their was a vendor issue that COGAT clearly benefit from financially - all those rush orders. I actually support the use of a screener first to avoid taxing young children's endurance, but once they determined that another district was having problems with online administration perhaps that was time to course correct and switch to full COGAT vs. screener twice plus remaining subtests.

It also may artificially inflate scores, since all the children took the screener tests twice. This functions somewhat as an unintended practice test, and it's not recommended that children take the same IQ test (even partial sub-tests in this case) within a 1-2 years to avoid practice effects.

Altogether, I have empathy for the AL office. They seem understaffed and under supported within the district just as we feel as AL parents and students. Worse for them...they're sandwiched between the lack of district support and angry/anxious parents.

- Considering the Options

Anonymous said...

Of note, full battery or remaining subtests are both supported options by the publisher. See slides 60-61.

http://faculty.education.uiowa.edu/docs/dlohman/cogat7-on-the-road4.pdf

Anonymous said...

The other huge impact - practice effects mean more children will qualify than originally estimated, so more capacity issues.

- Considering the Options

Anonymous said...

5000 kids would not be applying to HCC if

1) General Education did a better job in challenging kids who need challenge in the classroom.That means offering "honors" LA/math programming from 3rd-8th.

2) HCC was not more narrowly defined into a program for the biggest outliers. Ask any HCC program person off the record. Any. Program. Person. They will tell you that the vast majority of kids currently in HCC would function well in an standard classroom if a small bit of intentionality were added to meeting the needs of standard "bright" kids. Most of our schools do not make it a priority and that is why there is a ridiculous crush of HCC applications.

3) SPS offered more specialized K-8 programs. That includes arts, music, STEM. Open those three programs, together with a full K-8 language immersion path because the current one makes no sense, and watch the HCC crush dwindle to a trickle. It's not complicated.

The mess of the HCC department will never be solved because annually trying to push 10% of SPS students through a testing process to escape the gen ed classrooms is simply not tenable. Fix the overall system shortcomings.

The state of things right now is ridiculous. It's not sustainable. It's not equitable. It is a mess. And most of the fault does not lie within HCC. It lies with their bosses, Tolley and Heath, who don't care to emphasize challenge - and equitable access to that challenge - in neighborhood and option schools.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone ever connect the constant complaints about the lower standards, challenge and rigor in the cohort with all these posts about private testing to boost kids who are just below the cutoff on the screener over the magic line into HCC? My understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, is that there is an exponential difference in aptitude and ability between 95 and 98/99. It certainly seems that there are more kids entering HCC at the lower end of the "gifted" spectrum, which is creating the enormous growth in the program and watering down of a curriculum that was originally intended (way back when) for the profoundly gifted.

Anonymous said...

Our student tested way back in 2009 and even then they said they processed 5000 applications per year, yet everyone had results by late January and could go into open enrollment with complete information. Heck, I think appeals were even processed prior to open enrollment!

Also, back then, if you didn't go to APP, your student had to re-test the following year to keep your options open, thus adding to workload. So even though total SPS population was smaller then, lots of students tested year after year. So it is plausible that they had 5000 applications per year back then and a similar amount now.

It's only been the last 3-4 years where AL has failed to get results out in a timely fashion. And any increased work from mass screening is new this year only, right? Or maybe this is the second year for universal screening by geography or grade band?

It seems to me like their performance deteriorates each and every year. Something's gotta give.

--What gives

H said...

Considering the Options @ 11:28, I think it's too big a leap to go from practice effects on the screener to worsening capacity issues. I didn't follow up with AL about the number of kids who were called back after the screener, but anecdotally it seemed low to me, and that was the first step toward taking the full Cogat.
In my opinion, by the time a kid is on their 7th or 8th subtest, fatigue has set in. (I thought that maybe scores would have actually been higher if kids hadn't had to take the full test in one sitting, but instead over two separate days using the screener, as AL originally intended.)

Anonymous said...

Any notifications regarding 1/23 COGAT screening?

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with @11:47

Tolley and Heath have to go. Nothing positive will happen in district academics until that time.

-SPSparent

Anonymous said...

H, the capacity comment was meant for the HCC program sites only, not the whole district. I disagree that it's a stretch, because retesting within a short amount of time is known to increase scores - perhaps enough to cross the eligibility threshold. It invalidates results.

Then again, most parents whose children are eligible are not going to rock this boat nor will they ever know for certain how much of an impact practice had on the results.

- Considering the Options

Anonymous said...

Considering the options, you seem to be considering HCC as one of your options. Did your child take the complete test?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:50, private testing isn't a boost, it's considered a more accurate measure than group CoGAT testing. A child who gets into HCC with a private test is not necessarily on the lower end of the spectrum, and many are profoundly gifted. It also gives parents a more complete picture of their child's ability to succeed in the program.

Pro private

Anonymous said...

@1:11. Tell that to the HCC and Tolley brigade. You do realize that they are trying to cancel private testing in the name of equity next year, right? If you don't speak up now you can forget this option in the future.

I agree that if the district would care about serving all kids in gen ed instead of the putting the bulk of the focus and dollars on serving underachieving students, then we wouldn't all be elbowing to get into HCC.

Equity Has Many Faces

SouthEndMom said...

To the comment about private testing: my older child was unusually verbal for his age—and yes, I know that many parents say that about their kids, but even in that field he was noticeably unusual, and got surprised comments from adults who worked with kids on a regular basis (teachers, childcare workers, pediatricians). So when his CogAT showed very high quantitative scores and just moderately-high verbal, it didn't seem accurate to me. If those scores had been switched, I would've accepted it without a second thought. So I decided to have him privately tested mostly just to see if my perception was wrong or the test was. In private testing, one of his verbal scores was 99.97th percentile (can't recall which subscore that was now), and he more than qualified. It wasn't "pushing" him into it; it just seemed like the group-testing result was inaccurate to his abilities, and that turned out to be correct. Not all private testing is about trying to game the system, as you seem to think.

Anonymous said...

One of my kids had a 28th percentile verbal CogAt score and a 99.5th percentile verbal composite on the WISC. Do you think his presence in the classroom is responsible for reduced rigor?

Northender said...

With the March 1st Open enrollment deadline, how do parents without an eligibility letter fill the open choice form? For families exploring their options, that #1 spot/waitlist could be wasted.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean? I am confused by your question?

Anonymous said...

I believe Northender makes an important point. One that I have had concerns about for awhile now.

A student will only sit on choice #1 waitlist.

If results are not available by 3/1, then enrollment could potentially have a student sitting on a waitlist for a program that they are not eligible for. This also means that the student is not sitting on the waitlist for choice #2, a program they might actually be eligible for.

When news is received that the student is not eligible for #1 and #2 choice is bumped up, the student is placed AT THE BOTTOM.

Without results available before 3/1, aren't many students denied the waitlist option?

South Dad

Anonymous said...

Correct, the open enrollment last date should be a week after the results of all the eligibility and appeal decisions are known.

Frustrated

Anonymous said...

I don't think they're making assignment decisions next week. The results of open enrollment won't be available until mid-April.

Anonymous said...

But will appeals be finalized by mid April? Doubt it. I agree, open enrollment after all AL decisions.
South Dad

Anonymous said...

When assignment decisions are made only later, why is there an earlier deadline?
Why not have it later, when all the decisions have been made and known?
Making it hard on parents..:(

Benjamin Leis said...

Due to the large number of comments I'm closing this thread and opening a replacement one:

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2016/02/2016-testing-results-thread-part-2.html