Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 Testing Results Thread Part 4


This is the 4th part to this thread continuing the discussion on the test results for this year. 

Thread Part 1

Thread Part 2

Thread Part 3

Update: Test Scores on The Source

"Eligibility decisions are being made daily. When the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee makes a decision regarding a student’s eligibility, test scores are posted in The Source. Families who have not yet received a decision letter can access their student’s scores on The Source."

I found the new AL page on the left hand side under the Library and Schoology options. It only seems to show the status i.e. HCC/Spectrum and not CogAT scores.

As of 3/28 CogAT scores are now there for at least kids who took the full test.

I'm hoping this will be the final installment in this year's testing saga. 

204 comments :

1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

1/30 1st grade CogAT. Finally received official letter with scores today.

Anonymous said...

How did screener compare to full?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting, my kid passed easily the requirements for HCC, but would not have qualified in Bellevue. Of note, they require a 99 on the screener in K/1. In grades 2-8, all three subtests (VQN) have to be high (2 at 98 or above and 1 at 95). In SPS, the composite scores can carry you in even if the subtests are slightly lower.

https://www.bsd405.org/programs/gifted/identification-process/

Anonymous said...

And WOULD qualify in Mercer Island SD
http://www.mercerislandschools.org/cms/lib3/WA01001855/Centricity/Domain/109/Highly%20Capable%20Matrix.pdf

Anonymous said...

Our first grader experienced a huge disparity between the CogAT screener and privately administered cognitive testing (62nd percentile CogAT vs. 93rd percentile WISC). The WISC was consistent with child's mid-high 90's on MAPs.

Anonymous said...

Our CogAT Screener and Full were exactly the same, both cases HCC qualifying.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, there is no score to the left of the Screener on our Eligibility Letter, but there are scores listed for all the sub-tests as well as the composites.
Did this happen to anyone else?

- Curious

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant the column to the right.
- Curious

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
Our CogAT Screener and Full were exactly the same, both cases HCC qualifying.

March 20, 2016 at 3:57 PM"

Is "Full" the VQN composite?

Our screener score was the same as one subtest, higher than another, and lower than the third. The composites were the highest, all at 99.

Anonymous said...

I took out last year's letter and the only difference in the eligibility criteria is under Teacher Input. It used to say CONSIDERED for all categories of advanced learning, but now it says HIGHLY ADVANCED for HCC and ADVANCED for Spectrum. I wonder why they changed it?

Anonymous said...

I wish you all would refer to the scores as the student's/child's//kid's scores rather than "OUR" scores. Back up the helicopter, folks, it will make life a lot easier when your individual child needs to individuate!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 5:08pm: The letter with scores is addressed *to the parents*, so that's why people, including myself used the word "our".

I wish you would give others the benefit of the doubt, and add something to the discussion that actually benefits the group.

- Curious

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Curious (March 20, 2016 at 6:51 PM). What we discuss in this Thread is if the kids are treated in a fair way for their education needs.

SouthEndMom said...

Mail came. Still no letter, no email. I feel like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football.

Anonymous said...

SouthEndMom, I had luck emailing the interim head directly. Maybe try that?

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 11:00- did the interim head provide any insight as to when people may hear? Have you received your child's eligibility decision?
-trying to be patient

Anonymous said...

Another K parent here with still no word.

-Eager K parent

Anonymous said...

Posted in the March Open Thread but relevant here too:

From Save Seattle Schools: Proposed changes in the SP 2190, Highly Capable and Advanced Learning
https://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2016/03/proposed-changes-in-sp-2190-highly.html

Changes to appeals, pathways, etc.

good fit

Appealed said...

We received our letter 3/11 and I sent in my appeal with a self addressed return envelope the same day. Received self addressed envelope return stamped 3/16. I am reassured they received my appeal, but am wondering if anyone has received an appeal decision, and if so approximately how long was the turn around?

Appealed

Pickle said...

I dropped off the appeal for my daughter at the Stanford building on 3/11. Haven't heard a word...

But I am guessing we were on the earlier end of notifications (I received an email on 2/29 and a letter with scores on 3/5 - for a K student who took the full cogat on 1/30). I would love to hear if anyone has received a response!

Anonymous said...

I walked my kid's appeal in on 3/4, haven't heard anything

springflowers said...

Sent in my kid's appeal on 3/2. Haven't heard anything.

Anonymous said...

Kindergartener took full coat on 1/30. Received score report in the mail today. hope everyone else hears soon too!

Anonymous said...

Does everyone expect that the appeal decisions will be the same as in other years? Meaning the scores will be good enough? The language on the teacher input section has changed so it may be worthwhile to get a teacher letter.

Anonymous said...

FYI,there is a post on Save Seattle Schools blog regarding proposed changes to HC and ALO services. Sigh. All this effort spent on testing - but what is the program that we would ultimate have access to?

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2016/03/proposed-changes-in-sp-2190-highly.html#more

ALO yes

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous March 19, 2016 at 9:40 PM
Anonymous said...
How did screener compare to full?

Just received the decision letter from AL. Screening score was 97. She got qualified for HCC with Verbal 93 and 99 for the others. Seems likely a strong Teacher rating is quite important.

Anonymous said...

Anon @8:23

Why do you assume that? Were your child's test scores lower than the levels required to qualify? If so - can you share which score was below the threshold? If the scores met the requirements, it's likely teacher input was not a factor.

Anonymous said...

Got letter today and my K is HCC eligible. Happy about the eligibility, but primarily happy to have some end to this part of the process.

This is off-topic, but do any experienced parents have advice for new HCC parents regarding reaching out to other parents? Transitions can be tough and it'll be much easier if my kiddo knows someone in his class. For our Kindergarten class, everyone proudly announced their presence in the class. I'm hesitant to say anything to people, but would like to figure out a way of identifying our cohort for next year.

Lynn said...

Which school will your child attend next year?

Anonymous said...

Emailed them last Tuesday about having not received any result, got a reply on Wednesday saying the letter was being sent out that day, and received the letter today that my son is eligible. We took the second test on 1/30. I was surprised there were so many test scores. Do they all come from the two tests he took at Cascadia? Is there anywhere I can find out what those test scores refer to? Is the teacher assessment done by his current school teacher or the teacher administering the test? Anyone can answer any of these questions is very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

@Lynn
Re my post at 8:57, my child would be at Thurgood Marshall.

-Second south-end mommy

Lynn said...

We are not at Thurgood Marshall - but I'll bet someone who is will fill you in on welcome events.

Good luck!

SouthEndMom said...

I finally got an email from AL today (perhaps because my earlier one had been CC'd to the Ombudsperson), telling me of my son's eligibility decision (Advanced Learner, which I already knew) and saying the score letter had been printed today and would likely be mailed tomorrow.

To "Second south-end mommy," TM will have some "welcome" events probably over the summer; I can't remember if there's anything before the end of the current school year. (My older kiddo is a student there, but it's been several years since that transition.) You could email the PTA via http://tmlink.org and someone should let you know about what opportunities are available.

Anonymous said...

@ anon, March 21, 2016 at 2:40 PM

I can't find the language that points to a stronger emphasis on teacher input, can you point me to the link? We appealed on behalf of our son, who has qualifying private scores for HCC. I didn't include anything from his teacher. I wonder how much weight can be given to that aspect? Wouldn't a teacher letter be highly subjective? Perhaps it is more likely used in borderline cases?

Anonymous said...

On the back of the score report letter, the teacher input column for HC has changed from "considered" in all previous years to "highly advanced" this year. Whether they will actually require it for appeals, who knows?

CascadiaMom said...

At Cascadia there are usually regional welcome events (NW, NE, QA, Magnolia) and playdates for each grade during the summer months. The goal is to help parents find kids who live close by for car pools, playdates, etc. There are also numerous welcome and orientation events.
At Cascadia, every grade and every class have many new students every year, so integration of new students is part of the culture of the school. If you join the Facebook page, you will see some of this, or can help organize over the summer.

Anonymous said...

An update: I posted on March 11 about receiving a letter saying my child wasn't eligible for AL and was only sent CogAT screener scores when she had taken the full CogAT. I questioned that, and finally heard that my child is indeed HCC eligible and I have now received the full CogAT scores confirming this. So quite the turn around. I guess the lesson is, question AL if something doesn't seem right, and especially if you are only sent Screener scores if your child took the full CogAT. I honestly don't fault the staff, as I believe they're doing their best, but the system they have definitely needs to be reviewed.

Formally Fed Up

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:59 March 22
and
anon March 21, 2016 at 2:40 PM

I just emailed advanced learning and was told the following, in response to my question about teacher input in the case of appeals:

"If the test scores meet qualifying thresholds, no additional teacher input is necessary."

Hope that this helps!

SE mama

Anonymous said...

We just had the experience of having our son take the full CogAT, then getting a letter with only a screener scorer saying he didn't qualify. After asking why it why the full scores weren't there we received a second letter with all the scores and now he did qualify. Moral of the story, you should double check if you're in a similar situation and I'm not sure whether to trust any of the info as being accurate.

Anonymous said...

@cascadiamom -- could you share the link for the cascadia Facebook page please? I tried searching for it, but it only popped up other elementary schools, not the cascadia in Seattle. Thanks so much!

--Bob

Anonymous said...

My child qualified for ALO but not HCC. Scored 99s on MAP tests (both math and reading). I am thinking about doing private testing but feel very conflicted. I wonder if private testers tend to give parents what they pay for...qualifying WISC scores for kids who don't truly belong in HCC. Maybe my child wouldn't qualify even with private testing; if that is the case, I can stop thinking about HCC and just focus on making the most of his current school. If he does qualify, I think I'll wonder if he truly belongs. Any thoughts out there? I wonder if anyone knows what % of HCC kids get in on appeals?

Lynn said...

I think you are doing a child with those MAP scores a disservice if you do not do private testing. If nothing else, you will gain an understanding of just how poor of a fit a general education classroom will be.

To answer your question, notes from a Curriculum and Instruction committee meeting:

Dr. Martin mentioned a possible review of the AL eligibility appeal process. Director Peters asked how many students had appealed in the past year, how many were successful, and the breakdown of the numbers by race and ethnicity. Dr. Martin provided these figures:

493 Intentions to appeal (were filed)

6 African American students
46 Asian American students
21 Hispanic students

268 White students

Less than half of the appeals were successful. (198 out of 493 = 40%) By race/ethnicity: 1, 23, 8 and 166 respectively.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/C&I/2015-16/November%209,%202015%20C&I%20Minutes.pdf

Anonymous said...

If private testers just gave parents "what they pay for" they would lose their licenses. That's important to keep in mind. They are professionals, and you can trust the results of a private test. It really will give you a better picture of your child's abilities. And qualifying scores will always lead to the kinds of questions you are contemplating, whether they come from a group CogAT or a private WISC.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:32

We appealed with private testing for our older child, and I have never once wondered if my child truly belongs in HCC. The move was the best thing for her, and she is doing great. I get the trepidation around spending the money on the chance that your child doesn't qualify, but even if he doesn't qualify, the information from the private testing is very instructive. That said, plunking down several hundred dollars is not chump change for a lot of us. Good luck in your decision, but I think you don't have to worry about "buying your kid" into the program.

Anonymous said...

Re: the appeal numbers

The number of students who appealed adds up to 341, not 493, so something/group must be missing. If it is 341, then 198 out of 341 is 58%

The number of successful appeals by white students is 166 out of 268 = 60%

The number of successful appeals by Asian students is 23 out of 46 = 50%

The number of successful appeals by Hispanic students is 8 out of 21 = 38%

The number of successful appeals by African American students is 1 out of 6 = 16%

Anonymous said...

I have a six year old first grade who received qualifying WISC scores for HCC (and was close on the Cogat). However, his MAP scores are in the 85th percentile. Private achievement testing gave him scores also in the 85th percentile for grade norms but 95th percentile in Math and 94th percentile in Reading for age norms.

We have decided to send him to private school next year instead of staying in public, but am hoping he'll qualify for HCC for sixth grade. I'm curious if others have found a big gap between age and grade norms like this and if it tends to even up as your child gets older (our son has a summer birthday and is the youngest in his class).

Thanks,
Summer

Anonymous said...

Summer,

My son is also a summer birthday and the youngest in his class. In Kindergarten his MAP was in the mid 80s. In first grade, fall MAP had him low 90s, and spring MAP had him 98+ on both reading and math. His WISC this winter (2nd grade) had him with HCC qualifiying scores (CogAt no). We are currently in appeal, but just a data point for an HCC qualifying score (on the WISC) kid with a summer birthday.

CascadiaMom said...

Here are the Cascadia PTA and facebook pages. Due to so many name changes and location changes, we have just left the name as SNAPP (Seattle North APP).

http://seattlenorthapp.org/
https://www.facebook.com/seattlenorthapp/

Since people seem to be asking more about Cascadia, I will say that for a giant school, it is very well run. We came from a community elementary school with 300 students. We have found Cascadia to be at least twice as organized with 800 students as our small school was with 300. Even this year, when we added 200 students, the school administration had clearly and carefully thought about flow, dropoffs, schedules, meals, recesses, PE and Art, and created a system that worked well. So I have been very satisfied that, although my child attends a huge school, it's a school that is capably administered.

Anonymous said...


We moved from a state that had a school enrollment cut off date of Dec 31st. My kid's birthday is in late December and is currently in 1st grade, though by Seattle standards, should have been in kindergarten.
He took the test this year and qualified for HCC (took the MAP tests for 1st grade and COGAT). When I attended the school tours, I learned that there is also age criteria in addition to scores., so he would be put in 1st grade again.
Any parents in a similar situation? any thoughts or experience on being younger than your peers in HCC class. He has had no social adjustment issues in his current class.

Pickle said...

I'm curious - have you heard that it is possible to get an exception in your child's case or has anyone here received one in the past? The age requirement for APP was one of the reasons I didn't pursue early K admission for my fall birthday child, so it would be nice if they made it clear that exceptions were allowed.

Speaking from personal experience, skipping grades in school did not make up for not having an advanced learning program.

Anonymous said...

Curious about the age issue as well for a similar reason - young child with early fall birthday. Advanced learning website and early entrance to kindergarten used to state that you would need to be in the age-appropriate grade for HCC and could not go young but it no longer states this anywhere I can find. Maybe that is just old news being carried forward at the school level during tours and no longer applies?

Really impatient now said...

Heads up: if you are trying to contact advanced learning don't use the email address found on their website advlearn@seattle.... Instead use the address provided in previous emails: (alsupportanalysts@seattleschools.org). Still waiting on scores from 1/30/16

Anonymous said...

Just saw this on the Advanced Learning site:

Test Scores on The Source

Eligibility decisions are being made daily. When the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee makes a decision regarding a student’s eligibility, test scores are posted in The Source. Families who have not yet received a decision letter can access their student’s scores on The Source.

I don't see my child's scores there yet, but maybe some of you will have better luck.

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! There is an "Advanced Learning" tab on The Source! Why oh why did it take so long?

My daughter's test scores aren't there but it does say "Highly Capable" under Result.

Does anyone know if this means the teachers can now see the eligibility results?

Anonymous said...


Anon 3/22 at 10:32 asked: I wonder if anyone knows what % of HCC kids get in on appeals?

To clarify, the appeals percentages provided above by Lynn are the percentage of those who appeal who get in--in other words, appeal success rates. This is not the same thing as the percentage of those who get into the program who did so via appeal, if that's what you were looking for. However, I don't think there's any evidence that those who get in by appeal are any less qualified for or successful in HCC or AL than those who qualify the via the district-provided testing, so I wouldn't worry about that (if that was your concern).

Anonymous said...

Summer,

Last year we had our late spring kindergartner privately tested for reading achievement around February. The "age-normed" score was about 10% higher than the "grade-normed" score. I only know this because I specifically asked. First time round, the tester just gave us the "age-normed" score without indicating that's what it was, and said that's what he's been submitting to the district for 15 years.

We did testing again in first grade, and there was virtually no difference.

Late Spring

Anonymous said...

Where dod you find the tab?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous at 4:38p

re: Test Scores Posted on The Source

Awesome catch! Thanks for letting us know.

Anonymous said...

If one multiplies 493 (number of appeals) by say, $500 (average to low amount per private testing session with licensed psychologist), it is nearly $250,000. That is quite a shadow economy operating on appeals. I imagine if the appeals process is changed, the psychologists will be the sorriest to see it go.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what percent of testing is for APP versus learning issues or private school, though. And, psychologists do more than testing

Anonymous said...

"shadow economy"??? Because they're doing their jobs--what they're trained and licensed to do, and what insurance companies often pay them to do??? Interesting interpretation.

Anonymous said...

That might be the average to low amount for IQ testing but there is no way to know how many of those appeals were based on private reading or math achievement testing, district-provided IQ testing or even winter MAP scores.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing an Advanced Learning tab on the Source.

Anonymous said...

But we also don't know how many people privately tested and did NOT appeal because the scores weren't high enough. I imagine that is a significant number in addition to the 493 families who actually appealed.

Lynn said...

Of course we don't know that because it's none of our business.

I get the impression anon @5:59 finds this scandalous and wonder why. There is nothing immoral about paying someone to help you understand your child's cognitive or academic strengths and weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

I imagine a fair proportion of those test appointments are for both private and public school, not just public school appeals. These are people who are finding their current school is not working, and the people I know well at least are usually looking at a few options. I don't think that amount of money spread out over however many testers, mitigated by the number of people who are doing it for private school anyway(or just there own information) is really enough to justify a conspiracy on the part of the testing industry.

I really, really wish we would collect some data about how students who have appealed do in the program, even just over the first couple years. It would just be so easy, and settle this recurring blog fight once and for all. But we don't have any. We really don't know if it has any effect on the program.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

How would it be "just so easy?" What data would you collect, standardized test scores? How would you control for other variables?

Anonymous said...

Yes, test scores. Maybe referrals for services for kids who are behind at HCC. There are so many more of those now at Cascadia- I am bummed that we no longer generally use specialists for kids who are ahead, at the one school I think should focus on those kids. I suspect it is because the school is just so large now that the raw number of kids who need catching up fills up the specialist time, even if the percentage is the same, but that is definitely a change that has happened since we started there. I don't *think* the number of appeals has gone up that dramatically or that it has had a substantial effect, but especially since they are talking about changing the appeals process I would like to know(and because I think they have this data on each child already, so they just have to put it together).

What variables should I control for? I am just looking at the difference between kids who appeal and kids who do not. Do you mean whether kids who didn't do well in the group testing setting also have need more support in the accelerated program, and that shouldn't mean anything? I think that is useful information. Or what if kids who are more sensitive to the group testing situation(and so appeal in) have the most improvement in their scores/grades after receiving services(going to an HCC school)? I think we should want to know that, too.

I should say most of why I want them to do this is I am pretty sure they are going to change the appeals process. If they are doing that I think we should have some data, or rather use the data they have. I find that more motivating than just a desire to shut down a common blog commentary fight.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

If the program has no truly advanced curriculum (our experience with middle school HCC), what would you really be measuring? I'd be more interested in trying to quantify what value the program offers to any student enrolled, appeals or not. The lack of writing instruction, advanced reading materials, or any coherent progression of content knowledge continues to baffle me.

Anonymous said...

My experience(with both now) is that elementary is accelerated; middle school is at least a partial repeat in LA. I don't have a gen ed middle school comparison point. I think we could see both with data we have. I also think the lack of curriculum is ridiculous and frustrating, and has now led to a way too easy middle school humanities program except in the hands of a few rogue teachers. Math generally remains accelerated though it is technically unlinked. I would hazard a guess that middle school HCC students show growth in math, but that their reading scores stall (and so they obvs need a curriculum which is accelerated). But we don't know. I don't think they should go out and collect more data or test the kids again. Just look at what they have. Maybe it will be just noise. But they are making all these changes- I think they should at least try to see what is currently going on.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I think the elementary appeals data would be noise, I really do. I'd eat my hat if there were trends from year to year. Kids who enter on appeals do not come in as a tight little bundle of data. There are kindergartners entering on IQ test results and 5th graders who needed a private reading achievement test. The reading MAP doesn't even come close to measuring reading fluency in K-2, and underestimated it in upper elementary (when it was used, not anymore) because of a lack of alignment with curriculum. I really hope they continue to allow private achievement tests. I would not lose sleep over eliminating K/1 IQ testing appeals, except that it is not fair to leave those kids to squander while the neighborhood schools catch up to them sticking around. But I do believe the neighborhood schools would be forced to quickly catch up with the demand.

Anonymous said...

Received notice that my kid is eligible for HCC but now we're facing an extended absence during next school year (husband's sabbatical). Does anyone know if my kid would retain eligibility for HCC for the following years if he doesn't attend next year, or would he have to be re-tested? Can anyone point to the relevant language online?

Thanks!

Pickle said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/students/academics/advanced_learning/open_enrollment_information/

At the bottom, it says that kids retain eligibility as long as they are enrolled in SPS. Not sure if that applies to your case.

Anonymous said...

I think there is no way neighborhood schools will change what they do based on demand. There's been incredible demand for years, with no movement; movement in the opposite direction, actually, towards the same page for all kids on the same day. It has to be top down- parents have no input most places. And anyway this needs to be systemic. We can't just have advanced learning where principals or teachers "feel like it." Students in neighborhood schools deserve advanced learning options because it's part of basic education.

So I think changing appeals is deciding not to serve some students. If what we are offering now is literally nothing, I guess who cares if we stop giving nothing to some kids. I don't think that's the case, and I think some data would help. If HCC kids really are not outperforming their peers- up the rigor. (Please) If kids who appeal in get more from the program than another group, I would like to know that. If appealing has no effect on how the kids do later, I would like to know that. And if kids who appeal in consistently have a harder time than kids who don't, I want to know that too. Without data the district can change anything they want at any time and spin a narrative about who they are "helping." I wonder how the dismantling of Spectrum would have gone if we had known something about how the kids were doing in it.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the CogAT scores the district provides are only percentages. They don't provide the stanines or the IQ type score (130 or whatever). Is there any way to get that information? They seem to do the same thing for the MAP scores. Thanks!

--Bob

Anonymous said...

For those interested in comparing traditional IQ scores and the CogAT scores: my son easily qualified for HCC. His teacher told me she wouldn't be surprised if he got the highest MAP score in the state in Math and all his CogAT percentages were 99th percentile. I had him take the WISC-IV and he only scored at the 96th percentile overall. I was pretty shocked -- there's pretty much no way the WISC score is right as he really is a prodigy (the psychologist said he was "overthinking" a lot of the answers and that might have contributed to a lower score). Still, interesting data point, private testing is definitely no slam dunk.

-Trinklefeister

Benjamin Leis said...

There is no direct translation between CogAT and traditional IQ scores. to quote from the publisher:

"CogAT is not an IQ test.
Intelligence tests differ from CogAT in two critical ways: 1) intelligence tests sample a broad range of abilities in addition to the reasoning abilities that CogAT measures, and
2) intelligence tests are normed on the entire population whereas CogAT is normed on that subset of students who attend school and can take a group-administered test.
Because of the potential confusion with IQ tests, score reports shared with parents
should give national (and perhaps local) percentile ranks—not standard age scores."

Anonymous said...

sleeper, I don't have anything against crunching data on HCC outcomes, but I think you're chasing the wrong issue breaking it down by appeals/no appeals. What about kids who qualify in first versus fifth? Kids who got one 95 MAP score but the rest were 80? Kids who took an IQ test in K but would've passed the Cogat in first or second? It is too variable to see any trends.

Anonymous said...

Appeals/no appeals are the thing they are thinking of changing, though.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I want the district generally to make data driven decisions, is what I mean by that. If they are going to get rid of appeals, I would like to see data supporting that decision. If people want them not to, I think we should have data to support that. They HAVE some data. They don't even have to go test anyone or survey anyone. They could just put what they have together. At least it would be something.

Separately I think data could be useful for many things, including program efficacy and the need for a middle school humanities curriculum. But the original comment was based on the fact that they hope to get rid of appeals next year (hoped to this year but did it too late).

-sleeper

Benjamin Leis said...

One more note: there must be an appeal process for qualification to HCC. That's part of the WAC state code that governs the HCC program. However, the appeal process does not need to accept outside testing (which is what was almost eliminated this year). All the other districts that I checked Bellevue, LWSD, Issaquah, Shoreline have a much more restrictive appeal process.

For instance Bellevue will allow an appeal only based on:

* Specific criteria related to the testing conditions
* Misapplication or miscalculation of the scores

And to close the circle on what was mentioned a few months back: because of this policy CogAt prep-centers are quite big on the eastside.

Anonymous said...

I wondered about that "testing conditions" part though. Couldn't it be interpreted pretty broadly? Like if a kid had high achievement scores and a high WISC, but a 60 on the Cogat, couldn't a parent make a case about the testing conditions?

I'd hate to see Cogat prep taking off here.

Anonymous said...

If there's no significant correlation between the CogAT and traditional IQ scores then the district should decide which is more likely to predict success in the HCC program and go with that. I'd support eliminating appeals in that case, with some minor exceptions for underrepresented minorities.

--Dan

Anonymous said...

You could make that case, but according to the survey Advanced Learning sent out to the other WA districts, only 9 districts out of 77 allow private test results as even part of an appeal. We are unusual in that way, and this survey is the data they are going to use to get rid of them. Unless we have SPS specific data, they are going away. All of the arguments about private appeals being necessary in general ring a bit hollow when most districts don't use them. They also use the same tests we do(group CogAt and MAP/SBAC). http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2015-16/March%2011/20160311_FridayMemo_T&LUpdate_ALsurveyOctober2015.pdf

I know I have said before that I am ambivalent about appeals, but I am definitely against making sweeping changes to student service identification processes without checking the data you ALREADY HAVE on likely effects of those changes.

I think CogAt centers being big on the east side is a little more cultural than appeal policy specific- many hothousing industries are (Kumon is much bigger there too). I don't think they are big all across the state, and mostly other districts do not have appeals.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Sleeper,

if almost no districts allow private testing appeals, then that makes my case even stronger.

--Dan

Anonymous said...

@trinkle,

If your child scored at the 99th percentile on the CogAT why did you have him take the WISC?

Anonymous said...

Maybe, Dan, but we don't know which test predicts success in HCC. We could, if we defined success as test scores, but the district would have to tell us. But that seems separate from what the rest of the state does.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Why the assumption that kids who test in on CogAT vs private testing (or vice versa) are inherently better prepared for HCC? My kid is in HCC (via appeal) and we were wringing our hands over whether he "belonged". I asked a teacher if there was a noticeable difference between kids who get in via CoGAt vs private testing and she said she can't pick one out over the other. We'd all like to think our kids are these amazingly unique beings (to some extent they are!), but I have been in the world of learning for a long time (PhD) and grit and motivation go far in predicting future success (sometimes more than how you did on a one-time cognitive test).

Anonymous said...

I am interested in this topic and posted in the wrong thread before. Here is what I said

I can tell you that taking away private appeals would limit the ability of many recognized or suspected 2E kids to access HCC. Limiting access to their general education cohort runs afoul of federal law. Take away private appeals for this segment of students, some of the most underserved students in this district I might add, and let loose the OCR complaints and lawyer calls.

Then there are students who simply cannot handle a mass testing situation at a young age.

Taking away private appeals in the name of equity would only cause more inequity of the program.

Anonymous said...

@sleeper, I agree that we don't know which test best predicts success. At least I don't. But one probably does, and the district should make a case for using it.

I don't think limiting appeals runs afoul of federal law. We've already established that SPS has fairly liberal policies regarding appeals compared to other school districts. It just makes sense. Far more than 2% of the students here qualify for HCC. That's too many, and it hurts the kids who are truly exceptional.

I will write a letter to my representative and larry nyland encouraging limiting appeals. I encourage you all to do the same.

--Dan

Anonymous said...

The Cogat, if you are willing to accept it for its stated intended use, is the appropriate test for an academic program.

From the Parent Guide:
"The CogAT is a measure of a student’s potential to succeed in school-related tasks. It is NOT a tool for
measuring a student’s intelligence or IQ. Rather, it measures the reasoning skills that have developed
during a student’s educational career, even though they have not been explicitly taught. These general
cognitive skills are not specific to any content area, but are skills that are used in all areas of a student’s
academic experiences. The CogAT also measures general “school skills,” such as the ability to listen,
follow directions, and focus attention."

Anonymous said...

But you just said you don't know what predicts success. How do you know the CoGat isn't also pushing us over the 2% threshold (though that 2% argument is a flawed one on which to base a change in appeals).

Anonymous said...

I said I don't know, but someone does. If nothing predicts success, than what are we doing this at all for? I do believe the top 2%, however, is a good threshold. When 3 or 4% or more qualify then the program is way too diluted. Ultimately, it will result in the death of the program because no substantial differentiation will be possible.

--Dan

Anonymous said...

The 2% seems high when viewed as a percentage, but it's not really that high. It's 1 in 50 people. 4% is insane -- 1 student per classroom will qualify for the program.

Anonymous said...

I asked a teacher if there was a noticeable difference between kids who get in via CoGAt vs private testing and she said she can't pick one out over the other.

...maybe because only AL should know who tested in on appeal, not teachers. It was my understanding that CogAT scores are not part of a student's record. Teachers can only speculate about who went through private testing (unless a parent shares the info with the teacher).

Anonymous said...

In some cases, while the correlation between group tests and individual IQ tests is quite high for average scores, that correlation almost disappears for gifted scores. This means that an average child will score very similarly on a group IQ test and an individual IQ test, but a gifted child may not score similarly at all. There are small studies showing that group tests may even result in a negative correlation for some gifted children.

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/why_test.htm

Anonymous said...

SPS allows students to take the CoGAT over and over for years. So it includes the students who are over the threshold, but it also will include students who are technically at the 97th or 96th percentile. There is a distribution each time and students will sometimes score high and sometimes score low. If you allow people to take it over and over and don't have them requalify, the students that "accidentally" scored high will be included even though they shouldn't be according to the criteria.

Anonymous said...

Consider the difference between group and individual tests. In a group test, the questions are written and fixed, and designed for the average person to answer. This might be no problem for an average student, or even a moderately gifted student, but the gifted student sometimes reads more into the questions than intended. For example, let's say the test asked which one of these did not belong, and offered three fruits and a vegetable. Most students would pick the vegetable. But say that 3 of the 4 names of the items, including the vegetable, were 6 letters long, and one of the fruits had a 5 letter name. Then which one should the gifted child pick? To further complicate the situation, 3 of the 4 are grown in sub-tropical climates outside the U.S., while one fruit grows in the cold northwest. Now which should the gifted child pick as the "odd one out?" While this isn't a real test question, it is not unusual for gifted kids to struggle with the seemingly simple questions on a group intelligence test, because they see so many more options and details than the average child. And on that group test, when the child gives an "unusual" answer, the tester is not there to prompt, "Why did you choose that?" or "Which one do you think the average student would select?"

Consider also the difference in distractions in a group situation. The student next to you finishes first, and you aren't even on the last page yet - you panic. Or you've finished the whole test before the rest of the class. Or the proctor is walking around, or turning pages, or snoring. There's a class on the playground outside the window... or a plane... or a beautiful spring day. The scratching of the other kids' pencils is loud and distracting. And while it is true that all the kids taking the test are exposed to the same distractions, consider... The nature of the gifted child is that she takes in knowledge at a faster rate than her peers. But it is not just knowledge - she takes in everything faster, deeper, with more feeling. Even her senses deliver data to her brain faster - hearing, touch, sight. Those classroom distractions are more distracting to her than they are to her classmates.

For all these reasons, group tests tend to underestimate the gifted, more than the average child.

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/tests_tell_us.htm

Anonymous said...

I hear all of your concerns, and some about the group testing are no doubt valid. That said, I also know that SPS is an outlier in allowing appeals and that (many) more than 2% of students are HCC qualified. If the test is invalid, particularly for gifted students, then it has no business being the test. But something needs to be done to clean up this mess. There are too many special snowflakes getting in and finding that they look alike.

-Dan

Anonymous said...

Or Dan, Seattle is full of well-educated parents so it shouldn't be a surprise that more than 2% of children are Highly Capable.

Anonymous said...

I might believe that if students were getting one bite of the apple. Instead they are getting around 10 if they maximize it. With the achievement score requirement the percentage would be less than 2%. Also, research suggests that exceptional parents don't necessarily have exceptional children.

-Dan

Anonymous said...

What should HCC look like for you? I assume your child would be in this improved program, so can you speak to that from your perspective? I am trying to figure out what people are not seeing in the program that they wish they did.

Anonymous said...

Dan - Take your special snowflakes crap somewhere else.

http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v20/n1/full/mp2014105a.html

Anonymous said...

With the achievement score requirement the percentage would be less than 2%.

Not so, Dan. That would be true it the criterion was that you had to score at or above the 98th percentile of SPS students, but we're using nationally normed tests. You would expect scores to be higher--and for there to be more high scores--in WA.

It's similar to how there are different cutoff scores for different states for National Merit Scholar eligibility criteria (top 3% in your state). The PSAT cutoff to qualify in WA is about 6th highest in the nation--about 100 points higher than what's required to qualify in the lowest states.

Anonymous said...

Awesome that someone finally pitied the poor souls in AL enough to put some effort into linking them up with the Source. Sad that they are still putting out half-wrong information. It's written in a few different spots that the "test scores" are on the Source, but it's just the eligibility status that is there. Why is it so hard to get the details correct and stop posting misinformation?

Anonymous said...

The AL office needs an efficient administrator who doesn't get bogged down in creating new rules every freaking year and instead plans and prepares for the testing process and implements the existing policy.

Anonymous said...

We just found out that my kindergartner is eligible for HCC. Likely we will move her to Cascadia, but we are not completely sure. I am wondering how others on this blog approached their child about explaining what HCC is, why she is changing schools, etc. Did you give your child any choice about moving to HCC (seems silly to give a 6-year-old that kind of power).
I'm also curious what % decide to move their kids to HCC (vs staying in neighborhood, option or private school). Do most parents choose HCC?

Anonymous said...

So, will results of appeals also show up on the Source?

SE mama

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 11:58, give yourself a name if you are asking questions. There was a thread in Feb about choosing HCC elementary. Start there. Also, you may think it seems "silly" to give a six year old "power" over a decision, but I think it's "silly" not to consider whether your child feels that they need a change and how strong their feelings are about a disruption in these early years. As well, there were these thoughtful posts by BL and sleeper:

Benjamin Leis said
These are the some of the questions we considered.

What are your child's strengths in school?
How is their existing peer set working?
Is he/she bored in particular subjects?
How will they deal with a rapid compaction of the math sequence?
Do you want an environment with a lot of emphasis on writing earlier on?
Would switching schools in the earlier grades vs later be easier to handle?
Are their opportunities we would take advantage of at Cascadia that would not be available at our home school?

Cascadia is moving- maybe splitting, maybe not, next year. If they do split, there will be significant turmoil, and your kid might feel like they are starting over twice in two years. If it doesn't split, honestly it will be pretty bad the following year. 800 something 1-5th graders in a building made for 600 something. I would make it work for another year, and then see where it lands. 2nd or 3rd grade is a great time to move, if you do. Just when things start to ramp up, and you'll know better if the curriculum is inappropriate for your kid or not, whether maybe mild underchallenge is worth the community and other benefits, or whether your kid really needs to be more challenged to be happy at school. There are both kinds of kids; not every kid who qualifies for HCC is necessarily happiest there. Right now age differences and random personality profiles make such a difference in how your child seems to be doing relative to the class.

-sleeper

Pickle said...

On appeals: When we toured Cascadia, the 1st grade teacher was talking about walk to math and actually said that there were all levels, even at Cascadia, because some kids got in on appeal. Let's hope he doesn't know which kids are there on appeal.

Also, we appealed on the 11th of March and received a letter from AL yesterday. It was not a response to our appeal, though, and instead just a repeat of the letter they sent us three weeks ago. So that was super frustrating. Anyone else get anything similar? I'm wondering if they have a decision but sent the wrong letter. I can't get an account on the source, I guess because she's in private school (although she has a student id).

SouthEndMom said...

Anon at 11:58: I probably wouldn't give my child much of a choice at that age, though I would certainly listen to her thoughts and concerns and answer all her questions. Six-year-olds change their minds daily and don't know how to think for the long term (or even next week)—but at the same time, if you decide to switch, it is a big change and you'll want to give her all the support and comfort you can to help her be ready. When my older son was going to switch, we said it was because he was ready and able to take on bigger challenges at school, and this program would give him more to do and think about.

Also, one good piece of advice from the TM principal at that time: don't say, "Just try it out and you can always switch back if you don't like it"—because in the principal's experience, that gives the student a reason to not fully engage, in the hopes that they can go back to their neighborhood school. (Of course, many families decide that the neighborhood school is the right place—that's not to say that it isn't. Just that, if you're going to make the switch, try to do it wholeheartedly.)

Meanwhile, although AL said my (younger) child's letter was supposed to go out in Tuesday's mail, here it is Friday and it still hasn't arrived. So very frustrated.

SouthEndMom said...

Also wanted to add: My older kid has been in HCC for five years now and I've never encountered a family who regretted switching in. I'm sure they exist, but I think it must be unusual. Usually what I hear (and what we've experienced) is great relief from the kids when they realize they're with their peers.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, anon at 9:52 was not me.
That first grade teacher at Cascadia was my child's best academic year by far. He is more rigorous than average, and incredibly well liked. They do get incoming kids' achievement test scores and can see whose achievement scores are below the cut off, plus after the transition parents often ask how their kid is doing and will say whether they appealed or not. No conspiracy or invasion of privacy. Just professional teaching. Teachers SHOULD be aware of the range of abilities in the class. And there is a broad range. Someone above asked what an improved program would look like- I would like to see specialists and pull outs primarily used for kids who are ahead, not kids who are behind. No idea how to get there, especially whether appeals would make a difference. I suspect size is the issue, so I hope the school splits. I do think testers should stop submitting age normed achievement scores. They should be grade normed only. IQ should be age normed.

Also,I know a ton of people who have regretted moving and moved back or to something else. I think Cascadia is maybe more to take on than TM- bigger, under constant fire, etc.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I see pullouts at Cascadia for kids who are behind mentioned a few times. Helping out in three classrooms between 2 kids I've somehow managed to miss this happening? I'm only personally aware of pullouts for IEPs.

Pickle said...

Sleeper, are you replying to me? Were you at the same parent night to know which teacher I am talking about? I don't care how well like he is, I think it was a pretty crappy thing to say about kids in his class and as a teacher of adults I would never say such a thing. To me, it indicated that he thinks that math is a greater sign of academic prowess (or however we are conceiving of it here - intelligence?) and that the kids who appeal in don't have as much of it as the non-appeals.

My daughter's appeal is based on her reading achievement scores, which were abysmally low while we know her to be reading several grade levels ahead and the private tester confirmed this. I would not have said she particularly talented in math but she got 99s there. So is she going to be marked as an "appeal kid"? If she doesn't do as well in math as some kids who are clearly prodigies because her talents are more in the verbal arena, will that be a confirmation of those beliefs?

Anonymous said...

I think it's me mentioning it, and I am sure it's not iep's in the cases I am seeing, and it's definitely happening. Just kids who need a little help catching up. Perfectly reasonable(a kid can belong in HCC and have a gap), but the sheer number has overwhelmed the system. Or something.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Pickle, there is only one male first grade teacher. I have no idea what your kid is going to be marked as. The achievement scores are a data point. They'll see them, and it will be part of how they assess your child. If it was an off day I am sure that will be clear. I believe the test scores have some usefulness, though. It's why I support a whole separate program for kids who have certain ones.

More of the kids at Cascadia are into math. It is just a thing, no, not a judgment but much harder to differentiate, and noticeable when the level is inappropriate. If a kid appeals on achievement scores and can only get there on age based and not grade based- yes, that is going to cause a wider range of current achievement.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

"Most of the kids at Cascadia are into math"?

Really? Methinks the efficacy of data collection on that one needs a look.

As does the attitude that kids getting help in classes means they don't belong not just at Cascadia but at any school. The job of a school is to bolster learning. Not to be hall police for parents - looking at Ben here - who think 'other kids' don't belong in their classes. How dare you. Doesn't matter if any single kid is 2 standard IQ deviations away from their classmates on either end of the scale. Or 2 standard deviations away in normative classroom behavior. Or whatever other guide parents want to use to prove that their kid belongs and the one next to their kid does not. At this rate general ed classes look like a marginally and I do mean marginally better choice than what I'm hearing from some of the Cascadia commenters. I also am seeing the light on why no one downtown seems to want to deal with the HCC parent community. A few outspoken and flat out wrongheaded parents spoil the program for the bigger barrel. Unbelievable.

Ranting

Anonymous said...

It is math heavier. I have a theory about why- it is harder to differentiate math in a gen ed classroom, so more kids who are math heavy leave and LA/ss kids stay. I have heard at every single curriculum night(and it has been a lot now)that the kids there seem to struggle more with writing and sometimes language arts, not with math, "these kids just whip through the math." No, not all kids. Generally.

Sigh, the very next thing I said was that it was perfectly reasonable to have gaps and be in hcc. However it is an accelerated program. It is supposed to be accelerated. I would like this program- if no other program in the whole district- to concern itself greatly with the kids who are way ahead, to put resources there. I don't expect a gen ed program to be able to deal with kids who are 5 and 6 years ahead(though maybe it instead of cascadia should with kids who are a couple years ahead in one area and not the other. It doesn't, now, though, so HCC is the only advanced option, which is pretty cruddy, I think)

But, lucky us, we have a large enough population that we have enough of those way far ahead kids that they can come together and theoretically be educated. If we are not doing that at Cascadia(and we are not), I think that is a problem we should fix.

-sleeper

CascadiaMom said...

Just my 2 cents: most of the issues that students have entering Cascadia in math have to do with where they came from. If they came from a weak elementary school where they didn't get many challenges, they many be seeing a lot of things for the first time, whereas some in the class have had more exposure to more advanced math concepts. Since students enter Cascadia at every grade level, this happens every year.

My daughter is in the "lowest" walk to math group in her grade. She is doing fine in math and is doing the work 2 grade levels ahead. Her MAP score in math has been 99% every year. It was a relief, however, to have her learn math with students who were also being exposed to the material for the first time, rather than sitting next to someone who had already mastered that skill. Her group takes more time to do new concepts. The other math class with more advanced students is working on the same material but they are about 3 weeks ahead, they spend less time if everyone in the class "gets it". This is really differentiation, and I think it gets great results - the more advanced kids are not bored, the less advanced kids still learn the material but get it at their pace. At the end of the year they have all completed the math book for 2 grades ahead.

I think some interpret this stratification to mean that some are "less qualified." But from what I have seen there was no one in the class unable to do the work - as with all classes, some get it faster, some get it slower.

Another example: in secondgrade at Cascadia, half the class already knew their times tables and half the class didn't. This did not reflect anyone's native math ability, just their prior exposure to this skill. By the end of the year, everyone knew the times tables.

You can't fault kids for the neglect that they received at their previous school!!

Anonymous said...

Sleeper, how many, if you had to guestimate, are 5 and 6 years ahead? What does that look like to you? Calculus by 5th grade?

-intrigued

Benjamin Leis said...

Admin note: I want this to be a place where parents speak their mind freely but at the same time remain respectful of each other and our different opinions. This is a hard line to walk sometimes. I also appreciate at times the blog functions as a place to vent (which is fine in my book).

I almost wrote something previously but it looks like the commenters de-escalated on their own. Please remember that its easy to read motives into others comments that weren't intended and on the flip side to try to be thoughtful in what you write.

Anonymous said...

Poster @3/25. @12:50 PM, very insightful point.

As for mathy students who are 5 years or more above above grade level, those are very rare. By the time they are done with MS, they are tackling linear algebra and proof writing. I only know of one student like this in the area. HCC and PRISM aren't the answer for these students. They need individual accommodation at the university level. These are the ones you read about or profiled as 'geniuses' or prodigies.

HS parent




Anonymous said...

Hrmm. No idea, just that it's lots of kids. Most of the the top (of 3 in that set) group in walk to math in a third grade year was bored and should have been doing more, according to the teacher and kids/parents. 12 out of each group of 72? So 120ish, since we have a little more than 720? That is a near meaningless guess, though. I think you do not have to continue linearly along the curriculum, but could do AoPS, number theory, all kinds of things. I just want them to keep learning how to learn new math concepts so when coasting on being clever at math runs out(and it will), they don't freak out and choke. Or base their identity on math being "easy" so can't hack it when it is someday hard. I can imagine different projects for LA, too.

I think of achievement (what you are concretely aware of and ready to learn next, so often which "group" you should be placed in) and IQ/cogat(the pace at which you are expected to pick things up) are very different, and definitely don't think anything about who is where other than that the kids who are very far ahead are currently being ignored. Honestly in my house the child who is the least academically successful will probably be the most successful in life- in part because they more easily slot into classroom learning and working hard and are learning all the really good stuff you learn when the curriculum is appropriate.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I don't think 5-6 years ahead is really so rare in early elementary, though it becomes rarer. It just means done with arithmetic. They'd have to be pretty self motivated to do high school math on their own, though, so I agree, rare by the end of MS.
Sleeper

Anonymous said...

BTW, if you have a very mathy kid, try MIT opencoursework. There are free on line courses for the motivated DIYs. Good luck:)

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-06sc-linear-algebra-fall-2011/

HS parent

Anonymous said...

Sleeper I don't disagree with many of your points. Your insider anecdotes (of pullouts skewing toward kids who need catching up, teachers saying most of the kids in the top group are bored, asking to review the huge variety of kids who appealed) etc are off-putting. As was the earlier dismissal by someone else (who never returned to answer questions) that the top group of walk to math was essentially pointless. I've had teachers of the top group too and I never would've ended up in that conversation with them about the top kids being so very bored. Maybe it's me and my well-served kid, but that attitude certainly wasn't reflected in their teaching either.

Insider too

Anonymous said...

@ intrigued, I'm not sure if you were asking a serious question or being snarky, but if calculus is generally thought of as a 12th grade class, 5 years ahead would mean more like calculus in 7th grade, not 5th.

Anonymous said...

Your tone police is off putting too, but that's blog commenting. Fwiw the top group being bored us not remotely insider, was a curriculum night in front of several dozen parents, and I'm not the one who asked. Actually all of the things you mention were various public statements by teachers. Nothing "insider."

Sleeper

Patrick said...

Pickle,

We also received a letter this week after having appealed. Apparently the AL office was concerned that not everyone had received their initial decision letters, so they erred on the side of sending out letters to anyone they were concerned might not have received it the first time. I was told this was not a decision on the appeal as no appeal decisions have been made as of yet. That conversation happened yesterday.

Anonymous said...

@ anon @ 2:00 pm. Not being snarky, at all, I was really curious.
-intrigued

Anonymous said...

@ Insider too, if the way they are providing math differentiation is that the top grade gets to go a little faster but has to stick to the same 2-yr-ahead curriculum, why is it "off-putting" for sleeper to claim that many of those in the top group are bored? There are a lot of those kids who probably entered MORE than 2 yrs ahead in math, so putting a ceiling on their "learning" at 2 yrs sounds pretty boring to me. My kid would have been miserable!

seattlemama said...

Pull outs at Cascadia happen for different reasons at different times. Sometimes they are for kids who have IEPs and need/require the extra help. Sometimes they are kids that can be really disruptive when frustrated so it is a huge help to the teacher and the rest of the class that they are pulled. Sometimes a teacher may give anyone in the class who feels like they need extra help the option to go. It is a really helpful option to have this and both pullout teachers I have interacted with are great.

Pickle said...

Thanks for that information, Patrick. Glad to hear it wasn't just a passive aggressive way of giving us a final decision!

Anonymous said...

Did they give you a sense for when we can expect to hear back re: appeals?

SE mama

MC said...

I don't have a dog in this fight as we went back to homeschooling after a year of HCC, and I don't know about "most kids in the top math group" but to address sleeper's comments, I can say that my child was extremely bored in the top walk-to-math group at HCC, and learned almost nothing. He is now a 3rd grader doing AOPS pre-algebra, as well as other enrichment topics. His preparation may be unusual, but I certainly think many other HCC students would be cognitively capable of this level work if given the chance.

For the record, I would have been fine *without* acceleration beyond 2 years if the highest math group had included greater depth (complex word problems and problem solving for instance), enrichment topics like number theory and probability, or math circle type collaborative work. We found the rest of the curriculum at HCC ok for challenge, but a little lackluster and underwhelming. Great community of teachers and parents though, and don't think most people will regret switching if their child is bored at their neighborhood elementary school.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that kept our kid from HCC eligibility was a math SBAC ranking of 94% from last spring. Is this his ranking relative to other kids in Washington? I'm wondering if his % would have been high enough if he'd been compared to kids across the nation.

--So close

Anonymous said...

Regarding kids admitted on appeals, my older child tested in to HCC and has been a middle-of-the-road student for four years, sometimes struggling, never failing, never shining. My younger child missed one CogAT score by one point, and we had her privately tested. She's thriving in her third year at Cascadia--and is a bit more advanced than her brother who tested in the first time.
--Appeals anecdote

Anonymous said...

It seems like every year there's a conversation like this, where hundreds of comments center on the possibility that there are "unqualified" kids in HCC. As a parent whose child has been in this program for years, I truly believe that this discussion has no benefit.

I'd take your agitation and pour it instead into advocating for more robust programming for HCC (and for all students, really). And think about the challenges ahead -- Garfield is going to go away as an option for many HCC kids. Middle school HCC is already an unfocused and splintered thing. I know that it seems very far away to people, but elementary school goes by in a quick minute. And I'm sure you'll want the pathway for your child to be clear and meaningful. There's work to do!

veteran

Anonymous said...

Thank you, veteran!

SE mama

Anonymous said...

This is intense. They have "put, literally, hundreds of candidates in the gifted programs in Bellevue" and other eastside districts.

http://bigbrainseducation.com/itbscogat

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to second/third/777th putting to rest the myth of the "private testing" kid.

I had two kids run through HCC. One tested in on his own. The other missed by one point on one test, and the AL office actually encouraged us to send kid #2 through private testing since everything else was off the charts.

Kid #1 failed almost everything. He was the example that many adults use to say "underprepared kids get into HCC and can't perform." And yet his teachers, even as they acknowledged that he was failing every single subject, said he belonged in HCC. And he did. He was with his people. He talked books and science and history, learned at school and felt normal.

Kid #2 - the one who "tested in" - got awesome grades. He did well socially. His teachers noted that he both belonged in HCC and excelled at it. He was the model HCC student.

So I hear this myth of the kids who test in but can barely cope and... I graded tests, homework and quizzes for both kids as they progressed. W/ 30+ kids, teachers need help on everything. Mostly, in elementary school, the boys were flakes (with a couple of exceptions) and the girls were academic-ass-kickers (with a couple of exceptions). It's not a minority thing, it's not so much a gender thing... it's a maturity thing. Ability to handle the material is REALLY different than readiness to do so. And watching all of the kids, and their nattering about books and science, and nerd things, reminded me that ALL kids - at all levels - deserve to learn at school. My kids didn't get to do that at gen ed, but they did in HCC. They weren't challenged. I wasn't looking for that. But I did want them to have the opportunity to learn at school.

That's what I think all kids deserve - and it's also what I'm scared that SPS is slowly, steadily, reducing the chance of truly happening.

-Old HCC Parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks Old HCC Parent.

I think we just plain don't have enough data to determine whether there is any overlap between the kids who test in without appeal and those who perform well. Or those who get in on appeal and then don't fit well. And, if the appeal is based on cognitive or achievement testing or both. Without that data, we all let our individual biases show.

On another note. My kid is on appeal right now (there's my bias). Does anyone have any rough idea of when we might hear something? Has anyone heard anything? I sent a request for timeline email to the office, but no response. How long did it take in prior years?

Anonymous said...

The Source has the Cogat scores now! Just for my kid tested in the current cycle - not for my older one who tested several years ago. That kid just has eligibility status.

I believe this means teachers will now be able to identify the kids who are in on appeal of the Cogat.

Anonymous said...

Does the Source have the screener or CogAT scores for those who WEREN'T found eligible?

Anonymous said...

My kid took the screener not the full. Got ALO, not HCC. His CogAT scores are not on the source. but it does say he is AL eligible.

Anonymous said...

We haven't heard back about our kid's appeal. All I heard when I reached out to AL is that as long as we had qualifying scores, we didn't need to submit any additional teacher input. They didn't indicate when appeals will be processed.

Anonymous said...

Why did they bother changing the Teacher Rating column on the eligibility chart, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

@anon 1:03, not sure, but perhaps it was used in cases where the student is close to meeting thresholds?

M.Smith_NearGreenlake said...

Oy, very late to the party. Offtopic ish question:


We have a PG child who 4 years ago tested high/into the APP range but we changed to private education.
We've recently been doing Home based education combined with online academy.
We have a ITSB test score from this year that still puts them in that 95% & up.

We'd like to "transfer" into HCC/APP for Fall 2016.

While there's plenty of info about transferring from private school , I see nothing on SPS HCC/Adv Learning website about transferring from HomeBasedInstruction... We're discouraged.

1. Anyone here with a similar experience?
2. Is it really too late to get our child into the program (5th grade) - or is there someway, since we're new, to not have to wait a year and a half for getting gifted services ?
3. If the system is really that closed, are there resources outside Seattle SD with less lead time?

Thanks so much,

M. Smith

Benjamin Leis said...


@M. Smith

Transferring in doesn't really change the qualification process and isn't really about whether you came from a private school. Its an exception to allow families who are moving and are not here during the testing season to still enter the program without waiting a year.

So for example if you live in Seattle and you're in private school in the area, you don't transfer in, you need to test during the regular season. The same thing generally goes for home schoolers. Being home schooled itself isn't the issue but whether you just moved here or not.

If you did move here recently I'd follow the instructions of the SPS site:
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14769#19

If not, I think you missed your window for the next year but I would still inquire just in case.

Anonymous said...

Home-based education students are usually grouped with private school students in terms of entry requirements. Your child should have taken part in the fall testing cycle, but given the way requirements seem to change year to year, I'd check with AL and see if it's still possible to apply for next school year. If your child is PG, HCC may not be advanced enough, but you can part-time homeschool for more advanced work, especially if your child already has some experience with online coursework.

Anonymous said...

I received a response today from AL, which indicated that they are reviewing appeals daily and anticipate having decisions on all those currently in-house over the next couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I wonder, do you think I should confirm they have received my appeal? I dropped in in the appeals box at John Stanford myself.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:14. I did check to see if they had received my appeal (mailed it in), which led to the helpful response about timeline for appeals. I have a specific contact there (not the general email address), which developed from an earlier exchange when I had alerted them to screen shots about the many errors/conflicting information on their web pages. Sounds like they continue to be very busy processing information and are doing their best to get information out as soon as it is ready. It would be difficult to imagine a hand-delivered letter didn't make it....but of course stranger things have happened.

94s said...

Quick question. My daughter has a HCC qualifying COGAT result but not the MAP scores (pair of 94s in the fall). Does the cognitive COGAT score "expire" at some point? If it "lasts" for some period and my dauhter's MAP scores cross that 95 threshold (in either 2016 spring, fall or winter) do I just need to fill out the parent referral form and we could be HCC eligible without needing to do any more testing? Or do we need to give up two more Saturday mornings again next year?

94s said...

Went for some private testing. Mentioned my daughter's age (young) and the tester pointed out the appeals request grade-normed scores which might be tougher for a younger person. Testing concluded and I was shown a letter with 98th and 99th percentile math and reading achievement scores. Then I got an "oh no, these were supposed to be grade-normed" and all of a sudden I had a 94th and an 82nd percentile to work with. Disappointing, but I only want my kid in if she will do well. Bit annoying though to have read on here that it sounds like private testing is a crap shoot as to whether or not you get grade vs age normed scores. The tester mentioned a letter some of them received from SPS clarifying that the scores should be grade-normed. Anyways wanted to share this experience to shed a little more light on this whole "differing performance of kids who get in on appeals" conversation.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, now I am curious about other people's experience with private achievement testing. I am pretty sure our kid's scores were age-normed, based on the written narrative. Did you submit an appeal in the end? I'd be curious to see how the district decides. Note there is nothing on the appeals page that indicates age vs grade normed scores.

Anonymous said...

@94s, what achievement test was your child given?

94s said...

KTEA-II was the achievement test she was given. We won't submit an appeal. As she is significantly young for her grade I'd want her to be in "cleanly". Even with HCC eligibility we'd still stay at out neighborhood school next year anyways. The other learning from me is that the private testing mapped pretty cleanly to the MAP testing so I think we can just focus on making sure she gets those over 95 with a little more focus on the math. They are taking those 3x a year anyways which seems like more than enough testing to submit a kid to. I think I had only had one screening as a 4th grader to participate in a 5th and 6th grade gifted program when I was a kid.

Pickle said...

My daughter's letter had both grade and age norming. Although, actually, there was no grade-based norming for K for the test used (KTEA) so the psychologist did it for first graders. Hopefully that's ok since the score was still high enough.

Pickle said...

94s, is your daughter in K? I just saw that she took the KTEA as well and now I'm paranoid that the psychologist we went to didn't know what she was talking about.

I meant to say, I looked back at the equivalent thread from last year and it looked like people were getting responses in six weeks.

Lynn said...

@M. Smith

Advanced Learning staff will tell you that you're out of luck for next fall. They only allow students who did not live in Seattle when testing forms were due to test over the summer.

This is actually not the rule according to OSPI. Their website says: Identification Open to All Students Enrolled in the District

Occurs at every grade level every year

 Must include a process to identify students — not enrolled in the district during the previous year’s identification cycle. Districts must identify these students within the first three months of their enrollment and deliver services during this new or transfer year.


Here's a link to that document: http://www.k12.wa.us/HighlyCapable/pubdocs/IdentifyHighlyCapablePrintableBookmarks.PDF and another to the OSPI Highly Capable website: http://www.k12.wa.us/HighlyCapable/default.aspx

If I were in your position, I'd contact AL and ask them what the process is to request identification for highly capable services for a newly enrolled student. I'd bring OSPI into the conversation if they tell you they don't have a process.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

I'm confused because the letter I received says my student qualified as an Advanced Learner for Spectrum, but the Source says General Ed. I emailed the Advanced Learning Office.

Helen

Anonymous said...

True, "districts must identify these students within the first three months of their enrollment and deliver services during this new or transfer year." Unfortunately, that likely only means they'll ID them then provide "differentiation" until the following year, when they'd be eligible to move to HCC.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the distinction, Lynn. If M. Smith's kid doesn't enroll until next year, isn't it meeting OSPI's rules to test his student next October? And begin providing the services along with everyone else who is found eligible during that testing cycle?

Anonymous said...

Not at the current rate of testing!

3inAPP

Lynn said...

M. Smith can enroll his child now for next year. That's the argument I'd make anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have two hcc kids one is now at cascadia the other we sent private, we have friends who did the same, with their two kids.

Snowflake

Anonymous said...

How are they challenged academically snowflake? Is private better than HCC or vice versa at least in couple of areas?
How have the programs molded the kids differently?

Thanks!

M.Smith said...

Lynn, Benjamin, - Thank you!! What amazing help you've been!! When this all settled, I'll owe you a drink ;)

When exactly was that testing due date (earlier this school year)?

Yes, I'd be looking to transfer asap / this year, and perfectly willing to sit out and wait for HCC from now through June. Also willing to do summer tests if needed, I guess.

Yes, we moved out (to Eastside) and then back into the district over the last 6 months. It was a share situation with family: what ways do we need to prove past residency? (or is that even required?)

Anon3/28-3:18 : I haven't seen anything anywhere that says HomeBasedInstruction families and Private School transfers are handled the same-- can anyone concur or know from experience if this is the case? As there's not a transferring school nor a referring teacher, I'm thinking they should be a bit different. ?

Thank you again; what a nice intro to the community as a newbie :)

Anonymous said...

Our experience with private elementary in a neighborhood parochial school - the academic program was more solid and defined, but not advanced enough. They didn't support grade skipping, and they were not able to offer much differentiation on either end of the academic spectrum. When our child started to act out at home, we switched to SPS. APP/HCC has provided a cohort of peers, but we have been very disappointed in the middle school program. Public school allowed for music, more foreign language, and an accelerated pathway for math and science, yet we still do a lot of math at home (SPS math materials are weak) and LA/SS has been woefully inadequate. Did we make the right choice in the long run? We still don't know.

Anonymous said...

@M. Smith, in home-based education, the parent is the referring teacher. If you say the student should be placed in geometry, for example, then that should be the course placement. If your child is still in elementary it doesn't matter as much, but in middle school when courses are more defined, you'd want course placement to be based on prior coursework mastered. It's more about enrollment in particular classes than on placement in the program itself.

Anonymous said...

@ M.Smith,

Advanced learning applications for the upcoming fall were due October 8, 2015. "Summer testing is available only for students who move to or return to Seattle after the fall/regular assessment cycle deadline. It is NOT available for students who wish to retest, private school students who lived in the city at the time of the deadline, or students in the system who missed the fall deadline."

If you moved back to Seattle after October 8, it sounds like you're eligible for the summer testing.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

They were not challenged academically at all in private but the small social environment made for a much better fit. HCC has been much more academically rigorous. We optimized for the differing needs of our kids. The thing I value most in private is the small class size and teachers who *know* my kid.

Snowflake

Anonymous said...

Also I don't think you can generalize about "private" vs public. Private schools vary too widely. if you are just considering privates for gifted students (evergreen and SCDS) you should ask specifically about those.

Anonymous said...

We considered private or home schooling or part time home based with a private tutor as options before deciding on HCC a couple years back. At the time it looked like private tutors a couple times a week were much cheaper than private school. We are already paying for HCC with our property taxes so paying for private on top of that seemed like too much for our financial plan.
Other options

Anonymous said...

"Summer testing is available only for students who move to or return to Seattle after the fall/regular assessment cycle deadline. It is NOT available for students who wish to retest, private school students who lived in the city at the time of the deadline, or students in the system who missed the fall deadline."

The wording should be changed to read "private school [or home-based education] students who lived in the city at the time of the deadline..." I think it's an oversight on the part of those revising the language, but since it's not part of the language yet, perhaps you have some room to negotiate.

Anonymous said...

Does UCDS accomodate gifted children well? We have a child who was accepted who is highly capable, but not PG, and am wondering if it will end up fulfilling her needs for elementary.

-UCDS questioner

Anonymous said...

Just in case some are wondering, I got an email today from the ALO office saying they have over 500 appeals, and are hoping to get "most" decisions in the mail by spring break.

-AppealingMom

Lynn said...

Anon @11:17 am

The wording should be changed because state law requires the district to provide testing/identification outside of the usual process to any student who was not enrolled in the district during the nomination period. There is no provision that allows limiting this opportunity to students who did not live in the district.

Anonymous said...

So I've skimmed all 4 threads and I don't see an sewer to my question, though I apologize ahead of time if it has been answered (lots of comments).

My child did the cogat in october (vent: very first group and we got the letter less than a week ago!). We knew she wasn't eligible without an appeal because we've held her out of MAP and SBAC; she has no achievement test scores. The letter says she qualified for gened, of course, because she doesn't have qualifying achievement tests. What I don't understand is what she'd be qualified for if she had qualifying subject tests. I don't understand how to read her cogat scores. They say you have to have two qualifying cogat scores, but do they mean 2 out of the whole list, including the composites? Or is it 2 out of the first 3 scores (verbal, quantitative and nonverbal?). We've decided not to appeal as we're happy where we are, but I'm curious what her cogat score list tells us about what she qualifies for if she had qualifying MAP or SBACs, too.

Thanks!

P.S. I already have one child in HCC, but from a few years ago and I really thought it was 2 out of only 3 given cogat scores back then.

Anonymous said...

6:23,

Is your child in K? K children only need 2 qualifying CogATs (out of the list) to get Spectrum eligibility. If your child had 2 areas at 98th percentile or above in K, they would have given her achievement testing to see if she was HCC.

Anonymous said...

anonymous April 5th @ 6:23 pm

Any 2 out of the 7 CoGAT scores listed at or above 98% would earn HCC eligibility for the cognitive testing.

Yes, your memory about a few years ago is correct. I also have an older kid who qualified HCC--back in 2013. Only three COGAT scores are shown: verbal, quantitative, and V-Q Composite. Two at or above the 98% were needed and one of them could be that composite score. (I actually still have the letter. Why, I don't know!)

-Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:23, just to clarify what others have written, if she had qualified for either Spectrum/Advancer Learner OR Highly Capable on her CogAT (with two of the seven scores), Advanced Learning would have contacted you to schedule achievement testing.

Anonymous said...

Anyone receive results of an appeal yet?

Waited out

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI - we got our Advanced Learning appeal response back today in the mail on April 7th! Keep an eye on those mailboxes!

-Lis

Anonymous said...

@ Lis,

By chance, did they change the status on the Source, and when did you submit your appeal?

Waited out

Anonymous said...

Waited out: Nope, still lists her as Gen Ed on the Source AL tab.

-Lis

Anonymous said...

@Lis - thanks!!

Waited out

Anonymous said...

We received our appeal, successful for HCC, based on private achievement score. Submitted just over two weeks ago. The Source does NOT reflect the updated status.

Pickle said...

Yep, successful appeal based on private achievement score also received yesterday. Appeal was submitted March 11.

Now we have to decide whether to send her next year or wait out the move and possible split.

Northender said...

I am also in the same boat. HCC qualified in K, unsure whether it is worth to switch this year with the impending split. Three schools in three years seems like a lot. We live in the NE so likely will be split up from Cascadia.

Anonymous said...

We just got result of successful appeal (private cognitive only). Changing to Cascadia next year for third grade. Not excited about the turmoil, but sooner is better than later for my kid who is learning to be intellectually lazy.

Anonymous said...

How are families supposed to choose an elementary school with no plan past 2017?

Anonymous said...

Try choosing a high school...

Anonymous said...

Touche, anon @ 2:46!

-anon @ 2:17 :)

pogo said...

First time K parent here; feeling a little overwhelmed by this process. We just received advanced learning acceptance to our HCC appeal. This result is no change to their original decision based on district testing. District CogAT screening was a 92. Private test results were 98 percentile on the WPPSI-IV (IQ 130) and 99/99.9 percentile on the WIAT-III (reading/math respectively).

I understand the criteria to indicate that her private scores qualify for HCC and am left scratching my head as to what I've misunderstood. Appeal did include teacher letter. What am I missing? Any guidance as to what we should do for this year? What should we do differently if placed in the same situation next year?

Anonymous said...

Contact them to make sure this wasn't in error. Past posts about appeals have included cases where the appeals were miscommunicated.

frustrated with public school said...

My kindergartener took her CogAT screener in October, and we weren't notified until early March that she didn't qualify for advanced learning with scores of 72% for verbal and 92% for math. The whole validity of this process is suspect, as she scored 98% percentile in the WPPSI-IV in mid-December. Will be sending her to private school instead of continuing to deal with the frustrations of public school.

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