You may think you know who shot me with a Super Soaker, but you might be surprised. After a week of voting, the results are in on the most ridiculous whodunit of the year! These are folks who I’ve written about this year and years past. One shocking “suspect” received NO votes. None. This is all in the spirit of fun and is not meant to offend anyone. Continue reading
The Delaware Department of Education just presented the 2017 Smarter Balanced, SAT, and DCAS-Alt1 preliminary results to the Delaware State Board of Education. Even though scores were up and down, the Department is excited by the magnificent work of… and that’s about it! As the poor guy next to me was snoring through the presentation, I listened to the whole thing. The only thing I cared about was that every district and charter school met or exceeded the 95% participation rate. Which means opt out rates are going down. Which means more Delaware parents are okay with their kids being tested, catalogued, tracked, and data shared with corporate education companies. That is nothing to celebrate. We need opt out numbers to increase and have ALL districts and charters crack that 95% barrier and plummet down to 90% or even 0% in the event of a miracle.
To see the rigorous and vigorous results (not really, just trying to add some super pizazz here), see below. Sorry, I just can’t take this test or the results seriously it all. They are about as important as wrapping paper after you open a gift.
Wow! The Brandywine School District won their second referendum attempt this year with a ton of votes and a wide margin between pass and against. With over 15,000 citizens of the district voting today, this is huge. Compare that to the recent school board elections in Delaware. I doubt there were 15,000 total votes for the whole state!
I can’t forget the third referendum that took place today. Down in Sussex County, a wide majority of voters agreed for increased taxes for the Cape Henlopen School District. While this referendum was under the radar in Delaware media, I am quite sure it was important to the folks down in this district. Congratulations Cape Henlopen!
“Depending on the grade level and subject, students scored between 16 and 45 percentage points lower on the Smarter Balanced than they did on its predecessor, DCAS.”
The above quote by Avi Wolfman-Arent with his article on the Smarter Balanced results for WHYY/Newsworks tells the main story. The results are in and the numbers are interesting. Statewide, the proficiency rate was 51.9% for ELA and 38.8% for Math. The highest rated district was Cape Henlopen with an overall proficiency of 57.2% and the lowest was Laurel with 26.3%
Statewide, the opt-out numbers didn’t go below the 95% threshold with the exception of 11th grade English and Math, with 90.5% and 89.3%. But certain districts did, with Christina at 91.8% in Math and 91.3% in ELA, Gateway Lab School at 94.6% in Math, the recent closed Moyer Academy had 85.9% in English and 87% in Math, another closed charter called Reach Academy for Girls had 89.3% for ELA and 91.3% for Math, and finally, Poly-tech had 94.0% and 92.3% for Math. For the state, the overall participation rate in ELA was 96.7% and 95.8% for Math.
What hasn’t been announced yet is the sub-groups, like students with disabilities, African-Americans, Hispanic, low-income, and so forth. Those are the numbers I really wanted to see, aside from the opt-outs. By looking at the below chart, found on the Delaware DOE website, it’s obvious schools with higher populations of these “sub-groups” performed worse than the more affluent schools. And of course, the “Charter Trio” of Charter School of Wilmington, Newark Charter School and Sussex Academy did the best. Cherry-picking has its advantages.
Even Eastside Charter School, praised by Governor Markell for their growth rates on DCAS, took a beating on this test. As did many of the other charters in Wilmington. The two charters with high populations of special needs students didn’t fare so well either. I don’t blame any of these schools, I blame the DOE and American Institutes for Research, the creator of the assessment and the DOE’s vendor and distributor. But the blame game by the DOE and Markell is already beginning, as seen in Governor Markell’s obligatory press release. Even Secretary of Education Mark Murphy who still seems to be hovering around, said to Matthew Albright in the News Journal coverage:
Murphy said the goal is for parents to use those results to have more informed conversations with their teachers. If a student scored a one or a two, parents should seek extra help for their kids in the subjects they’re struggling with, for example.
“It’s not like all the answers lie in the Department of Education,” Markell said. “Many of the best are in the districts. And, in the end, they have responsibility for their own schools.”
As the accountability gun is pointed at their heads…Sorry Jack and Mark, the test was forced on students by the Delaware DOE and the US DOE. But the DOE will not take any blame for this test whatsoever. Instead, they want to point fingers:
As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Delaware partnered with other states to develop the Smarter Balanced Assessment System. Delaware educators have been integral to many aspects of the new assessment system, including question development, standard setting, report development and the creation of professional learning resources for teachers. In spring 2014, educators and students across Delaware participated in the successful national field test of new assessment items and the accompanying technology.
Now we will see the schools and districts rushing to get all those kids “college and career ready” so they can get the very high growth portion on the upcoming Delaware School Success Framework, otherwise known as the school report card. But what they may not be counting on is the anger about half the parents in this state will feel that their kids weren’t proficient on this test. All that time and energy, designed for one test, and their kid is just not good enough. But don’t despair parents. Your kid should not be measured based on one test. You do have a choice: REFUSE THE TEST!
Finally, after the long agonizing wait, we will know how students in Delaware did on the newest state assessment. Today, at 2pm, Governor Markell’s office will release the 2014-2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment results. This has been an exercise in patience Delaware. Today, we know. If you are a credentialed member of the press that is. And when you get them, it is still embargoed information until the official results are issued tomorrow. That’s right, even the press will know before parents. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many bloggers with press credentials either. Get ready for the coordinated spin on these predictable disastrous results… I wonder though, will I still get the official mailing in mid-September since I opted my kid out?
On Friday evening I posted a picture of a not-so secret email from the Delaware DOE that was sent to all Delaware Superintendents and Charter heads concerning Smarter Balanced Assessment results and timetables. As well, it had sources parents and citizens could look at online to get more information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment and Common Core. But one thing it had that I have heard reference to is this mysterious “toolkit”. This is a link in the email that gives districts “templates you can adapt, such as presentations, robo call scripts and letters, as well as background information on Smarter.”
If anyone has taken a trip down the rabbit hole and into this magical “toolkit”, let me know. I am very curious as to what all this looks like. I’ve heard there is reference to teachers getting blamed for the test because they gave possible material for it. Like I said last week, don’t believe the future hoopla. It’s all been carefully designed by the Delaware Department of Education to get the blame shifted off them. Most of you know how to reach me…
They say a picture paints a thousand words. This one paints well over 200,000. That will be the words of the Delaware parents of the 133,000 Delaware public school students when they find out the Delaware Department of Education has INTENTIONALLY been holding on to the scores of the Smarter Balanced Results AND when they get the results in the mail in a month. That’s right, a month. But the districts will start to get data on Monday. I’m sorry, in what world does this make sense? I would think with ouster of Mark Murphy they would start to wake up, but with what I’ve seen SINCE last Friday, they are getting worse…
To the 148th General Assembly, if you don’t begin to reign this Department and Governor Markell in, we the people will make BIG decisions on Election Day 2016. My advice, call a special session, override House Bill 50, pass emergency legislation to get rid of Smarter Balanced, pass emergency legislation to dismantle the leadership of the Delaware DOE, and start impeachment proceedings against Governor Jack Markell…