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Students' poor test scores prompt call for action

Original post made on Sep 25, 2015

There are no two ways about it. School administrators and board members at the Mountain View Whisman School District agreed last week that the achievement gap is a serious problem facing the district, after the first Common Core test results showed performance issues among the district's low-income and minority students.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 25, 2015, 12:12 PM

Comments (52)

42 people like this
Posted by Jody Lee
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Why dosen't the The District spend more on teaching students ie smaller class sizes, special ed help, and longer school hours instead of auditing and buildings to house them?


16 people like this
Posted by Solution is easy
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Hire more ESL teachers


43 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Wheeler "said that district officials are well aware of proven methods for improving test scores, like extending the school day and offering more training for teachers, and that she didn't think the Mountain View Whisman district would get much out of observing other schools."

1. Then why haven't they implemented these proven methods?
2. Is there really nothing that can be learned from others? If we already know everything there is to know about this then why are things so bad?


40 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

I retired from teaching public school in June, having taught 4th through 7th grade - multi subject, mathematics and world history. I took several of the practice Common Core tests and frequently had difficulty understanding what the question was asking. Other teachers had similar issues.

In particular the 4th grade mathematics test was exceptional. In perhaps a third of the questions my fellow teachers and I could not determine what the drafter of the question was asking us to accomplish - and we do this for a living!

The tests are flawed, horribly so, and should NOT be used to judge a student's capability. The current Common Core program only evaluates the capability of politicians to purchase whatever hot button item is for sale from the American Testing Company and Pearson Education.


40 people like this
Posted by I don't know
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

I don't know James Thurber. If the tests are so horribly flawed why can more affluent students do so well on them? Have you seen the scores at Stevenson? Kids there seem to have no problem.

I don't disagree that tests are only one way to measure student progress, but just dismissing the entire Common Core testing approach doesn't get at the issue here, which is that some of our students are being served very well. And others are not-- not well at all.


30 people like this
Posted by John Tucker
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Let's stop pretending that all kids have equal ability. I figured it out by kindergarten.
Some kid are smarter than others, some are taller, some have more athletic ability, people skills, etc...
Some are not motivated and cannot be motivated. We volunteered at Huff and saw it all first hand.
That the differences sort into different demographic groups makes everyone want to put their heads in the sand. how about the NFL and NBA which are vast majority African American? Are we losing sleep over Asians out performing whites?
How about helping everyone do better and stop crying about a "gap" that no one knows how to narrow?
Pretending otherwise is living in unreality.


19 people like this
Posted by John Tucker
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Did you know that most ESL kids are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Americans? And that they come from english speaking families?


40 people like this
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm

That quote from Ellen Wheeler disturbs me.

Is she really saying that we know how to close the achievement gap? The problem that has vexed our country for generations? So, we know how to fix the problem... but just haven't gotten around to it? And we're doing so well that we have nothing to learn from other districts?

That's the kind of attitude that keeps this district stuck in mediocrity and gives the impression of a school board that just has no clue.


35 people like this
Posted by What the scores reveal
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Looking at the Board presentation and comparing how our various schools did on these tests, what stuck me was that no matter how you feel about PACT, those students did very, very well on standardized tests-- while also going on numerous field trips, gardening, cooking, etc. Yes, it's an affluent school but so are others in the district, and PACT outperformed them-- while not being a school that emphasizes testing!

I don't have a kid at the school but I'm wondering if the Board is paying attention to this. You don't need to kill and drill to get high scores. Maybe if you use innovation, project based learning, make school fun, and allow teachers to be creative and give them support, the results will be there.


30 people like this
Posted by Amen
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:03 pm

@ What the scores reveal

I could not agree with you more. I have been pointing this out to the district and asking them to expand opportunities for more kids to attend a school like PACT for several years now. But they just don't get it or they are incredible slow to act. Even ESL and SED kids do better at PACT than at other schools. We can make excuses or we can recognize PACT is on to something and maybe more kids should have the opportunity (or the right!) to attend a school like that, not just the select view who enter and win a lottery.


18 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Unbelievable, how the Pact will take every topic every opportunity to pat themselves on the back. If pact's philosophy is the answer then implement it and spread the style through the whole district. If PACT is child oriented and truly care about ALL the children,how about getting on board and making the MVWSD"s children equally thrive.
This exclusive business is NOT good for our kids.
If your field trips,gardening,cooking is all it takes, whats the problem.


9 people like this
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:47 pm

I checked the + mark on several comments, but want to add this:

Where we know what to do and how to do it, but don't, the reason usually boils down to lack of money. Certainly longer school hours and smaller classes cost more. Maybe a lot more. One obvious solution is to cut the spending at the schools that are doing better and increase it at the schools that are doing worse.

California law requires the same spending for all students, as I understand it, though I've seen the statistics showing that's not the way it happens, so perhaps unequal spending per student is not feasible.


22 people like this
Posted by KD
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Our children have in excess of 25 years of combined attendance at MVWSD and MVLA schools. Over the years, we have asked them to explain the chronic (this is not a new issue) under-performance of their Latino class / schoolmates over the years.

Their answers evolved from an elementary school "they don't care" to a high school “they don’t see the point”.

Regarding the performance of PACT students, that is a self selecting group, comprised of children of parents who are making an effort to improve their children's lot in life.

Not dissimilar, perhaps, to the the subset of children who attend inner city charter schools - even when it means rising before the sun is up and travelling miles on public transportation.

Any only time will tell whether the time, effort and money invested in PACT produces a statistically different educational outcome that that achieved by students from mainstream school with similar demographics.


11 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Can we get a reality check here? This pattern is pretty common through... oh, everywhere? Mountain View would be truly unique if these test scores were inverted.

Everyone likes to blame the tests, but people buying that $3m "up the street" know that life is all about tests that someone else wrote.


32 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Speakers Garcia and Schultz were exactly right: for Superintendent Rudolph to dig up an example of a poorer-performing district and claim, effectively, "here's one that did even worse" isn't merely "not comforting," it's childish. As parent Schultz suggested, why didn't the Superintendent, instead, point to an example of a poorer district that did BETTER than MV-Whisman on the tests? (So much for Rudoph's rhetoric "we are outperforming our peers.")

In private industry, such attitudes by a manager would lead to being fired and marched out the door by Security.

Pitiable.


17 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 25, 2015 at 7:38 pm

I'd suggest we stop assuming that "education" occurs exclusively in the classroom. Teachers aren't the only ones with their hands on the most important levers. Parents, peers, and the community all play their role in learning. Kids may not score well on the Common Core, but they're smart enough to look around and figure out their chances of success in their local community. Their lack of motivation isn't the cause of their poor performance; it's the result of their intelligent assessment of their situation.


18 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Here is another analysis of the results that compares Santa Clara county to other CA counties, MVWSD to other districts in Santa Clara county and schools within MVWSD Web Link


29 people like this
Posted by dennis
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2015 at 12:35 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


25 people like this
Posted by Cline
a resident of Slater
on Sep 26, 2015 at 6:22 am

The scores are disappointing. But, typically, so is the district's and board's response. I agree the new superintendent should focus on addressing this gap from his position of leadership and not make comparisons to other districts or wait for an independent audit. After all, since he is new, doesn't his expertise qualify as an independent audit? What was he brought on for if not to offer an alternative approach and expert opinion? Isn't he supposed to be the expert on closing achievement gaps? What is he doing at the ground level right NOW to promote better curriculum, teacher training and student learning and assisting all school sites with this issue? How is he working WITH the district staff and teachers as a team builder and player? What has he done since coming on board to take the team and resources of the district to make improvements now? From what I've heard from other parents and teachers he keeps to himself and holds his cards close.

As Garcia alludes, we don't need another high-level administrator making comparisons to other districts or waiting for an outside organization to tell him what's wrong. There is an all-too-familiar pattern in the making. Up next will be top-down finger-pointing from the superintendent's office picking out targets (teacher, principals, board members etc) to blame. Four years from now the board will go looking for another superintendent (would that be the eighth or ninth in the last few decades?)


18 people like this
Posted by Rex Manor Mom of 3
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2015 at 9:50 am

The parent volunteer requirement at PACT not only reduces the effective class size for the teacher, but also helps parents feel more involved and connected with their children's education. PACT also has monthly parent meetings, further helping parents to stay connected.

The schools need to try harder to hook the parents in to be involved with their kids' education at home and at school. Kids who see that their education is valued by their parents will take it more seriously.


3 people like this
Posted by Free man
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2015 at 10:45 am

[Off-topic post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2015 at 2:53 pm

@MWVSD Parent - thank you for this extremely thorough analysis of the test results. I hope the District Office Instructional Department and schools will access this information and use it to improve overall program and instructional strategies.


7 people like this
Posted by Poor journalism
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Focus on one part of a four part presentation to spark a conversation. And we applaud people who only talked about the one part because they don't want to be compared to peers. Read the report it says district v state, district v county, district v neighboring districts (Los Altos, Cupertino etc...) and then district v comparable.

Also he should have an answer to a decades old problem after 3 months on the job. I love that we call for leadership and answers, but in the same breath say it needs to involve everyone.

Read the end of the report and no punches were pulled. Massaged yes, pulled no. Obviously this problem didn't occur on his watch. It happened on ours.


15 people like this
Posted by Dual Immersion
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Does the district have data on how Spanish-speaking students enrolled in the dual immersion program did compared to those in the standard all-English classes? If they did better, it seems to me worthwhile exploring a major expansion of the dual immersion program. Many of the posts on this thread suggest PACT as a successful alternative. But there's been little discussion of what appears to me to be a natural advantage that Mountain View/Whisman has--the presence in the district of lots of kids who bring a huge asset to their classes, familiarity with the Spanish language, which can be shared with their non-Spanish-speaking classmates in a dual-immersion setting.

I can't imagine a better setting to test the value of Dual-Immersion programs in accelerating learning for a segment of the population that appears mired in an education system that doesn't make full use of the linguistic and cultural assets they bring into Mountain View classrooms.


32 people like this
Posted by Amen
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

@ Dennis and to all who hit "like"

I know you're speaking in general terms here, but please don't stereotype. My husband is from Mexico, he didn't come to the US until he was 30 and he is highly educated, with a PhD from a top school and came to the US with a job offer from a well know high-tech company in Mountain View. His siblings have also all done well with advanced degrees - doctor, lawyer and business executive. My children are half Mexican and it makes me cringe to think that people will look at them and without knowing them pass judgments about who they are, how smart they are, how dedicated they are based solely on their race. Statements like yours only make the world harder for my children to navigate. Please remember it is important to see people (especially children) as individuals, not as a group all having the same traits. There absolutely are Latino families who value education.


33 people like this
Posted by Question Authority
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2015 at 9:31 am

From the teachers perspective:

It is with great sadness that I ask this question: Is it really any surprise we see wildly fluctuating test scores? As a teacher in the district for more than ten years, I am sad to tell you we expected these results. We knew they were coming three years ago, when we first starting hearing rumors about the new assessment. We were petrified two years ago when we took the pilot SBAC test, even though no results were released. By last year, many of us were just plain numb.

Let’s dig into some of the issues, again, from a teacher’s perspective:
• First and foremost is this: The assessment was built before ANY curriculum was created.
• We were given no single program or curriculum to help our students navigate the online assessment. Some classrooms only received computer carts last year, where the PTA in other schools bought carts for their classrooms two years ago. There is at least one upper grade classroom that STILL doesn’t have a designated computer cart. Access to technology allowing students to learn how to maneuver through the assessment, manipulate the problems as they were required to do, was not equitably rolled out to all the schools.
• MVWSD neglected to effectively train their teachers on the new Common Core standards until this past summer, and then only in Math. Oh sure, we would get a staff meeting here, a one-hour session there, some kind of assurance that some new computer program would help us with delivering common core… but it never reached the threshold of quality training. Until this summer, many teachers had no idea what ‘progressions’ were. Now, three years into the standards, we only have a basic understanding of the term with regard to Math, and no understanding with regard to ELA.
• During the 2014-2015 school year, there was no district-wide agreement/mandate of which Math curriculum to use. This resulted in at least three programs being taught across the district at the same time. Wouldn’t it be interesting to disaggregate the data to see which program provided the best results in the District’s math scores?
• The District no longer allows grade level collaboration meetings where teachers meet on a monthly basis to discuss best practices. That high-quality collaboration disappeared 6 or 7 years ago. And vertical planning, well, that has been nonexistent for all of my years here.
• Many teachers feel, as I do, the District has yet to provide high-quality, effective training on Eureka Math, the math curriculum adopted for the 2015-2016 school year. Without a better understanding of Eureka Math, my colleagues and I are spending hours and hours prepping and trying to understand the new math concepts, let alone working through how to deliver them in a comprehensible manner to our children. There is no time for reflection of what worked well, just more prepping for tomorrow’s lesson. My time for prepping other required subject matter is being constantly chiseled away, week by week.
• It feels unproductive to ask our instructional coaches to train teachers in the new math curriculum, when in fact they haven’t TAUGHT the curriculum to ACTUAL students on a CONSISTENT basis. (And I’m not sure they have received training directly from the Eureka Math, either.)
• We have yet to receive effective, high-quality, training in any of the new ELA Common Core standards, despite the fact that the standards have been available for… what… three years?

Much thought went into this post because, based on past behavior from our district administration, I am a bit nervous to stick my neck out and provide a teacher’s honest perspective. I stand tall, willing to weather the storm, though, because my students NEED me to stand tall for them. I refuse to allow my students to be reduced to one single test score.

Are there concerns to be had? You bet! I remain hopeful that Dr. Rudolph will be able to address these concerns… and quickly!


16 people like this
Posted by Old Mtn View Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

I agree with Common Sense.

Not impressed with new Superintendent.


3 people like this
Posted by Jeb
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm

The "achievement gap" within the district is not the problem. Young people will not be competing for jobs only with graduates of schools they attended. All kids in the local districts need to learn more in academic disciplines and life skills. But we realize that kids are at a great disadvantage if they come from homes where English is not spoken or where parents or guardians are unable to help. And being forced to move by skyrocketing rents does not help. Most people concede that disadvantaged kids need and deserve more school resources than other children (although politicians refuse to say so). Some kids may never go to college, and if high school is the end of their formal education, they better learn as much as possible in the meantime. Moreover, we should never give up on kids. Barack Obama was apparently a flop in school until he somehow got into Harvard Law. Anyone claiming otherwise should provide a link to his undergraduate transcripts. And NO "Jeb" is not anyone's real name.


13 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

@Question Authority

I totally understand your frustration, your statements about lack of training, D/O ambivalence, expected results... These are consistent with what I've heard from others in the district. We'll see if these issues show up in the audit or not.

I have a feeling that instead of having the personnel depth to help teachers with curriculum creation or adaptation, there are a lot of districts simply waiting for some company to create the curriculum for them. Once they are given proper professional development, made familiar with CCSS standards, and are trained on the tools any teacher worth their credential should be able to develop their own curriculum without waiting for or relying on Houghton Mifflin and pals.

I'm curious about what the new sup and new board member can contribute to fix the problems you've outlined too. Makes one feel like the board, Goldman, Skelly, and others at the D/O have lacked a clear vision on how to execute for CCSS while the teachers and students suffer waiting for effective leadership.

Along with pay, professional support is weak selling point for attracting teachers to MVWSD right now. It needs to be a core priority again.


7 people like this
Posted by Greg
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Sep 28, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I'm not really convinced that we do know what works.

I know many of us think we know. But, among those who actually get the chance to try it out, results aren't that great.

Perhaps none of us know nearly so well as we think we do.


5 people like this
Posted by MVWSD parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 2:28 pm

To Question Authority:

You wrote:

> The District no longer allows grade level collaboration meetings where teachers meet on a monthly basis to discuss best practices. That high-quality collaboration disappeared 6 or 7 years ago. And vertical planning, well, that has been nonexistent for all of my years here.

I was under the impression that's why we have minimum days every Thursday, so that the teachers from each grade can meet as a team at each school. Or do you mean a district-wide monthly meeting where all the teachers from each grade meet together?



5 people like this
Posted by Question Authority
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 7:49 pm

@ MVWSD parent

I was referring to district-wide grade level collaboration meetings.


11 people like this
Posted by Cuesta Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

@MVWSD Parent - Thank you for that enlightening analysis that you shared in the link above. The data analysis clarifies several questions I had. It kinda confirms past analysis that I had done looking at the STAR test results -- the very direct correlation between the education level of the parents and the test scores of the students.

Contrary to what some have posted above about Stephenson/PACT out-performing other schools in district, the data breakdown shows that the PACT student population is the most affluent with the highest educated parents. So the high test scores may simply show the state-wide, county-wide, and district-wide correlation of wealth and parent education to higher test scores.

It would be interesting to see schools that do well on tests for all their students, regardless of wealth and parent education, and regardless of self-selecting or school-selecting populations. I've yet to see such examples -- many charter schools make such claims, but they are often the most self-selected and school-selected populations.

I suspect that we can't rely on schools to solve this problem. The achievement gap exists in large part due to the extra educational nurturing the wealthy, better educated families give to their children.


5 people like this
Posted by Cuesta Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 10:59 pm

In fact, looking again at the analysis linked above by MVWSD Parent, Stevenson/PACT significantly underperforms for its economically disadvantaged students. The few economically disadvantaged students at Stevenson (<10%) had the lowest test scores (fewer than 20% met/exceeded the standards). So Stevenson/PACT is not a model that will solve the achievement gap for the rest of the district.


10 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2015 at 8:52 am

Mountain View doesn't spend enough time working with their struggling students. Other school districts nearby do and that is why they reach a better result. Cupertino school district works with struggling students during school time and multiple days after school. This yields their district a better result.

These results have nothing to do with race.


16 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 29, 2015 at 10:59 am

Given that a teacher has about three minutes of one-on-one time with each child in a day, why is there an expectation that the majority of a child's education comes from school?

If the school board wants the kids to do well, they need to educate the parents.


11 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 29, 2015 at 11:11 am

Seems there is a strong correlation between economic status and test scores. And might I suggest that lower test scores cause poor economic status - and not the other way around. What is needed is to convince those parents that their children will benefit from doing better in school.


9 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm

" the District has yet to provide high-quality, effective training on Eureka Math, the math curriculum adopted for the 2015-2016 school year. Without a better understanding of Eureka Math, my colleagues and I are spending hours and hours prepping and trying to understand the new math concepts, let alone working through how to deliver them in a comprehensible manner to our children"

Interesting. The parents have had zero training. And when the Eureka math homework comes home with no description of what "friendly tens" is, how are the parents supposed to help? (there is indeed a website, but there is no indication of that on the homework). A little help for the parents would go a long way.


16 people like this
Posted by dennis
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm

My original comment was removed and I know why. Often the truth hurts and in our relation with just about anything or anyone we often do anything to avoid being "offensive." Their are always exceptions to the rule but when dealing with large groups of people we must speak in generalizations to conceptualize what is really going on in the demographics of our society. Parents, talk to your children, they will tell you the truth of what is going on at school. They know who gives the effort and who doesn't, even to the point of generalization of racial importance of education and what it takes to be successful in the long run, and education does equal success in our modern world.


9 people like this
Posted by Cuesta Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm

@Neighbor -- The difference between Cupertino and MVWSD is that Cupertino has 5% economically disadvantaged and MVWSD has 45%.

Cupertino economically disadvantaged results:
45% met/exceeded standards for Language Arts
38% met/exceeded standards for Math

MVWS economically disadvantaged results:
31% met/exceeded standards for Language Arts
24% met/exceeded standards for Math

However, over 75% of MVWSD economically disadvantaged students are ethnically hispanic. If MVWSD wants to reduce the achievement gap, that is the population that needs attention. If we compare results from Cupertino to MVWSD for just economically disadvantaged hispanic students, then we see that Cupertino's results are actually worse than MVWSD.

Cupertino economically disadvantaged hispanic results:
25% met/exceeded standards for Language Arts
16% met/exceeded standards for Math

MVWS economically disadvantaged hispanic results:
27% met/exceeded standards for Language Arts
22% met/exceeded standards for Math

So, if we are looking for a model showing how a school system can help reduce the achievement gap, Cupertino is not a good model (just as Stevenson/PACT is not a good model).


5 people like this
Posted by Why PACT
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm

The local middle school seems to have no difference between the kids who go to PACT and the kids who attended another school. The elementary school's are equal. Common core is the big issue here.


10 people like this
Posted by Amen
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

@ Cuesta Neighbor

I had looked at this before with the old test scores (maybe 3 years ago) and Stevenson did better with ELL and SED kids. I can see under the new scores this is not the case. I'm not sure why, or what would have changed. My statement that these kids do better at PACT is based on my test score analysis from 3 years ago under the old system.

@ Dennis - my statement to you still stands whether you like it or not. Don't make assumptions about my children based on their race. They excel in school and will continue to do so, especially with their MEXICAN father helping with homework.


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2015 at 10:05 pm

@Steve

"And might I suggest that lower test scores cause poor economic status - and not the other way around."

You could, but it wouldn't make nearly as much sense as saying that people who have not have graduated whatever would be considered an equivalent of High School, who may be working multiple jobs, who may be relying on SED meal programs, who may not have any formal training in English, etc. ... may also have a more difficult time supporting their students at home even if they value education dearly.

"The parents have had zero training. And when the Eureka math homework comes home with no description of what "friendly tens" is, how are the parents supposed to help?"

You have hit the nail on the head here. A disappointing effort has been put into preparing educators for CCSS but it is clear parent outreach has been lacking even more. Let's hope both some more funding is focused on training and support for everyone involved in student learning including parents (whatever their education level is).


9 people like this
Posted by @observer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 30, 2015 at 6:47 am

The grading system at schools needs to be changed too. Getting a simple grade like A, B+, B-, C is much better and it is easier for parents to understand their kids progress. The report cards given to kids are too cryptic and does not show the students performance clearly.


3 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

"report cards given to kids are too cryptic and does not show the students performance clearly"

Is there something cryptic about "does not meet expectations"?


5 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

"people who have not have graduated whatever would be considered an equivalent of High School, who may be working multiple jobs, who may be relying on SED meal programs, who may not have any formal training in English, etc."

Those are the people that need help. That's where the effort should go. Regardless of the teachers, the curriculum, the testing, the schools, the districts - it's the same group that fails to meet the standards. For those parents and students, there should be a sense of urgency about this - not the attitude "the school will educate my children". Those parents should spend 20 minutes each day (or find someone else to - a relative, grandparent, neighbor) with the child on homework and reading. If the school district has resources or volunteers - that's where the effort needs to go.


9 people like this
Posted by Exceeding Expectations
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2015 at 11:42 am

Lost in this discussion, is the performance of children who meet and exceed expectations. Lost in the calls for "doing more" for the children who are not meeting expectations, we treat the children who meet standards as not worthy of consideration. Meets and exceeds are just as worthy of support in the classroom and must also continue to be engaged in their education. School funding is not an ever increasing pot of funds - what about the needs of ALL our children.


5 people like this
Posted by My voice
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 30, 2015 at 11:46 am

The A+, A, B scoring although familiar to most, doesn't really get into the goal of what educators are trying to accomplish. If a student gets an A in math, that doesn't communicate to the parent anything other than a students above average ability in math for the trimester. It is even less useful if a students receives a C or lower. It tells us that student learns about 70-75% of all material. But it doesn't indicate which material. The standards based report card of the elementary schools communicates (Or should communicate to parents) The proficiency level a student has with each individual skill. This information should help parents indicated what areas of math they are struggling with. The data is specific . Maybe the problem is that parents should be educated on how to understand/ use report card information.


4 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

"Lost in this discussion, is the performance of children who meet and exceed expectations."

That's a different discussion. The title of this article is "Students' poor test scores prompt call for action"


15 people like this
Posted by A different teacher perspective
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 30, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Thanks to Question Authority for sharing their perspective. I read it several times to try to understand it because mine is very different. I agree with a lot of the points, like the concerns about what order of the standards, the test, and the curriculum were developed and introduced by the State and the concerns about access to technology at all schools. I also empathize about the work involved in learning to teach from new math curriculum, but that's where my experience starts to differ.

Coaches at both schools where I have worked demonstrated and helped plan lessons.

I went to the training for math on Saturdays and the training specifically for the curriculum. Coaches ran both of them, and I thought they were knowledgeable about the curriculum and practical about what it's really like in a classroom. Both trainings had a planning day when teachers could work together.

At my school, we began looking at the progressions for math and writing last year.

This year, the district will look at ELA curriculum. If they do what they did with math, I expect it to be good. The district emailed all teachers to ask them to be on the committee that will decide which ELA curriculum to use. Question Authority seems well informed and involved so they may already be on it. I hope so.

I don't know why Question Authority and I had such a different experience, but I wanted to offer mine as another perspective on how the change to common core is happening.


5 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 30, 2015 at 7:13 pm

You all are ignoring the elephant sitting in the middle of the room.

The kids who get low test scores come from homes with parents WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT EDUCATION.

Or are we just going to pretend that's not going on here?

No amount of money can combat a home with parents who don't care about their kid's education.

Anything done by teachers, tutors, "special educators" will be undone the second these kids get home and their parents plunk them down in front of the TV and never once ask about their day at school or even ask if they have homework.

The world will always need ditch diggers. No need to spend money trying to make a diamond out of a piece of coal.


3 people like this
Posted by @Otto Maddox
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

"The world will always need ditch diggers. No need to spend money trying to make a diamond out of a piece of coal."

Wow. Just wow.

Elitist, much?


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