Posts tagged "data"
March 14, 2013
Three years after launching an effort to integrate more students with special needs in mainstream classrooms, the Department of Education has some news about the initiative’s effects.
The department today released data showing that students with special needs in schools that participated in the first phase of the initiative saw their test scores improve more than students with disabilities at similar schools that were not in the program. Their attendance rates rose and suspension rates fell more than the students with disabilities at similar schools, too.
And as the initiative expanded citywide this year, students frequently moved to less restrictive classroom settings in sixth and ninth grade, the years where the department required schools to serve all eligible students, regardless of their disability.
The information partially satisfied special education advocates, who are on board with the goals of the city’s reforms but have been clamoring for more data about the reforms’ impact for more than a year.
“From what I am seeing here it looks like there are positive trends — but I’m not seeing everything here that I want to,” said Maggie Moroff, who heads the ARISE Coalition of advocates. (more…)
October 24, 2012
Nearly a year after beginning their search for an exceptional middle school to lead a push to boost literacy in struggling schools, city officials have concluded that no school is good enough.
After the city launched its Middle School Quality Initiative last year, it selected two dozen underperforming schools to receive special training and thousands of dollars in program funding. Then it picked more successful schools to be “anchors” that would teach them. Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School became a model for teacher collaboration, and schools were sent to M.S. 244 to learn about using data to detect signs that students are at-risk.
The city also wanted to push the 23 schools on literacy, where their students especially lagged. But officials said they could find no middle school strong enough to use as the emblem of the literacy initiative.
“There isn’t an anchor we could turn to to say, ‘Show us the magic of how it’s all done together,’” said Nancy Gannon, the department official overseeing MSQI.
Nonetheless, as MSQI expanded from 24 schools at first (six with only partial funding) to 49 this year, the department also expanded the initiative’s literacy program. The schools are getting extra funds and monthly trainings focused exclusively on literacy, in a program that officials consider it the most significant part of the citywide initiative. (more…)
July 23, 2012
Results of the city’s annual survey of what parents, students and teachers think about their schools paints a much rosier picture than data on school performance indicate.
It also offers a rosier picture of teachers’ views of their evaluation system than both city and union officials have painted in the past.
This year, 94 percent of parents said they were “satisfied” with their children’s education, and 95 percent of students said they have to “work hard to get good grades” — figures city officials touted as a sign that the schools are becoming more rigorous. Answering a new question, 94 percent of teachers said their school “does a good job supporting students who aspire to go to 2- or 4-year colleges.”
Those responses suggest that city parents, students, and teachers remain sanguine about their schools even as the city and state have mounted a concerted effort to raise expectations. The Learning Environment Survey results, which the city published today, come on the heels of annual state test scores that showed for the second straight year that fewer than half of the city’s third through eighth graders are reading at grade level. And while the city’s “college-readiness” rate inched up since it was first announced last year, only about a quarter of students meet the city’s and state’s standards.
The survey results do signal that some schools are beginning to ask more of their students. Since 2009, the proportion of high school students who say they are receiving “helpful” college and career counseling has risen from 74 to 82 percent. And while the number of students reporting sophisticated research or essay assignments barely budged, the number who said they had been asked to “complete an essay or project where [they] had to use evidence to defend [their] own opinion or ideas” three or more times increased sharply, from 62 percent in 2011 to 67 percent this year. (more…)
June 29, 2012
Minutes after the close of business hours today — a summer Friday already packed with education news — the city released the first set of required reports about students who left middle school and high school last year without graduating.
Some students leave their schools for good reasons, such as when their families leave the city. But others are dropping out.
In 2011, an audit by the state comptroller found evidence that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by classifying many dropouts as “discharges,” the term for students who have provided good reasons for leaving school and evidence to support their explanations. The audit followed a 2009 report by a researcher and an advocate that suggested that the city was increasingly exploiting the reporting loophole to inflate the graduation rate.
Alarmed by the reports, the City Council took up the cause and a year ago passed a local law requiring the Department of Education to report annually on how many students leave school and why. The first reports were due today. (more…)
June 28, 2012
When Jacqueline Wayans helped her second daughter pick a high school, they were confident about their choice.
After all, Wayans is a savvy parent who had worked for years visiting and reviewing schools for Insideschools, the online guide to city schools. Her older daughter had attended a city school with an arts theme and gotten a good education, and her younger daughter’s top pick, Manhattan’s High School for Fashion Industries, had gotten an “A” from the Department of Education.
It wasn’t until after her daughter enrolled that Wayans learned Fashion Industries only offered three years of math classes. And when the school added a fourth math class, she didn’t find out until it was too late that her daughter’s scores were too low for her to qualify. Now, when Wayans’s daughter starts college this fall, she’ll need to take remedial math.
“I just assumed that there was a four-year sequence,” Wayans said today during a panel discussion about metrics for assessing high schools that Insideschools hosted. “My older daughter had it at her high school and I just thought it was there.”
Wayans isn’t alone in trusting a small sliver of information to make the potentially life-changing decision about where to attend high school. Some parents and students choose schools by their names, their sports teams, or their neighborhoods, without digging deep to understand what kind of education the schools offer.
Now entering its second decade, Insideschools (where I also worked from 2005 to 2008) is preparing to launch a tool to help parents like Wayans — and those far less savvy than she is — make better choices. The tool, called “Inside Stats,” is a consumer-oriented presentation of public data about high schools that is meant to complement, or perhaps even rival, the information the city distributes. (more…)
March 16, 2012
Last week, I reported that the city’s charter school sector was on the verge of releasing a trove of data about its schools. I began my reporting after I learned about the plan in February, and a week ago, I learned that the organization in charge of the report had big plans for the report’s release.
The organization, the New York City Charter School Center, sent an advisory a week ago announcing Monday as the big day and inviting reporters to an 11 a.m. press conference to learn about the report, which would compile data about the schools’ performance and their students. But those plans were scrapped over the weekend.
On Sunday afternoon a spokeswoman for the charter school center emailed to say that the “State of the Sector” report was being delayed because all of the data had not been verified.
Now, four days after the promised release, the report is still not out. The spokeswoman, Kerri Lyon, said the report would now come “within a few weeks” and that the center would release the overview report at the same time as it publishes individual school-level data online.
The delay is a surprise because a 12-person committee made up of charter school operators led by the center’s policy director, Michael Regnier, was already charged with verifying the data in the report. Lyon said Thursday that charter schools were now validating some of the data about their own schools before the report’s release. (more…)
March 9, 2012
The city’s charter schools are preparing to release reams of data about themselves — some of which could make them uncomfortable.
The data, prepared for release on Monday by the New York City Charter School Center, will include measures that are often used to promote the schools, such as student test scores, as well as data points often used to criticize them, such as student demographic information and student and teacher attrition rates.
The new report, a 40-page document called “State of the Sector,” will be followed by individual dashboards for all 136 city charter schools published on the center’s website.
The project was modeled after an effort by the national KIPP charter school network to hold schools accountable for more than the most-often-used metric, how their students perform on tests, by tracking other measures deemed important for what the network calls “healthy schools.” These include the percentage of students and teachers who stay in the schools year after year.
In advance of Monday’s release, KIPP C.E.O. Richard Barth was invited to the charter center to brief a room full of charter school leaders and share his insights from KIPP’s initiative. (more…)
September 23, 2011
In an education department that’s driven by data, what gets measured is a clear expression of values.
So this year’s elementary and middle school progress reports signal that the city is serious about integrating disabled students into regular classes, helping minority boys, and quickly getting immigrant students learning in English.
The broad contours of what we’ll see later today when the Department of Education releases the newest progress reports, based on the last school year, have been clear for months. Back in the spring, the DOE told principals that it would not insulate schools against steep score drops as it did last year, so we know that more schools will get failing grades that put them at risk of closure.
In fact, the department set a fixed distribution of scores: 25 percent of schools will get As, 35 percent Bs, 30 percent Cs, 7 percent Ds, and 3 percent Fs. Last year, just 5 percent of schools were awarded D or F grades.
We also know each school’s state test scores, announced last month. While high or low average scores don’t always equate to high or low progress report grades, because the reports are based mostly on the test scores, they often do. (The department is also guaranteeing that schools with test scores in the top third citywide get no lower than a C; last year, only schools in the top quarter got that promise.) Also, because fewer schools registered large test score gains or losses this year, progress report grades are likely to be relatively stable.
That means that the biggest changes could come as the result of the department’s annual tinkering with the reports’ formula. (more…)
September 14, 2011
Two years after becoming the Department of Education’s official data monitor, the city’s Independent Budget Office has finished crunching a mountain of numbers.
The results, which include revelations about space-sharing arrangements, budget allocations, principal and teacher demographics, and student performance, are compiled in a comprehensive report released today.
The IBO received the data dump after state legislators designated the office as a DOE watchdog scrutinizing student achievement and financial information in the 2009 law reauthorizing mayoral control. Since then, the IBO’s education unit has grown to eight people from “basically one,” according to communications director Doug Turetsky. Raymond Damonico, the IBO’s director of education research, supervised the report’s creation.
The IBO also today launched a website that allows users to pull up the data for any city school. (Charter schools are not included in the analysis.)
Among the many highlights:
- Poor students at relatively affluent schools outperformed relatively affluent students at schools with many poor students.
- As of 2009-2010, school buildings housing co-locations were less crowded overall than buildings housing a single school. (more…)
August 29, 2011
An essential piece of the state’s Race to the Top plans is in limbo after State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shot down a controversial contract.
On Friday, DiNapoli rejected a $27 million contract with Wireless Generation to build a statewide “Education Data Portal” that would have allowed schools and teachers to track and use student performance data.
State teachers unions and advocates had protested the contract because it was offered without competitive bidding and because Wireless Generation’s parent company, News Corporation, is embroiled in controversy over illegal wiretapping conducted by some of its publications. DiNapoli cited both concerns in his letter to the State Education Department turning down the contract.
The rejection marks yet another setback in the state’s school reform plans. Last week, a judge ruled that the state should not be allowed to use student test scores to count for 40 percent of teachers’ evaluations, bringing to a standstill a centerpiece of New York’s Race to the Top plans. Now the data clearinghouse that would make the evaluations possible is also at risk. (more…)