Posts tagged "slow and steady"
October 17, 2011
On a recent afternoon, dozens of teachers, social workers, and non-profit administrators, pored over the academic calendars of several charter schools. They were studying how a school can express its mission in the way it builds its calendar.
“There’s a lot to think about: Summer school — would that be mandatory?” asked Simeon Stolzberg, a former charter school authorizer who was leading the exercise. “You could have a year-round school, and maybe every eight weeks there would be a two-week vacation. Think about whether or not there is time in a day for teachers to plan and prep and grade — and eat lunch.”
Some of the teachers laughed, but Stolzberg was completely serious.
“Your calendar is one of the things that will set you a part from a district school,” he told the group, participants in a new program, Apply Right, that is helping prospective charter school leaders by taking them through the most minute details of school planning.
The program and two others, projects of the nonprofit New York City Charter School Center, reflect a growing sense that charter school leaders need more support than they have been getting.
“There were a number of schools that were approved in the last five years that frankly probably should not have been approved,” said James Merriman, the center’s director. “What I think we are seeing is that the bar of entry is being appropriately raised. … We want to see more charter schools, but we’re only really interested in seeing high-quality schools.” (more…)
August 3, 2009
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein’s emphasis on standardized test scores appears to be working: an analysis of state test scores before and after mayoral control reveals “a broad and steady march upward,” the Times’ Elissa Gootman and Robert Gebeloff report.
The rates of New York City students passing standardized English and math tests have risen at a faster pace than statewide passing rates overall, and Queens and Staten Island have gone from among the lowest-scoring counties in the state to among the best, according to the Times’ report.
The story mentions in passing that the results of the 2007 federal National Association of Educational Progress showed no significant progress among New York City’s eighth-grade students during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure. Some experts claim that NAEP scores may be a better measure of overall student performance because it’s more difficult to engage in direct test preparation and thus less vulnerable to score inflation.
But Klein dismissed those concerns, telling the Times that the state tests are a valid measure of learning: (more…)
June 1, 2009
The results of the 2009 state math test are in, and state officials are welcoming them as a sign of overall, if modest, improvement.
More students across the state in grades 3-8 met the proficiency standards than in the previous four years, with 86.4 percent of them scoring proficient, compared to 80.7 percent last year and just 65 percent in 2006, when the state instituted a new math curriculum. In New York City, the percentage of students that met the state’s proficiency standard jumped to 81.8 percent this year from 74.3 percent in 2008.
Unlike with this year’s reading test scores, the math test scores showed similar increases in the percentage of students testing as proficient or better and the scale scores that students posted. Statewide, scale scores, which are considered the most statistically useful way to evaluate test score gains, rose by six points in 2009. New York City slightly edged out the rest of the state, with an 8-point scale score gain. (more…)
May 7, 2009
More students across New York State scored proficient on the state reading and writing test this year than ever before, and gains by black and Hispanic students drove the improvements. The difference between white and black students’ average scores is now at 18 points, down from 28 in 2006.
More students in New York City scored proficient, too; proficiency rose 18 percentage points to 69 percent from 51 percent in 2006. According to the city Department of Education, the difference between the percentage of black and Hispanic children who scored proficient on the test and the percentage of white students who did now stands at 22 percentage points, down from more than 29 three years ago.
State school leaders described the gains across New York as “moderate” because much of the increases were driven by a greater proportion of children just squeaking past the proficiency cutoff, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills explained during a press conference this morning.
The difference comes from looking at the actual scale scores students received, rather than the percentage of students deemed proficient. Scale scores are considered the most statistically useful way to evaluate test score gains. (Aaron Pallas has written about this on GothamSchools.)
Mills explained the distinction by providing three ways to look at this year’s sixth-grade scores. The first is by looking purely at what proportion of students in the grade tested at basic proficiency. According to that metric, 81 percent of this year’s sixth-graders met proficiency, compared to 60.4 percent of sixth-graders in 2006, the first year of a new statewide curriculum and testing program.
Looking at proficiency over time, 69 percent of children in 3rd grade in 2006 met standards; those are the same children who posted an 81 percent proficiency rating as sixth-graders this year. But the scale scores of that same cohort of children actually dropped slightly over the same period, from 669 to 667. (more…)