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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 07/13/2010

D.C. elementary test scores show decline

By Washington Post editors

D.C. officials announced Tuesday that reading and math test scores declined in elementary schools this year, halting a two-year run of significant gains and dealing a setback to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as she seeks to overhaul city schools.

The news was better for middle and high schools, which saw continued gains in reading and math on the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS), administered every April.

After rising 20 percentage points from 2007 to 2009, the elementary math proficiency rate dipped 4.6 points this year, to 43.4. The elementary reading proficiency rate, which had risen 11 percentage points from 2007 to 2009, fell 4.4 points, to 44.4 percent. The proficiency rate is essentially a measure of the portion of students who pass the tests.

School-by-school scores will not be available until later this month.

Rhee, who joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to announce the 2010 scores in a mid-morning news conference at Ballou High School, said she couldn't account for the drop in elementary scores, and that it would require some study.

"We're going to dig into the data," she said.

Rhee and Fenty emphasized the overall record of test score gains since the mayor appointed Rhee in 2007. School reform has become a key issue in Fenty's reelection campaign against challenger Vincent C. Gray (D), the D.C. Council chairman.

Rhee called the three-year gains at the middle and high school levels -- an average of 14 percentage points in reading and 17 points in math -- a significant achievement. In a statement distributed to reporters, Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which consults with urban school districts, called the growth "unusual and important," adding that the District is one of the few cities in the country to see double-digit growth at the secondary level.

Officials also reported that the percentage of students scoring at advanced levels has doubled in elementary and secondary schools since 2007.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

-- Bill Turque

By Washington Post editors  | July 13, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Comments

*sounds of crickets from Rhee and Fenty*

Posted by: linroy62 | July 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

WP editorial board, what are you going to say now? So much for your rheeisfundmental editorials for the success of the DC public school system. What happened? I guess all those no good teachers with experience that you fired may have a lot to do with this news regarding falling test scores.

Posted by: bill121 | July 13, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

At least we'll get to hear from the deranged Rhee-haters that standardized tests are completely irrelevant. Heh.

Posted by: ibc0 | July 13, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You can blame IMPACT. Implementing three learning in 20 minutes is a bit two much for young learners who should be focused on one or two learning styles at the most within a 45 minute period.

Posted by: marylight | July 13, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Correction
You can blame IMPACT. Implementing three learning styles in 20 minutes is a bit two much for young learners who should be focused on one or two learning styles at the most within a 45 minute period.

Posted by: marylight | July 13, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

uh-oh - usually good news is announced first. Which direction did the scores go in middle and high schools?

Why isn't the press conference about the release of the 2010 scores announced on the DCPS website

And why can't I access the osse site
http://www.nclb.osse.dc.gov/index.asp
to get the 2010 scores, when I was able to access it earlier today to find that the scores weren't up yet?

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

To ibc0: It's RHEE who is irrelevant, not the standardized tests.

Posted by: linroy62 | July 13, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"At least we'll get to hear from the deranged Rhee-haters that standardized tests are completely irrelevant. Heh."

Posted by: ibc0

______________________

NO, but having severely damaged every other aspect of public education in the District, in favor of constant, scripted test-prep in pursuit of the all-important test scores, the Rhee/TFA cult has now been hoisted on its own petard.

Posted by: mcstowy | July 13, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps DCPS elmentary students are sending us a message.

Posted by: Nemessis | July 13, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The press release is up. Scores improved for secondary and declined for elementary. Spin is to focus on 3 year improvements, which is reasonable, though obviously an effort to minimize the year-over-year decline in elementary scores. It will be interesting to see if the elementary decline and/or the secondary improvement is systemwide or the result of a small group of schools.

Posted by: horacemann | July 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which consults with urban school districts, called the growth "unusual and important,". . .

He might added "suspicious"

Posted by: Nemessis | July 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the good and the bad news announced at the same time?

Why won't the scores be available until later this month - please ask Bill -- this just allows DCPS to spin the info before it can be independently analyzed.

And what's this: "Rhee called the THREE-YEAR GAINS [caps added] at the middle and high school levels -- an average of 14 percentage points in reading and 17 points in math--a significant achievement."

What were the gains this year - so minor that unless you combine them with the previous two years they are hardly worth talking about?

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I really want DCPS kids to succeed (I removed my own child because of Rhee's actions that pretty much destroyed the school). The parents who can't afford the insane private school tuition and who can't up and move to VA (like I did) or Mont. Co deserve a quality education for their children.

I would love to read the opinions of actual DCPS students on whats going on in their schools. We hear from Rhee, Fenty, Teachers Unions, Teachers, on occasion parents, but what do the students have to say? Do they think they're learning anything? Especially the high school students. Do they believe they have more opportunities than they had prior to Rhee?

While I don't expect miracles from a system that has been broken for a long time, with the way Rhee went about making the changes, she could have effectively done nothing and scores would have also dropped but a few good teachers would still have their jobs.

Posted by: Redial1 | July 13, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It would be suspicious if scores went up all the time, this is totally normal in any testing regime, a pattern of ups and downs that either trend up or down over time. The trend is still up, overall.

Of course, the primary problem with Rhee is she is Asian American, and thus many DC residents who support a 'modified' Jim Crow system cannot abide her. Discriminate on, folks, its fun to see you fight over dead last!

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | July 13, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@ efavotite. Can you produce the red/ yellow/ green bar chart shown in the press release, comparing 2009 DC CAS to 2010 DC CAS? The press release compares 2007 to 2010. Obviously, there is a decrease in elementary and an increase in secondary from 2009 to 2010, but I'm interested in the breakout of the decrease by below / basic / proficient / advanced. So far, that breakout is the only available detail on 2010.

@ Bill Turque, any mention of the charter school scores, or is Fenty silent on that 40% of the city's public school students?

Posted by: parentof2redheads | July 13, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the elementary teachers were starting to be afraid of getting caught and stopped changing answers on completed tests.

Posted by: checkered1 | July 13, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The DCPS press release is here:
http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/In+the+Classroom/How+Students+Are+Assessed/Assessments/DCPS+Secondary+School+Students+Demonstrate+Significant+Gains+for+Third+Consecutive+Year
"Schools will have until July 23 to review their data for accuracy and report any concerns to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education through an appeals process. Final school level results will be made available in early August."

There's the answer efavorite.

The secondary school chart on the press release page is interesting.
It show 2007 next to 2010.
So you see a change of +14 in reading and +17 in math.
Before you say, wow!
Look above and you see that nearly 10 points of the reading and 9 points of the math came between 2007 and 2008.
Most of that increase can be attributed to the work put in place by Dr. Janey.


In Maryland and Virginia, do the respective governors make the announcement of the state tests alongside the state superintendent of education?
I may be wrong, but I don't remember seeing Govs O'Malley or Ehrlich standing next to Dr. Nancy Grasmick.

Posted by: edlharris | July 13, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

yes, parentof2redheads, I just saw it, thanks,

and right, Ed, my big WOW was noting the '08-'09 high school increases:

.8% in reading and the 3.1 in Math. I don't remember those numbers being advertised last year.

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Given that DCPS spends almost twice the national average per student and still has among the country's worst test scores, it appears that Michelle Rhee has failed to make meaningful improvements.

Regardless if Gray or Fenty is elected mayor, Rhee needs to be fired.

Posted by: ashafer_usa | July 13, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

2 years of gains = riding on Janney's legacy...

Rhee = How to Lie With Statistics

WashPost Editorial = Drinking the Bull Pen Kool-Aid

Posted by: shepDC | July 13, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Rhee replaced English with street jive the kids'd do better in language proficiency.

Posted by: kinkysr | July 13, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Rhee replaced English with street jive the kids'd do better in language proficiency.

Posted by: kinkysr | July 13, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

maybe firing all those teachers wasn't such a good idea after all. hrmmmmm?

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse


This is Dr. Janey's fault.

Posted by: Trulee | July 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

To think she has the audacity to say who she will work for. LOL!!! Well Mr. Fenty please take a look at the mess you've created. You locked Janey out of his office and fired him yet we see the progress he was making at the time of your takeover.


Posted by: candycane1 | July 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

From what I read, the scores went up two years in a row and ONLY declined this year. The middle and high school scores continued to improve.

Therefore, whatever she's been doing over the last 3 years has been an improvement on what they had prior to her arrival.

You may not like the methods but please enjoy the results

Posted by: bakerva | July 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Coming next - the press conference in which Rhee admits her error, for which she takes full responsibility:
She did not fire enough teachers last year.

She begs for forgiveness and promises to fire even more teachers next year.

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Therefore, whatever she's been doing over the last 3 years has been an improvement on what they had prior to her arrival.

You may not like the methods but please enjoy the results"

What if the increase in test scores is due to Dr. Janey's efforts rather than Rhee's?

Posted by: aby1 | July 13, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Off with their Heads!

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 13, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Today is Tuesday, by this time next week the Washington post will print at least 2 if not 3 pieces on test scores. Rhee and DCPS folks will be quoted extensively thoroughout. justification and excuses will abound through the entire piece. In the end it will be regarded a simply a 1-year anomaly because everything the Rhee adminstration is doing says success.

Posted by: simplewords999 | July 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

" In the end it will be regarded a simply a 1-year anomaly because everything the Rhee adminstration is doing says success."

Do you think those sophisticated ward 3 voters who took grad school statistics will fall for it?

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Well at least they catch up whenever they reach middle/high school (so the report says).

Posted by: forgetthis | July 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse


The reality here is that we still need to do a lot of work in DCPS. It is not that unusual for test scores to not consistanly go up and kids have made progress over the years. Clifford Janey's work to upgrade standards and curriculum has paid off. Michelle Rhee's efforts to close unneeded schools and shake up the system a little also seems to be paying off. But the reality here is that Michelle Rhee is no miracle worker and we shouldn't expect her to be or claim she is.

I hope that she will continue as schools Chancellor under Mayor Gray who actually knows something about education contrary to our current Mayor. Gray will help her bring along parents, teachers and the community to continue education reform. I see a great combination of Gray/Rhee if Rhee doesn't just use the election as an excuse to leave and move to Sacramento to be with her husband. If she does she will ruin what could be a good reputation by leaving after having done only half the job.

Posted by: peterdc | July 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Elementary Schools
READING
2010 44.4
2009 49
2008 46
2007 37.5
2006 37

MATH
2010 43.4
2009 49
2008 40
2007 29.3
2006 26

Rhee/Fenty can make an argument that the answer to the question "Are your kids better off now than they were 4 years ago" is the 2006-2007 baseline (Rhee took over in June 2007) vs. current scores.

Opponents can ask, "How did things go in your kids' school this year," comparing 2008-2009 vs. current scores.

Two very different stories.

I don't think it's worthwhile for opponents to keep arguing that change from 2006-2007 to 2007-2008 is entirely a result of Dr. Janey's efforts. Ms. Rhee took control in June 2007, had a summer and a school year in charge, and can make a legitimate claim that the big jump up in 2007-2008 is hers to claim.

Rather than battle over the credit for the 2007-2008 increase (which would probably come out a draw), opponents might be better off focusing the question on whether the Rhee method of reform has run out of steam, and it's time for a change.

All the above is a political argument about test scores, it's pernicious, and it probably does nothing of value for the kids, teachers and school principals. But here it comes!

Posted by: Trulee | July 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The sad truth behind all of this is, it isn't Rhee's fault or Fenty or the Principal, but in fact the parents of these students. I went to school in Detroit with a far worse educational system, but I succeeded because of the will of my parents to make sure I was educated. Schools can only do so much when they are dealing with students carrying baggage that needs to be handled correctly at home.

Posted by: howard_dude | July 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Please note that there are no actual test scores given for the DC-CAS. The percentage of correct answers given on the tests to reach thresholds required for basic, proficient and advanced levels is determined after the tests are graded.

I have been told that in 2009, answering less than 50% of test questions correctly would result in a proficient rating. A multiple choice test with A, B, C, D and E (5 choices) could be randomly filled in and get 20% correct answers on average.

It is no wonder that the amazing growth of DC-CAS proficiency under Chancellor Rhee has not been mirrored by similar increases in the NAEP (national) tests. It is a shame that we will have to wait until 2011 to get the next round of NAEP test results, as this is the only way to evaluate how we are truly doing.

The NAEP assessment of DCPS has shown significantly lower levels of proficient and advanced, and significantly higher levels of basic and below basic.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

This further proves that:
1) The apple does not fall far from the tree, and
2) You can't fix stupid.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | July 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

A statistics professor once said to his class:

Statistics are like a woman's bikini, the hide the best parts underneath !

Posted by: ellislawoffice | July 13, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Correction:

" Statistics are like a woman's bikini,they hide the best parts underneath !"

Posted by: ellislawoffice | July 13, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

efavorite - my point was the WashingtonPost will print a positive slant very soon on behalf of Rhee and Fenty. Ward 1 will get the stats without a doubt. the reality is they will find some reason to dismis these numbers though they treated minor numbers like GOLD and further justify their continuing support of Rhee. I assure you Jay Matthews is drafting a piece right now saying "one off year after _ good years of positive growth is nothing to cry over". The tortoise vs the hare analogy is coming, and he's going to apologize for Rhee's tactics acting more like the hare versus the tortoise, and how bad DCPS was and where it is now. it's just like he defended the Sousa principal's methods for the results. Never mind half the dam staff resigned because of him and the rest were looking.

For the mayor and the Washington post there's too much money out there to change course from this mode of reform. They are all in!

Posted by: simplewords999 | July 13, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

there are lies, damn lies, and statistics

Posted by: Nemessis | July 13, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

There is always a regression effect in any testing but I'm wondering what,if any, change can be attributed to the economy. You can't concentrate in school if you know your mom doesn't have a job, or you get evicted and move from relative to relative house, and don't know if you will have dinner. The school breakouts will be interesting.

Posted by: sweetmamajr | July 13, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

sweetmamajr

On many occasions Rhee has indicated that the conditions you mention in your post is "no excuse" for poor performance. IT IS ALL THE RESULT OF BAD TEACHING.

Posted by: bnew100 | July 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Trulee says, "Ms. Rhee... can make a legitimate claim that the big jump up in 2007-2008 is hers to claim."

If she does, she better explain how she did it. This was all before she hired a bunch of new principals and fired a bunch of teachers, or hired master educators, put her IMPACT plan into place or hired a bunch of new, inexperienced teachers and RIFd over 200 teachers.

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe now that there has been a decrease in the test scores Rhee might begin to see that there is more to learning than test scores.

Test scores are not a good measure of student learning.

Posted by: aby1 | July 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@ efavorite

True dat. Nonetheless, she can make the case that she started "shaking things up" immediately, and that inspired teachers to do better...my point is, why would opponents argue over who deserves credit for the 2007-2008 boom in test scores, when a better approach would be, "What have you done for me lately?"

Posted by: Trulee | July 13, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You are always going to see some fluctuation in test scores because you are not testing the same kids. This is a new group of kids. To see how much they have grown you have to look at how these kids did last year. Isn't this obvious??

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

celestun100,

It's probably mostly the same group of kids. I can't imagine there has been that much of a fluctuation in population over the last 3 years.

Posted by: aby1 | July 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"who deserves credit for the 2007-2008 boom in test scores"

-You want to know so you can start to get a handle on what variable made the test scores go up.

I think test scores are foolish, but since Arne Duncan is judging schools by test scores you need to know exactly what variable was responsible for the increase or decrease.

Posted by: aby1 | July 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

So you are comparing fourth grade scores from last year to fourth grade scores from this year?

Or are you comparing fourth grade scores from last year to fifth grade scores this year?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

My point is, there is a new first grade class and a group of 12th graders graduated. Have the other students shown growth or not?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I am waiting to hear the Chancellors tearful televised "I Have Sinned" speech.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 13, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I predict much will be made of the gains at the middle and high school levels and the elementary stuff will be glossed over.

I don't agree with what I have been reading about how things are done in DC these days, however, it takes time to make changes. There are no quick fixes. None. It takes time and hard work. There is no silver bullet, no easy way. No simple answers for a very complex situation. Anyone who thinks someone can turn around a school or a district in a short period of time is wrong. Don't stop trying, but, there are no quick fixes.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

the d.c. school system has more money spent per student than any other school system in the USA.

why are they at the bottom of the barrel?

Posted by: charlietuna666 | July 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

CELESTUN100

Please send Rhee an email making your point. Check out how many of her picks have been released after only one year. Rhee has had three years, fired more than 300 plus people and if the data given is true, the system (elementary) is going backwards.

Also, I would love to see the individual middle and high schools results which are classified as secondary under the Rhee plan. Must be some good news at Ballou but I am surprise this announcement was not made at the miracle school called Sousa.

Posted by: bnew100 | July 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The test scores will give Rhee justification for firing more elementary teachers and admin. And Arne Duncan will probably praise her for it.

Posted by: aby1 | July 13, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

There's a fix for this.

When test scores level off or start to decline, you bring in a new test. The initial scores will be awful. Consecutive years of prepping for the new test will result in higher test scores, until they level off or decline.

Then you bring in a new test. . .

Posted by: Nemessis | July 13, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

www.nclb.osse.dc.gov - DC CAS SY 09

Indicates that only 29 out of 123 elementary schools made AYP in reading & math last year.

4 out of 16 middle schools made AYP in reading & math a nd

2 out of 14 High schools..

The number of schools that DID NOT make AYP has INCREASED this SY 10

Posted by: hello101 | July 13, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

This is really funny. Well, funny to me anyway. Not so much for the taxpayers and parents of DCPS schools.

Michelle Rhee is supposed to be hitting her stride. She's had a good 2 years to implement big changes and she has done so. Now, DCPS is very much her baby, especially the elementary ed children whose educational experiences she has shaped most. They apparently are losing ground.

Now that's just downright odd. perhaps Ms. Rhee doesn't know what she thinks she knows about public education.

Ruh, Roh says Fenty.

Posted by: Nikki1231 | July 13, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

www.nclb.osse.dc.go indicates that DCPS – DC CAS Reports

SY 09

1. 29 out of 132 elementary schools made AYP in reading and math

2. 4 out of 14 middle schools made AYP in reading and math

3. 2 out of 15 high school made AYP in reading and math

This year DC CAS results indicates that the number of DCPS schools that DID NOT make AYP has gotten much HIGHER on the elementary, middle, and high schools.

Michelle Rhee can “spin” the results…however the total number of school that did not meet their targets has INCREASED on all levels.


Posted by: hello101 | July 13, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@celestun:

Your logic is flawed.

The fact is that the students who MOST REFLECT Rhee's approach are the youngest. The older students have been through many years of administrative changes, curriculum changes, testing changes. Something in the aggregate of their experiences at school has helped them continue to make progress, even if it is less than in previous years.

However,to attempt to dismiss a a 5% or greater drop is absurb. This is particularly striking since all of these students, 3rd and 5th graders, have had their experiences of academic standards-curricula-testing shaped by Rhee. Almost *entirely* shaped by Rhee.

Posted by: Nikki1231 | July 13, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@efavorite and all the others rooting for resumed indicators of decline in learning -- you are clearly having a field day. You can't get enough of The Children not learning -- that you will attribute entirely to other people, demographics, the economy, or even the history of the last few decades of DC public education, when we have had home rule. And you just got a big raise.

What would you say a teacher's responsibility for the test scores is? Did you say: none?

Four or five posts on this, efavorite? Ya think Grey can do better? Maybe with you in a key DCPS administrative position, perhaps? Signing bonus, eh?

Posted by: axolotl | July 13, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@Nikki123

I agree. I just have noticed that anytime anybody talks about test scores they are not using them properly. We should be seeing if individual children have improved, not comparing districts.

When I posted about "no quick fixes", I mean what I say but I am being a little sarcastic as I have been reading the stories and posts for the last 6 months or so and have heard about the so called "Baltimore Miracle".

I would email Ms. Rhee with my point, but why should I? I am sure she has heard and dismissed that idea many times and her answer is always "no excuses."

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

axolotl

Something wrong? LOL

Posted by: bnew100 | July 13, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Nothing that some more money wouldn't cure, right? That's the Tao of the Demokrat Apparatchik. Obama's got the printing presses going like the old mimeograph machines of the 60's. Just think Alfred E. Neumann of MAD Magazine fame, and slip in Fenty's photo, or Obama's. Remember, it takes a village to raise idiots.

Posted by: jckristos | July 13, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

She's not tearful concernedaboutdc. Apparently she fired 14 service providers today.

Posted by: candycane1 | July 13, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, axolotl seems a mite perturbed that firing all those teachers who were incompetent didn't raise the test scores. Poor thing.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | July 13, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that the link to this article has disappeared from the Metro main page of the WP site. You must go to local Education to view this article.

That old WP editorial board is working overtime.

Posted by: bnew100 | July 13, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

AGAAIA wrote:

"I have been told that in 2009, answering less than 50% of test questions correctly would result in a proficient rating."

What is your source for this?

Also, the levels for proficient and advanced are not set after the tests are evaluated. The DC-CAS is a benchmark test. It's not a test where, for instance, the top 5% of scores in a cohort are automatically called "advanced." It is possible that zero students could be advanced. Finally, don't forget that the AYP targets for proficiency are adjusted upward every year.

Finally, the full quote from the statistics professor is: "Statistics are like a woman's bikini. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital."

Posted by: gardyloo | July 13, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@celestun-

I agree, we do agree! Your approach to test data is similar to how I would use it.

Posted by: Nikki1231 | July 13, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I could have sworn someone said the test scores don't mean anything....and couldn't possibly have anything to do with teachers.

Posted by: axolotl | July 13, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Bill, the real story is Ballou. I was there this morning, coincidentally, as one of many prospective service providers hoping to come in from the outside and help, and the reason the mayor and Ms. Rhee were there was to praise the principals, staff, and students at Ballou, whose test score increases were in the 20% range. (Why is this not in this report?)

And why did you not ask the mayor or Ms. Rhee why last month Ballou was judged to be failing, and that every teacher has to reapply for their jobs?

In case anyone needs to see that story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/14/AR2010061405068.html

Posted by: paulkp | July 13, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I could have sworn someone named axolotl claimed that teachers and their unions are at the root of all education failures.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | July 13, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Candycane says, "Apparently she fired 14 service providers today."

As I've said many times, she likes firing people. In contrast, other people having a bad day might indulge in an extra beer and a few more Doritos.

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee and her DCPS staff and teachers are doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to enhance the learning opportunities of the district's students-- BUT do not forget that lower IQ students are MUCH more prevalent in poor populations and particularly in lower-IQ ethnic groups such as Blacks and Hispanics. Poor students tend to have lower IQs because lower IQ parents tend to be poor and IQ-type intelligence is a highly heritable mental trait.

We all know that it is simply impossible for Blacks (average IQ about 85) to perform academically as well as Whites (average IQ about 100) or East Asians (average IQ about 106), but yet we like to pretend that Ms. Rhee will somehow perform a miracle. But it is not going to really ever happen. In every place in the world the higher IQ ethnic groups show higher academic performance and the lower IQ ethnic groups show lower academic performance. It is just a fact of human nature.

It is time for everyone to learn to appreciate ethnic diversity in IQ-type intelligence. Some ethnic groups (Jews, East Asians, and high-caste Indians) tend to have higher IQs and thus they are usually highly prosperous and successful and some ethnic groups (Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans) tend to have lower IQs and thus they are usually mired in poverty. Accept REALITY, this is simply a fact of modern human evolution!!! Of course everyone knows that these innate ethnic differences in intelligence exist, but political correctness (the true dominant religion of our times) forbids us from acknowledging this important truth in public.

Posted by: rifraf | July 13, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Rhee must be held accountable for her actions. Clearly, Rhee manufactured a Reduction in Force and disrupted the DCPS instructional program for students SY 09-10.

"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" (Rhee, 2010 Fast Company)

Do the math...Veteran educators were fired and test scores showed a decline!!

No More Excuses!
Enough is Enough!!
Rhee MUST GO!!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | July 13, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Rifraf, I'm afraid you belong on another planet. Do go.

Posted by: paulkp | July 13, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I think it's odd that these scores dropped significantly after Rhee makes major changes and pisses some people off a long the way. Were the elementary teachers out to sabotage her because she won't give in the whims of the union? I would love to interview a few kids or have cameras installed to see how these kid are being taught. Elementary schools is when they are absorbing the most.
This is odd and I smell something fishy from the teachers. I guess people just like the status quo and want to see this woman (Rhee) gone.

Posted by: wendyacosta1 | July 13, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

The wrath of Rhee resulted in 14 people losing their jobs today.

Next up "digging for data".

Vote Fenty out and rid this city of Rhee, too.

Posted by: 2belinda | July 13, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The children who take the test aren't as interested in the outcomes as the adults who administer it.

Posted by: syvetteavery | July 13, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

The children who take the test aren't as interested in the outcomes as the adults who administer it.

Posted by: syvetteavery | July 13, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

wendy, No offense meant, but after working in both elementary and middle schools and high schools, if somebody were going to secretly get their kids to score low to try to do their boss in, it would definitely NOT be the elementary teachers.

You are assuming that the teachers hate their chancellor so much that they would try to get the kids to do poorly. Which in DC could mean that they lose their job, so I think your idea is a little far-fetched.

It makes more sense that by April the kids were tired of testing or just scored a little lower.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

wendycosta - you are a conspiracy theorist

- a conspiracy theorist who has been so turned against teachers that you think they hate children so much they would compromise their education to hurt Michelle Rhee.

- a conspiracy theorist who doesn't know that the teachers' evaluation scores go down if their students' scores go down, so the teachers suffer too.

Some will probably be fired over this, as their evaluation goes from effective to ineffective, based on these scores.

So, according to your theory, these teachers don't teach the kids, so they'll fail and make Rhee look bad, while the teachers put their own jobs in jeopardy.

Some way to get back at Rhee, eh?

Thanks though, for cluing us into the mindset of a diehard Rhee supporter.

Posted by: efavorite | July 13, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

WashingtonPost
Rifraf is a little racist above.

Offensive...

Please remove comment.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 13, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear paulkp and Celestun100,

All the things I wrote about ethnoracial group differences in IQ are well supported by empirical evidence and by papers and books in the scholarly literature written by respected psychologists and IQ experts such as Hans Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, J Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, Linda Gottfredson, Charles Murray, Richard Herrnstein, Satoshi Kanazawa and Heiner Rindermann. If you disagree with the veracity of my statements, then perhaps you could point out specific points that you feel are not true. Or maybe you realize that what I wrote was all actually true but just a bit too unpleasant for you to acknowledge. Perhaps you could point to some school system (somewhere on this planet, paulkp) where the facts that I describe are not true?

Posted by: rifraf | July 13, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I don’t agree with Rifraf because statistics shows that black people from Latin America and Africa perform better or much better academically than black students here in U.S., even though the learning condition is much worse in Latin America and Africa than D.C. I blame affirmative action for their poor performance. If you know that you can get by without working very hard, then why do you work hard? Just as simple as that. Black students in U.S. should be held with the same standard as other ethnic groups so that they know if you don’t work hard, you’ll fail as students from other ethnic groups, period.

Posted by: newcomer1 | July 13, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I would add another point. Sports machines such as NBA and NFL have been ruining the futures of many black students. Every black boy has a dream to become a sports star, which is completely an illusion. Just as Charles Barkley once put it, black students should go back to classroom rather than spending most of their time playing in basketball courts. As a group they can only succeed in classrooms, not in basketball courts. NBA has only fewer than 50 openings a year. So please don’t take LeBron or Koby or Jorden as the role model for your kids. They are just there to make your money.

Posted by: newcomer1 | July 13, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Rifraf, just because you can find other racists who share your disgusting views doesn't make them accurate or true.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | July 13, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll bite.

Most _____ are _____. Therefore I am supposed to conclude what about the boy I am working with, trying to get him to get up to grade level? Can a generalization ever be applied to a single person or small group--say a fourth grade class? Not sure I get the point, except the point is to put my head back in the sand.

And by the way, let us know exactly what lower expectations we are supposed to have for the ________ (fill in with the perceived designated lower achievers).

Posted by: paulkp | July 13, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

rifraf writes:

"We all know that it is simply impossible for Blacks (average IQ about 85) to perform academically as well as Whites (average IQ about 100) or East Asians (average IQ about 106), but yet we like to pretend that Ms. Rhee will somehow perform a miracle. But it is not going to really ever happen. In every place in the world the higher IQ ethnic groups show higher academic performance and the lower IQ ethnic groups show lower academic performance. It is just a fact of human nature.

It is time for everyone to learn to appreciate ethnic diversity..."

------------

Even though his comments are abhorrent, it is certainly time for some to "appreciate" the First Amendment.

Whether or not this constitutes hate speech can be debated, but such words have always generated hatred and distrust. In Germany, there is far less tolerance for this type of speech, and people go to jail.

It is unfortunate that we need to respond to such ignorant, racist and hate inspiring speech. And this is well past "a little racist" as was pointed out in another post.

By rifraf's reasoning, we should be happy to have an Asian American as Chancellor. And since he has not yet weighed in on Jewish people, I am not sure what to think of NYC Chancellor Joel Klein.

Come to think of it ... we do not know where rifraf fits in the IQ order of ethnic groups. Sure hope rifraf is not in mine, as I suppose it would be "simply impossible" for me to be any smarter.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 14, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

gardyloo:

The DC-CAS is like the SAT or other standardized tests where there is significant analysis that takes place after all the dots are filled in. It is a 'benchmark test' as you describe, but those benchmarks are set, not to a curve, but in consideration of many factors.

For instance, a question may be thrown out as being unreliable. And the entire graded test may be determined to by more difficult or more easy than the preceding years as judged by a panel under OSSE's direction. The scores required to reach the levels of Basic, Proficient and Advanced are then set accordingly.

-------------

From the Q & A page of the OSSE website:

"3. What is the test proficiency standard that students have to meet?

Starting in 2006 students have to meet the DC-CAS proficiency standards that were recommended by a committee of teachers and administrators and approved by the Board of Education in the summer of 2006. The standard setting committee included educators who work with all kinds of students including students with disabilities and English language learners.

Prior to 2006 students had to score at the national 40th percentile or higher on the SAT9."

My Comment: The 40th percentile of the SAT9 was NOT a high standard for "Proficiency"; and the divergence in the percentage of students rated Proficient or Advanced by the DC-CAS as compared to a much more carefully designed and evaluated NAEP test should be a cause of great concern for all.

And Bill Turque writes about the first round entry RTTT evaluation of the DCPS: "The District earned just six out of a possible 24 points because its education data system is much less robust than those in Tennessee and Delaware. The District's fledgling effort, known as the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data Warehouse (SLED), has been plagued by problems, including the dismissal last year of its main contractor."

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About the (less than 50% correct answer) number I reported, OSSE staff and others who have been involved in the testing process have said this to me. I remember a conversation where the number was below 45% for one test. Since I am not in the inner-circle that actually sets these threshold levels, I cannot state with certainty what the actual percentages are, but I do believe the people who have reported very similar numbers and who are involved in the process.

If I can get someone on the record, or obtain raw data, I would distribute this to the community if OSSE agreed this was not confidential. It is important that we can be confident in these metric systems that not only evaluate our children, but will determine whether teachers and administrators keep their jobs.

And gardyloo, you did well to fill out the quote: "Statistics are like a woman's bikini. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital." These certainly could benefit from closer scrutiny.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 14, 2010 4:58 AM | Report abuse

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