Originally Posted by Linda on the move
YES!!!! The public school my kids went to didn't have as strong of a reputation as some of the other schools in the area, but looking at the test score by demographic was mind blowing. Every single demographic tested better in our school, but we had a higher % of kids in demographics that tend to score lower. Minority children on free/reduced lunch score lower than other groups, and we had a fairly high % of kids in that group, but they did better in our school than ANY other school in the area. When I looked at the scores for white kids not on reduced lunch, our scores were higher for every subject in every grade than the surrounding schools. Yet, the other schools were still perceived as "better," either because the average was higher or just because more of the kids were white (I could never quite figure that out .) I always though it said a lot about our teachers that our average was NEARLY as good as the schools that had a different demographic.
ITA. When we moved to our current city, we were able to get a book that listed not only each schools scores, but their "expected" scores based on a variety of factors. So, basically equalizing for parental education, income, etc... It was really eye opening to see that some of the "really good" schools could have been doing a lot better and some of the "really bad" schools were getting some amazing results given the disadvantages some of the kids were working from.
Our district also had at least one school "failing" that had a highly transient population. When you just compared the kids who were there a full year, they scores were great. When you threw in 30-40+% of the population that had only been at that school a couple months the nubmers were way lower.
Originally Posted by Dar
I used to sub a lot in the public schools, as a special ed teacher. I ran across stuff like moderately developmentally delayed middle schoolers who were mostly working on practical living skills (buying groceries, cooking simple meals, reading/recognizing warning signs) who were also spending a period a day memorizing Latin roots, for the upcoming testing. It was ridiculous. When I was teaching and/or subbing it was really difficult to get kids in special ed exempted (not sure if that's still true), so a lot of kids just had to spent a week or two taking tests that were just too hard for them, and they knew they were not doing well and felt so crappy about it. It was always a miserable week, even though I tried to make sure we did a lot of fun things when we weren't testing.
That is so frustrating! Our most recent thing like that is that the district busses ELL (English Language Learners) to certain schools. I think, long term, it is a great plan and actually ends up with the kids fluent in English. In the district I grew up in, ELL (ESL there) classes are only like 30 minutes twice a week and the kids rarely "catch up." AND they're missing math, or social studies, or *whatever* while they go to their ELL classes. In our district, they have ELL classes with the idea that a year (or two) of intense ELL instruction actually gets the kids ready to be a mainstream classroom. What this means, though, is that one specific school has all of the children with the worst English skills. And way more than the amount they can exclude from testing. So you have a bunch of kids with very weak English taking a test, IN ENGLISH, and, of course, failing. There is nothing wrong with the school (my DD went there one year and it was great, we moved because a new school opened in our neighborhood and it was overcrowded) but they're never going to test as well as the rest of the schools in the district.