Monday, November 15, 2010

"City schools get mixed grades in annual report"

PG article about this year's A+ Schools report:


Questioner said...

At the press conference, A+ indicated that "overall, we see progress in schools across the district" but what does this really mean?

Grade 3 math was up but reading was down; grade 4 results were up slightly; grade 5 math and reading were down; grade 6 math and reading were up; grade 7 and 8 math and reading were up slightly; grade 11 math was down and grade 11reading was about the same. The PG header about mixed results seems more accurate than a message of "overall progress".

Anonymous said...

Another mixed message of interpreting data results of testing-----

Here is the Trib article

Racial achievement gap in city schools shrinking

The racial achievement gap in Pittsburgh Public Schools is smaller compared to 2007, according to the education watchdog group A+ Schools.

Questioner said...

Here is the link to the Trib article:

Another issue is the benchmark of proficent or advanced versus not proficient. As scores steadily increase across the state, the percentage advanced becomes more of a distinguishing factor. In the strongest Pittsburgh public schools there will often be a relatively small racial gap in proficiency, but a huge gap in the percentage advanced.

Anonymous said...

Having attended the A+ Press Conference this morning, I left with one question for which I would like an interpretation or rationale. The statement was made three times as directly quoted, "Black Students in Schools Compared to White Students across the District."

Please help the understanding of why this comparison is "fair" or "legitimate" as the Report was characterized by MR.

Questioner said...

The quoted language doesn't seem to make sense.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Was it, then, a thrice repeated mis-statement?

Or______can't think of a possible purpose???

Anonymous said...

Miss Harris continues to embarrass herself by passing herself and her organization off as a "watchdog" group. On the contrary, a true watchdog would carry clout and would have the administration scrambling to have yet another good media return.
Thanks to Harris and her continued soft cell, they probably have a good laugh about her down on Bellefield Avenue.

Nice to be an administrator these days. Absolutely no oversight. You can do as you want, say what you want and be as boorish as you want...and still get paid.

Here's hoping all administrators get their just rewards and are sent back to the classroom, to revisit their days as miserable failures.

Anonymous said...

The statement was made three times as directly quoted, "Black Students in Schools Compared to White Students across the District. Please help the understanding of why this comparison is "fair" or "legitimate" as the Report was characterized by MR."

I also do not understand why this comparison is necessary. Can you tell us what you think the comparison should be? Should it be black students compared to white students in that school only?

Anonymous said...

First, here is why I do not understand IF that is the comparison.

1) Typically, with few exceptions, when you compare Black and/or White students WITHIN a school, that they are similar in demographics, the school has teachers, classrooms, lessons, and a culture that are similar AND are under the philosophy, guidance and management of a single Principal.

2) Black students or White students in another school, even in the same district have, are likely to experience a variation in demographics, culture, teachers, etc. because there is a difference in numbers of Black students (40 to 240), a difference in location, and a different Principal.

3) The difference in the many schools within a District with differing demographics, location, (magnet status) and Principal would constitute a VERY DIFFERENT set of DATA.

Thus, comparing ANY one school against the District does not allow for ANY of the variables since the District is a combination of all schools including schools like CAPA or Allderdice who recruit and maintaing large numbers already high-achieving White students.

To make the point, how and why would it be "fair" or legitimate to take a Black student population like a Belmar or Vann (examples) and compare them to the DISTRICT White student population that include the recruited high-achieving students.

You are comparing apples and oranges and depending on the SCHOOL with Black students that you choose to compare with the DISTRICT White students as a whole. What would the purpose of such a comparison be? It escapes me, that why I put it out there, hoping for some logical rationale.

(I hope this makes sense, if not let me know. Thanks)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to answer the question:

Yes, absolutely it should be Black students to White students WITHIN the same SCHOOL____and/or compare Black Students with White students WITHIN the same DISTRICT.

Thank you for asking the question!

Anonymous said...

What is known about The New Teacher's Project (TNTP)?

Has this TNTP begun yet in Pittsburgh?

Who is managing and organizing the project?

What is the cost and estimated time period?

Where has it been effective? How? Why? But what measure/

bystandertoo said...

A+ seems to be doing a lot of gathering of information to put out the report. They have a team of volunteers watching the board and creating a report card. They sponsor community meetings and try to get more people to the table. The PG article regurgitated a lot of numbers that A+ regurgitated from whatever source they used, perhaps PPS or PDE? The achievement gap exists in all corners of the country, Pittsburgh did not invent it and was not the first to report on it. With all these factions discussing and providing information on the gap shouldn't somebody set aside all the stinking numbers and maybe talk to a real trunaround artist? That would be a kid who closed his/her personal achievement gap. They exist.

Questioner said...

That's an interesting idea- really look into kids her in Pittsburgh who have shown consistent improvement over years that is much greater than the level of improvement shown for the applicable grade level across the state.

A+ gets direct access to PPS data systems, according to the A+ description on how data was obtained. The A+ board decides what information to report.

Anonymous said...

Data is gathered and reported by A+, PDE, PPS, NAEP to inform the public. It is committed EDUCATORS, who will close the achievement gap, not researchers, not data collectors, not watch dog groups, not parents, and not students.

It is not a mystery, its not unattainable; it takes equity of 'resources' and treatment, educational justice, and committed educators who understand cognitive theory, child psychology, appropriate educational goals, and effective instructional strategies.

needaruling said...

I am trying hard to understand and would like an example of a resource inequity with at least a grade level or school names or a subject. We parents just hear words sometimes and need this extra bit to fully understand. We have been told that equity means that those kids and buildings that need MORE to achieve get more. We hear a board member express frustration when a PTO rises to the challenge of improving the computer resources in a building through parent and fundraising efforts. How do you separate the equity application and still let parent involvement benefit the building where your child attends?

Questioner said...

One resource inequity might be that Sci Tech and U Prep students receive laptop computers, while those in other schools do not.

At the same time, those two schools didn't really have books in their libraries last time we checked. More than a year after the schools opened we were told the books were "on order." And without expensive subscriptions and extensive training, laptops do not take the place of libraries.

Anonymous said...

At the 11/17/10 agenda review meeting Mr. Brentley asked about the numbers of disciplinary actions and using the info as part of the discussion to inform the public as the Westinghouse single gender plan unfolds. Ms. Fischetti responded for the admin by noting that the info is contained in the A+ report. A+ gets the data from the district.

Take a look at the report. For Oliver having 416 students the report states 79.4 incidents/100 students. For Langley with 432 students 8.8/100. Something is wrong. Could we have a difference of interpretation here on what is an incident and what is not? Brings the report into question doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

UPrep numbers are astounding.

Questioner said...

U Prep: 115.6 incidents per 100.

CAPA: 1.6 incidents per 100.

SciTech: "n/a"

Obama: "n/a"

Is n/a not applicable? Not available? There was that incident last year where a sci tech student set off some sort of explosive in a rest room, so there should be at least one incident to report!

Anonymous said...

Must be not available. There were definitely incidents that resulted in suspensions at Obama. Probably not nearly as many actions taken as there should have been,though.

Anonymous said...

could it be "not-allowed"?

Anonymous said...

It was disturbing to learn, in the words of Chief of Staff, Fischetti,i at the Agenda Review Meeting, that "A+ Schools received all of its data from PPS" ____as opposed to the Department of Education. PPS does not have PSSA DATA that can be accessed at the Board. PPS is making available the A+ Schools Report.

When the solicitor was questioned about how to get the PPS data, he responded that he would go to the PDE site.

If the Chief of Staff is correct, in that A+ Schools gets "all of its data from PPS" (not PDE) A+ Schools is not an independent agency nor a legitimate watch dog. That was very disappointing to learn.

Questioner said...

A Plus indicates that it has access to raw data that is not reported on the state web site.

Anonymous said...

WHERE? AT PPS, as stated by Ms Fischetti?

Raw DATA? Whose? DRC?

Or PPS "raw data" ??????

The source of the DATA is imperative, just as it is critical to know whose formulas they use to calculate, forumlate and format the data as it is presented in the A+ Booklet.


Will they reveal this information?

Questioner said...

The description of where the data comes from should be in the A+ report.

Anonymous said...

It is not that simple______it is a question that has many answers, and then, too, more than a few are created on the spot at A+_____by individuals hired for that purpose______names without appropriate credentials____sorry for the question.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, I too am puzzled by the n/a in the incident reports.

If there were truly no incidents at a particular school, wouldn't the reporting number be 0, not n/a?

Questioner said...

Yes, because the Schenley number is 0. Maybe the issue is that they were "new schools" that had not had most of their grades for a full school year. But as noted above, these numbers may be inconsistent and unreliable anyway.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the question came up last night at the final EFA meeting with the superintendent and and explanation is forthcoming.