Saturday, September 13, 2014

PPS presentation on some AP and IB results

 Presentation to the Board:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/09/09/Pittsburgh-schools-to-make-big-cuts-in-testing/stories/201409090234

11 comments:

Questioner said...

From another thread:

"The new PDE School Performance Profiles (SPP) gives extra points for AP courses."

When did SPP's begin receiving extra points for AP's taken whether or not passed?

Questioner said...

From another thread:

"Questioner: The points are added to the School Performance Profile (SPP). PDE began last year, 2013, and will continue in 2014 to give "extra points" to the school for offering the course."

- So the course just needs to be offered for SPP points, regardless of the number of students who take the course or take or pass the exam?

Anonymous said...

Here's another problem with giving points for just taking an AP course: it encourages administrators to drop most prerequisites for such courses.

Few prerequisites means higher class enrollment means more points means the administrators look better.

And that puts enormous pressure on the course teachers. Do you water down the course because there are now so many unprepared students in the class?

Or do you teach as before, and fail out students? Remember, many PPS administators see student failure as irrefutable evidence of teacher failure.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. There has been a huge push for more ap offerings in the district. At leas in my school it was sold as increasing rigor and improving equity. I've had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I think.k it's good to offer the courses and push students to work hard and take more challenging courses. On the other hand pushing students to take classes they're not prepared for can have a negative impact on them and the whole program. Still I know teachers who's ap test scores have been consistently improving. This whole spp thing makes me think that the district motivation behind this push is just another way to game the books. Where is the integrity in central office?

Anonymous said...

Here's some background - seems that even enrolling in the courses makes a difference in college persistence rates for students, regardless of whether they actually take or pass the exam.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/college_bound/2012/10/study_links_college_persistence_to_math_preparation_ap_courses_and_advising.html

The District offers pre-AP & IB prep courses over the summer and review sessions in the spring before the exams.

The College Board (organization behind the SAT & AP exams) requires the approval of the curriculum for AP courses - I believe a copy of it, including the grading policy, must be sent to them for approval before a course can be certified as "AP", however I know nothing about the pre-requisites or how students are scheduled in to these advanced courses.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Science in PPS, especially at Obama Academy, is very bad. The scores prove it. We have known it for years. Perhaps they will listen soon. But, this year began and the Chem teacher who was new to Obama last year was moved to Westinghouse and then quit after one day. Meanwhile, the new Chem teacher who moved into Obama quit too, after one day.

Likewise, the great Physics teacher at Langley in its last year was moved to U-Prep and lasted one year and then fled the district. He should and could have been moved to Obama then.

Fumbles by administration who hire in the Sciences need to be fixed. The students are getting ripped off because of the poor levels of teaching in this discipline.

(Above was also posted to the P-G site after the article.)

Questioner said...

With good science teachers in such short supply, a science school may not be in the best interest of all students. With a graduating class of only about 60 students, and those students split into 4 different areas of concentration, there are most likely many classes with enrollment way under capacity. Nice for the students who happen to get in, but it leaves the majority of students underserved.

Anonymous said...

There is only a shortage of good teachers who are WILLING to put up with the madness that CO created in some of these schools. Teachers in PA leave the state because they can't get PA jobs, yet these positions are unstaffed. CO & ill advised "reform" caused the 'short supply' of teachers.

Anonymous said...

Right you are, 5:35. I'm a PPS science teacher. And I still like my job, most of the time.

But when science student teachers ask for my advice, I regretfully tell them not to even apply to the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The "reforms" have destroyed us. Working here can break your spirit, and your love for teaching.

And yes, I feel bad about having to say that. PPS students need and deserve good teachers in all fields.

But being a good teacher really doesn't matter all that much anymore in the PPS. We all must follow a script, with no opportunity to apply our skills as we know best.

Then add to that mix the appalling lack of discipline in many schools. So when student teachers ask for my advice, I'm honest with them. Avoid the chaos here. There are saner opportunities elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I am not blaming parents-- cause you wouldnt be reading this blog if you didnt care ALOT-- but the truth is-- in the burbs if there were free classes associated with universities to help prep kids for AP classes (that save parents $$) suburban kids would be literally pushed out of cars, handed bus schedules,forced to car pool with people they hated-- you name it to get their kids there.

Anonymous said...

How about some good news:

http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6818586-74/google-pittsburgh-students#axzz3E3uShZHl

Props to math teacher Roseann Casciato at Allderdice for applying to and receiving graphing calculators from Google. Google reps visited her AP Calculus AB class with the calculators. The only down side was that the mayor accompanied them for a photo op. He is everywhere!