Friday, February 13, 2015

A chart shows the grades our schools should really get

An interesting chart is making the rounds. It shows how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools would have performed on the state's A-F grades if the formula were weighted differently.

Under the law, a school's grade is based 80 percent on test scores and 20 percent on how much growth that school has shown. As a result, the grades were no surprise: Schools filled with poor kids did worse than schools with few poor kids.

Some critics, including the Observer editorial board, argue that the A-F grades would be vastly improved if more weight was given to how much growth a school has shown, not only where it is at one point in time.

This chart, which comes from CMS, shows what would happen.

Under the 80/20 formula, 47 CMS schools were given a D or F. If the formula were 50-50, no schools would get an F and 16 would get a D. If the formula were 20-80 (80 percent of the grade based on growth), five schools would get a D and none would get an F.

This is not tinkering the formula to make your schools get artificially better grades. It's tinkering the formula to more properly weight how much progress a school is making, which is an important measure. It just so happens that this more accurate gauge also reveals that public schools aren't performing as badly as the state grades lead you to believe.

Taylor Batten


cmsparent2010 said...

Try a "revised" chart using a 7 or 10 point scale. Not the 14 point scale used in the original data. In no real world is a 84 an A.

Unknown said...

The dumbing down of 'Murica continues, led by the Observer. It's no wonder the US is having to import foreign workers to fill jobs the average CMS is too uneducated to fill.
Soon all the good IT jobs will be non-US born residents, and the CMS grads will be sweeping the floors and working the fast food trade.

Willy Loman said...

Hey, don't forget the "if ifs and buts were candy and nuts"

Unknown said...

I don’t think you can ‘tinker’ with CMS school grades and increase the weight of school ‘improvement’ because it doesn’t reflect what those students at that particular point in time are achieving (or not).

The purpose of the ‘grade’ is to reflect the state of that school at that particular point in time.

CMS’ inner-city schools have been ‘improving’ for 40 years (go back and read the hundreds of articles the Observer has written about that). Inner-city schools and minority students, regardless of this ‘improvement, are still in the same terrible spot. In the 70’s and 80’s CMS would transfer white or black students from school A to school B so that there was no real trail of educational carnage that could be followed. Some years Wilson Middle was a disaster zone. Then CMS would craftily move white students and Wilson’s test scores would miraculously rise. The Observer would report on the increase with much fanfare when the real reason for the improvement was the transfer in of adjacent white students from stable families.

With the end of race-based busing and the advent of neighborhood schools, CMS was faced with a new reality that inner-city schools will fail because most of the students, generation after generation, don’t learn. No more ‘tinkering’ with busing to hide the results. That was actually one of the reasons I worked to end race-based busing – to force that reality into the light.

You all do not do these children (or their parents) any service by reworking the test into a ‘but you tried so hard’ participation trophy. By my account 64 of CMS schools received an ‘F’ if you just used the ‘overall grade’ and applied the standard 10 point scale the State of NC plans for next year.

People either achieve to the standard or they do not. Kids have to learn that an early age not coddled into thinking that ‘you tried’ so you get a ‘C’. Reminds me of those sports venues where ‘everyone gets a trophy’ and no one keeps score. That isn’t life – competition is life – and most in the inner-city are failing that educational test.

Whether it is the SAT or an AP exam – tests measure knowledge against a fixed standard, not ‘improvement’ among the test takers.

Bru5w said...

What really bothers me about this is the school system received grades that are inherently different than what students are given. One of my children's schools rated a 71 which according to this data rated as a B. If this were a test my child had taken they would have been given a D. Go ahead and use the original and revised data and show the results like cmsparent2010 suggested. I would be VERY interested in seeing those results.

Wiley Coyote said...

"if"...the biggest word in the dictionary.

"if" a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass everytime he hopped.

When you can get a 50 for putting your name on a blank sheet of paper and turning it in "for effort", a letter grade on schools is the least of your worries.

When you lower the standards just to get a higher graduation rate but the graduates can't spell their name, the school letter grade is immaterial.

Public education will continue to be in the toilet as it has been for the past 45 years with this kind of analysis by the same people who believe forced busing to achieve integration was a success.

kantstanzya said...

Why keep going through all these machinations with changing standards and adjusting measurements to achieve a desired result? The liberals who want to protect the failed public school monopoly will never be satisfied until they can give the public schools all A's.And if they can't continue to blame it on lack of more money.

Just go ahead and concoct a system where they get an A already and be done with it! In liberal land in it is never about real results anyway. It is about "good intentions".

Cornelia said...

This is all just ridiculous. CMS is failing to educate the students from high poverty areas, which is what a majority of its enrollment consists of these days.The economies of Mecklenburg County and Charlotte are and will continue to suffer because of it. But, they just keep kicking the can on down the road, rewarding central staff and the BOE for abject failure.

Bruce Aiken said...

This article should make you cry.If you have to ask why then you are the problem.

Bruce Aiken said...

This article should make you cry.If you have to ask why then you are the problem.

Wiley Coyote said...



1 a: a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant (2): a state procession

b: a tour or circuit made by an official (as a judge)

c: an expedition, journey, or march through a region

2 a: forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance

3: gradual betterment; especially: the progressive development of humankind

— in progress

: going on : occurring

Notice a pattern here?

Liberalism, as long as it's moving, then what's the problem?

It doesn't matter where, just as long as it's "forward".

MSNBC/NBC - Lean forward.

From the Obama website: We’re the people who don’t just support progressive change—we’re fighting for it.

Also: President Obama: People want an agenda that moves us all forward

So this has been ongoing, progressing for 45 years without much change.

How long has West Charlotte been "moving forward" or "progressing" just to get a D?

I'd say at least a decade.... BUT WE'RE PROGRESSING!!!!

CAT said...

I think that it is comical that the same systems arguing for growth to be the largest component of a school grade issue grades daily to their students based on PERFORMANCE. Do you want to live in a world where our med students, engineering students, etc.,are issued grades based upon growth? I know I don't. I want the doctor that aced each course. Even in the current system, you are penalizing high performing schools. If your school-wide proficiency rate is 90% there is very little room for growth. If your school-wide proficiency rate is 30%, growth is much easier to achieve. If we are going to use GROWTH as the main indicator for school grades, it would make sense to intentionally bomb 3rd grade tests and then just show small increments of growth each year.

Cornelia said...

The CMS legal department's incomes grew last year. Does Battle get an A, Taylor? Suppose he must, since the CO seems no longer to be progressing toward bringing its readers answers to how and why Morrison left. Guess you are content with the Mess that Is CMS.

Cornelia said...

Since CMS presumedly "educated" most of those middle and high school students from "failing" schools since their first "school" experience, how do you explain that they weren't "ready" when they entered these schools that achieved all that "growth" during the past school year? Were they not acieving the same "growth" the year before that and the year before that?

Larry said...

Thanks observer the spin is in.

Larry said...

Oh, and High Schools should be graded on their drop out rate.

Shamash said...

"A chart shows the grades our schools should really get".


C'mon now, surely this is a joke.

Give it up CO, based on the comments, you should be able to tell that people aren't swallowing this crap.

SCI said...

No one is going to trust results when they don't trust the testing used to calculate the results. There only seem to be two camps in the testing debate: (1)mandatory testing is necessary to provide the an "objective" basis for comparison or (2) too much testing forces a teacher to "teach to the test" which causes unnecessary stress to the students and anxiety to teachers that believe EOG testing will be the exclusive factor in determining teacher performance. What I don't see is clear and substantive information provided to the general public on what is in the tests, how many tests are given, is there overlap in the testing and finally, the impact that has on student performance.

I do believe there needs to be common testing nationally so that school systems have equivalent measures for comparison if for no other reason that adequately assessing the performance of transferring students. When my family moved it took my teachers months to figure out I was not as stupid as they thought I was because they had no standard evaluation tool (and, to be fair, I spoke with a Southern accent). If the tests don't accurately assess student performance change them, clearly showing how and why.

Show me how the current educational environment teaches higher level thinking skills so I can understand that much of our "fact based" teaching will be obsolete in 5-10 years. Out of curiosity I looked at some of the common core standards and they didn't seem unreasonable. If they are developmentally inappropriate show me where and why. If group work incorporating multiple subjects works more effectively show me where.

If EOG testing accurately assesses student performance then there should be no harm in "teaching to the test" and teachers should not fear testing used as an evaluation tool.

Show me specific plans to address social and economic disadvantages.

Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Show me if teacher education methods have changed and what they are supposed to accomplish.

I don't have children in the school system but today's students are the people who will be taking care of me in the nursing home so I have a vested interest in their success

Show me something.