At the October 22, 2019 Board meeting for USD 500 Dr. Charles Foust presented his report regarding the results of the State of Kansas evaluation of testing for the 2018-19 school year titled, “SY2018-2019 Outcome Data” The entire report can be found at a link at the bottom of this post.
Congratulations are in order for staff and administration that developed the curriculum for the district; for all the teachers who led the students through that curriculum; and for all the students who helped show improvement in many areas.
When faced with this kind of data intensive report, it is easy to pick and choose what is being focused on and what is being ignored.
It is important to use consistent language about the data. The Kansas Department of Education is using a four step scoring methodology. Here is the definition for the area of Math:
Math Assessment Results
Kansas assessment results are now reported in four levels. Level 1 indicates that a student shows a limited ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness. Level 2 indicates that a student shows a basic ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness. Level 3 indicates that a student shows an effective ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness. Level 4 indicates that a student shows an excellent ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness.
Building, district, and state-level reports provide summaries of the percent of students at each performance level. Assessment results capture a point-in-time and represent one part of a student’s and schools’ overall educational experience.
And here are the State of Kansas Results for Math as reported using this four step process:
Notice that the lowest level, Level 1, decreased from 2018 to 2019 and that is a huge advancement. But also notice that nowhere in the State definitions is the word “proficiency” used to describe the status of students.
Think of the four steps like the old A-B-C-D way of grading were Level 1 would be a D, Level 2 would be a C, etc. With this definition of measurement used by the State, approximately 44% of KCK students get a D while approximately 56% get a C or better. Room for improvement, sure and progress, sure.
The concern comes from the term “proficiency” used in the report presented to the Board of Education by the superintendent. And in the presented report it appears to say that only 18.6% of USD 500 students are “proficient” which would mean that 81.4% are not. This is a stark difference from the full state report (a link to that report is found at the end of this post). Here is a page from the superintendent report showing this rating:
It is good to have data driven discussions so long as the data is used appropriately and consistent definitions are used as well. So how do we ensure parents understand progress of the district? What is the rationale for highlighting data in such a limited way that does not appear to align with how the State Department reports results? Thinking even more broadly, are results on a single assessment the only thing that matters when determining progress of our school district?
This Blog is being generated by a group of citizens invited by USD 500 to participate as a Citizen's Advisory Committee during the Bond Issue campaign. This group continues to be involved in supporting USD 500 and watching the results from the successful Bond election. This Blog is best read from the bottom/oldest post to the to/newest post.