Wednesday, November 13, 2013

presentation on MCAS by Maureen Kavanaugh

While Ms. Kavanaugh's presentation is not currently up online, she said she'd put it there. Once she does, I will link to it.
...who starts with what MCAS is and where it came from (or at least its intent)
individual student reports include performance on individual items, score overall, and score level

plus student growth percentile: how is your student doing compared to similar students
ranges from 1 to 99 compares on student's history compared to other students in the state that are similar
"better to or equal to" a particular percentage of similar students (given that two years of the same)
some rules of thumb: 1-19 is very low; 40-60 is typical growth; very high growth is anything over 88
follows a distribution curve
Q: what if your kid struggles? compares to other students and how they have done
Kavanaugh: "the myth of the perfect's just another attempt to come up with another angle"
rests on the assumption that we should see the same growth in a student on an IEP as a student without; for a student in Worcester as one in Wellesley
At school level: number proficient and median student growth percentile (and same rules of thumb apply in what is a good growth and what is not)
ELA proficiency: as grades increase, percent proficient increases
proficient or above: achievement increases by grade
trends over time compared to state: staying at about 18 percent lower than the state lower
when it comes to data like this, "we can't say what it is; that requires further study"
"do see this increase up into the high school statewide, definitely a trend"
percent of students falling within the various growth catagories: typical or higher growth for majority of students in 5th, 6th, 10th grades
by subgroups: all performing at the same levels as the other groups do, except for sped
"high needs" (ELL, low income, or sped combined (but each kid counted once)
median SGP about the same as state
Math proficiency:  more mixed bag: many doing well in 5th and 6th
peaks and valleys in grade by grade over time
difficult to compare trends across grades, because the test itself changes
"can't attribute any causal statements" to results
suggested that gap closes over time
"can't say with any certainty based on this data"; where we should investigate further
"for different schools the reason can be different"
results by schools are very different, as well
one potential use of this data is query of what happens when an elementary school departmentalizes
"a little less far away" from the state as we were in ELA
gap a bit smaller than in ELA (still around 19%) but also holding steady
growth distributions: largely 80% growth or higher, with a difference in the middle
subgroups also tracking with general population, with special ed a bit lower
tracking at state median
Science: grade 5, grade 8, grade 10 is largely biology and engineering (there is also chemistry and physics, but very few students take those)
performance is much lower in science than it is in math or ELA
science now included as a datapoint in state accountability system
"nobody does really great in science"
"trends over time...see what could be a trend over might be closing just a little bit"
curriculum standards report: answers based on curriculum standards
item analysis: percentage of students that got particular items right or wrong and what can be done with that (for schools)
How is the information used?
evaluate school and district performance and hold them accountable for making progress towards particular improvement targets
identify weaknesses; inform and improve curriculum and instruction
identify student strengths and weaknesses
determine if high school students meet graduation requirements
Q: any difference in retesters? can't answer that
science tests have no retake
students taking biology: they take it in grade 9 and they're done; not taking anything later
Q: tracking students after graduation? Yes, through national clearinghouse
have only had access to it for the last year and a half : have begun mining post secondary data
Q: what about students entering K at four? data disaggregated showed that those students did better than typically aged students
do evaluation of MCAS and then move on; we should be using other markers of performance by this point in the year; look at student achievement from multiple angles
Q: are doing anything for the students who excel?  answer about moving each student farther

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