Wednesday, March 28, 2018

THIS AND THAT FOR MARCH

Here are several interesting articles around the web in the last month that you might enjoy:

More Voucher Research - and It's All Bad

If you have not heard, House Bill 590, the "scholarship" bill that would have ushered in vouchers to the state of Idaho, was held in the Senate Education Committee. Every education stakeholder with the exception of the Charter School Network and Bluum
(essentially the same organization operating under the Albertson Foundation umbrella) opposed the bill, including the Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Education Association, and the Idaho Board of Education.

In some form, this bill will likely be back, no matter how bad an idea it represents. But two new articles cast further aspersions on the idea of vouchers. "Congressional legislation seeks to fund school vouchers for military families — despite major opposition from military families" was featured in Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post. Remember that vouchers for military children were part of Idaho's failed attempt in HB 590.

A new summary of the failure of vouchers around the country comes from the Center for American Progress, and is titled "The Highly Negative Impacts of Vouchers". The article, by Ulrich Boser, Meg Benner, and Erin Roth, highlights the negative impacts of vouchers in Louisiana, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and then adds in the Washington D.C. program's failures. The authors make this remarkable statement:

"How bad are school vouchers for students? Far worse than most people imagine. Indeed, according to the analysis conducted by the authors of this report, the use of school vouchers—which provide families with public dollars to spend on private schools—is equivalent to missing out on more than one-third of a year of classroom learning."

The Upshot: Aging America, Reach of Racism for Black Boys

In "Why Outer Suburbs in the East and Midwest Have Stopped Booming, NY Times Upshot contributor Robert Gebeloff paints a picture of how increasing numbers of suburbs are aging and seeing more deaths than births.

“It is one of the biggest puzzles of my career as a demographer,” said Kenneth Johnson, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire who has studied the various components of population change for years.  “Each year when new data comes out, I expect to see a significant uptick in births, but I have yet to see it.”

It's interesting to note that we have focused a few times on stagnant kindergarten numbers statewide that have led to stalled overall enrollment.

The Statesman carried this article , but if you missed it, "Extensive Data Shows Punishing
Reach of Racism for Black Boys" is fascinating. Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy write about the results of a wide-ranging and groundbreaking study led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. The study itself covers considerably more ground than does the New York Times article, and is definitely worth a read.

From the study summary:

"Among those who grow up in families with comparable incomes, black men grow
up to earn substantially less than the white men. In contrast, black women earn
slightly more than white women conditional on parent income. Moreover, there is

little or no gap in wage rates or hours of work between black and white women."

Generational Analysis from Pew

The Pew Research Center publishes some excellent demographic research. "How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago" , by Richard Fry, is a great example. Fry provides information about work habits, education, marital status, service in the military, and urban-rural living status.

For example, here's a screenshot of an interactive chart in the article. You can see that this shot is of ethnic distributins for the generations in 2017. There are a number of other comparisons to view, as well.



Op-Ed on School Choice

Natalie Hopkinson is a Professor at Howard University, and a resident of the District of Columbia. In this HuffPost op-ed entitled "School Choice’ Is A Lie That Harms Us All", she writes about her personal struggle with choice and avoiding D.C public schools, and the realization she has come to about education in America.

She pulls no punches:

"Parents and policymakers need to overcome the collective amnesia that has taken root in our society about the long, sordid story of school choice. So many of the choices that we make, personally and collectively, are about running away from this history. At some point, instead of fleeing and hunting for the next shiny scheme, we have to stay and conquer the inequities and disadvantages that have continued to accumulate in this country.  


If we think we can all outrun it, I have some bad news."







Monday, February 26, 2018

EVIDENCE RELATED TO VOUCHERS 
AND TAX CREDIT SCHEMES


Last week, Representative Vander Woude from Nampa introduced into the House Education Committee House Bill 590, the Guided Education Management Act. The bill proposes setting up a "scholarship fund" by which contributions may be made to a non-profit for the purpose of providing for education needs just about anywhere other than in a public school.  

The bill specifies that students who enroll using the GEM Act shall be from one of four groups:

  1. students who meet the federal free/reduced lunch criteria
  2. students with a disability
  3. at-risk youth
  4. youth whose parents are active-duty military or who were active-duty and were killed in the line of duty.
The Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, and Idaho Education Association recently published a position paper opposing the establishment of voucher or tax credit programs in Idaho, under the headline Private School Vouchers are Wrong for Idaho. Chief among the reasons the authors cited for their opposition were:

  1. Idaho is already 49th in spending for education, and can't afford any further erosion of its support for public education
  2. We need to wait until we see the effect of the new 529 rules in federal tax code, which allow for tax credits for contributions for k-12 private schools
  3. Many requirements for public schools are not applied to private schools:
    1. they admit who they want to admit
    2. they typically do not provide meals, transportation, or special education services, which are hallmarks of equity for students
    3. though the tax credit bill would primarily affect enrollment in urban districts where private schools are located, the consequential tax revenue loss would affect rural districts as well.
THE LUNA LAWS REVISITED


This proposal reminds us a bit of the run-up to the Luna Laws. Here are two of the main issues with the proposal:

  1. Voucher programs don't work, just as Pay for Performance and Replacing Teachers with Computers, two of the Luna Laws, were contrived reform mechanisms with no research backing.
  2. If Arizona is any example, the voucher proposal could tear apart the coalition that's been working to improve education since 2011. 
Let's examine these issues a bit more in detail.

Voucher Programs don't work

What we sometimes miss in emotional debates is the research supporting or disputing the merits of the proposed reform. There have been some major research studies done on voucher programs around the nation. The conclusion is that vouchers typically lead to lower achievement among the students that use them to attend private schools.

INDIANA has the largest voucher program in the country, initiated by Governor Mitch Daniels, and continued and expanded by Governor Mike Pence. The state’s program requires that schools which accept voucher students administer standardized assessments, so it was possible for researchers to analyze results. In a large study of academic effects, researchers found that In mathematics, voucher students who transfer to private schools experienced significant losses in achievement.” They also saw no improvement in reading”  (results summarized in a New York Times article).

LOUISIANA implemented a voucher program known as the Louisiana Scholarship Program for students at or below 250% of the federal poverty line in 2011-12. A study by the Education Research Alliance of New Orleans  and another by the Brookings Institute's Mark Dynarski found that students who used the vouchers to enroll in private schools experienced a net loss in achievement over the first two years of the program, though performance improved somewhat in the second year.

OHIO’S voucher program, known as EdChoice, was studied by researchers from the Thomas B.Fordham Foundation, a conservative group that promotes school choice. The researchers found that scores improved for students eligible for the voucher program, but not for those who actually used vouchers to attend private schools.

MILWAUKEE'S voucher program is the oldest in the country. Charlie May reports in Salon about the results of a  Wall Street Journal analysis of the data (sorry, the whole story is behind a paywall) which sparked the article's title, "Milwaukee proves that private school vouchers don’t make much of a difference".

With the research largely showing lower achievement for voucher recipients, it's hard to understand why this type of choice is considered a good idea.

The Post Luna Laws Coalition - Will it Break Apart?

Arizona is kind of a mess right now. A tax credit bill remarkably similar to Idaho's proposal passed there last year, and now voucher proponents in the legislature and the Governor's office want to expand it. But an organization known as Save our Schools Arizona  collected over 110, 000 signatures to defer proposed legislation to a ballot measure. The Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey,  noted that he does not plan to play "small ball" on his voucher program to a Koch sponsored gathering in California in January.  Is this ringing a bell for those of you who were here in 2011? 

Since the repeal of the Luna Laws in 2012, parties from across the spectrum have forged a coalition which has supported public education. The K-12 Task Force, commissioned by Governor Otter, made a number of recommendations, many of which have been implemented. Among the achievements have been:


  1. Monumental Career Ladder legislation which has increased salaries while holding districts accountable for teacher evaluations.
  2. Leadership stipends that have made a huge difference in the ability of districts to compensate employees for extra duties involving governance of schools.
  3. Advanced Opportunities programs for students to take college coursework while in high school, whether it be Advanced Placement or Dual Credit.
  4. Fostering educator involvement in committees sponsored by the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education.
  5. Strengthening of support for Career Technical Education programs around the state.
There are many other achievements, along with a lot more work to be done. We have yet to find the answers to Idaho's low Go On rate, for example. But stakeholders are working together to find solutions, something that was not happening only a few years ago. 

Is there potential for that coalition to break apart over the voucher issue? We think there is, and quite frankly, we are worried that this issue will provide the spark for another fracture in Idaho's education system. And we don't want to see that happen.






Monday, February 19, 2018

THE FOLLY OF RANKING SCHOOLS BASED ON TEST SCORES ALONE

Down at the Capitol, we sometimes hear from legislators about how schools are measuring up, using SBAC or SAT or even IRI scores. Recently, we heard that the Boise District had several "low-scoring" schools on the 2017 SBAC.

As the research has shown, results on assessments such as the SBAC correlate highly with poverty. In fact, one study showed that scores could be predicted accurately by rank ordering schools based on poverty.

So, what of the claims about "lowest-scoring" schools? Are they true? If so, what factors are involved?

We looked at the 10 lowest scoring schools on the 3rd grade SBAC in Reading and Math. Then we threw a bunch of them out because they were too small to yield reliable results. That's one problem with school rankings in Idaho - many of the schools are so small that the results may change dramatically even in one year.  

For example, Stone Elementary School , just north of the Utah border in Oneida County District, had the lowest average 3rd grade Reading SBAC score in the state. There are only 8 students in the school, which serves students in grades k-3. Almo Elementary, just north of the City of Rocks National Reserve in Cassia County, had the second-lowest average score. Almo had 12 students in 2017. You can see why their scores might be variable from year to year. Other schools that are not included because of small N include Meadows Valley, Grandview, Swan Valley, Lowman, Three Creek, and Arbon.

After purging the results from the smallest schools, we came up with lists of "low scorers", and looked at the characteristics of the schools. Here they are:





What do most of these schools have in common? Well, almost all have high percentages of low-income students, high percentages of Limited English students, or both. 

Students from low-income backgrounds can and do learn in school. Oftentimes, though, they enter school with a language deficit, and don't have some of the opportunities that help develop background knowledge essential for understanding complex concepts. For example, many of our low-income students may not have had the enrichment opportunities that other students have, so when a test question asks about golf greens or the Grand Canyon, they may not have a frame of reference for fully understanding the question. That's one of the reasons why the District offers opportunities like field trips and summer reading programs that build background knowledge, and it's a great argument for pre-k programs like we have at Whitney and Hawthorne.

Moreover, most of the schools on the list have high percentages of students with limited English skills. Locally, Jefferson, Taft and Garfield have large populations of refugee students, who typically will take up to seven years to fully learn the  oral and written English language and its abstractions (e.g., similes, metaphors, idioms, symbolism, etc.). These students are from many different countries, and they have provided a richness of diversity that has changed the culture of our schools for the better.

The fact is that very small percentages of Limited English students in Idaho pass the SBAC in either Math (19% at 3rd grade) or ELA (16%). The percentage is even smaller in Boise, where half of our LEP students are refugees. However, we expect that these students will continue to learn the language and will become contributing citizens in Boise. 

We'd match the instruction taking place in these schools with any in the state. Each has caring, compassionate staffs who go the extra mile for kids every day and provide excellent instruction. To label them as anything but successful is simply unfair. In fact, if you read this blog and are interested, contact us and we will be happy to take you on a tour of any of our schools. 

Will the students in these schools show growth? Absolutely. However, it's a fair question as to whether the SBAC can measure that growth, since average scores last year declined in all 14 of the SBAC Consortium states.

So, how about the characteristics of the highest scoring schools?







Well, that was predictable. None of the highest scoring schools had enough LEP students to report (the Idaho elementary average was 6%). All had relatively small percentages of low-income students (the Idaho elementary average was 54%). Collister also houses the Boise District's highly gifted (HG) program, and Sorenson is a Magnet school in Coeur d'Alene.

Now, we have excellent staffs at each of these schools, as well. We also have many supportive parents who devote hours of their time supporting their children and the schools. Further, the children have conversational and intellectual opportunities at home and in travel that give them a leg up on school readiness.

All of this goes to show that it's much more complicated than simply putting together a low-to-high list of school test scores and making a judgement. Many factors come into play when considering school quality. Whether your school is Jefferson or Roosevelt or Garfield or Collister, West or South or Fairmont or North, Borah or Capital or Boise or Timberline, your children will get a great education in the Boise School District. 










Monday, February 5, 2018

THIS AND THAT FOR FEBRUARY

We found some interesting articles during the past several weeks. Here are a few:

Overhauling Japan's High-Stakes University-Admission System, from the Atlantic, is authored by Annabelle Timsit. The author provides a revealing look at Japan's reliance on the "Center Test", it's national exam, for entrance into the best colleges, and its effect upon prospective students.

"The psychological impact of falling behind in the highly structured Japanese tertiary system can be devastating. In a 2014 analysis, Japanese neuropsychiatrists found that roughly 58 percent of the ronin (students who fail the Center Test and study for a year or more at a "cram school") they surveyed had depression, and that just under 20 percent had severe depression."

According to the author, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is planning to overhaul the assessment and at the same time reevaluate its role in college admissions and in Japanese society.

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The best school district in every US state was published by BusinessInsider.com under the byline of Tanza Loudenback, but it's really a list of the "best" as identified by NICHE.com using several characteristics, including but not limited to achievement. We spent an entire blog post criticizing those ranking systems in 2015. But...guess which district NICHE identified as the best in Idaho?

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Here are several articles about Ohio's ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) Online Charter, which suddenly closed recently, leaving 12,000 enrollees high and dry.  "The GOP’s Biggest Charter School Experiment Just Imploded", written by James Pogue for Mother Jones, takes a decidedly political view of the disastrous effects of the closure. "Ohio’s Online Charter Scandal Is a Warning to the Nation", was written by Jan Ressenger for The Progressive. And from the 74, an education reform blog, "Ohio’s Charter School Disaster: How Big Profits and Pay-to-Play Operators Have Derailed Reform", was written by Matt Barnum.

All tell the same basic story from different viewpoints. ECOT owed the state of Ohio over $80 million, could not pay it back, and was dropped by its sponsor mid-year. Here's a quote from Mother Jones:.

"Despite years of critics raising similar concerns, the school’s demise happened quickly, after two Ohio Department of Education reviews from 2016 and 2017 found that ECOT had overbilled taxpayers by $80 million for thousands of students it couldn’t show were meeting the department’s enrollment standards. As a result, last summer the state ordered the school to begin paying back almost $4 million per month in school funds, which ECOT claimed it was unable to do. Then, last week, the school’s charter sponsor, the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, claiming concern that ECOT wouldn’t have the funds to last out the year, suddenly announced plans to drop the school. Many of ECOT’s 12,000 current students learned on the nightly news or read in newspapers that unless an emergency deal could be worked out..."


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It appears that one or more voucher bills may be coming to the Idaho legislature. With that in mind, we have been following some of the events in Arizona, where school voucher advocates were moving forward with a plan to expand vouchers until S.O.S. (Save our Schools) Arizona collected over 110,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Laurie Roberts, a columnist with AZ Central (the online version of the Arizona Republic), has written several columns (here, here, and here, among others) detailing the efforts, including a judicial decision denying a Koch Brothers backed effort to block the ballot initiative. The whole thing seems reminiscent of the ballot initiative that stopped the Luna Laws back in 2012. That campaign was marked by expenditures of hundreds of thousands of dollars by reform and privatization advocates.

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And finally, Jack Schneider in the Atlantic wrote "What School-Funding Debates Ignore", a fascinating examination of inequality and the "education debt".

"The idea that equal inputs will produce equal outcomes presumes a degree of similarity across families and neighborhoods. Yet generations of inequality have constrained opportunities for people in marginalized communities, often most forcefully through racially isolated neighborhoods with vastly uneven access to mainstream social, political, and economic life. Given this context, producing equal educational outcomes would seemingly require more than equal funding."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

FRESHMAN MIGRATION:
CHANGES IN STUDENT POPULATIONS

Every once in a while, we discover a new blog or website that piques our interest. Here is a blog called Higher Ed Data Stories that was referred to us by a patron who provides college advice. In this blog, the author explores data about colleges nationwide.

The author of the blog, Jon Beckenstedt, is the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at DePaul University in Chicago, but the blog is his work alone. Though it is not directly related to k-12 issues, Higher Ed Data Stories provides fascinating insights into trends at the post-secondary level.

The "higher ed story" that caught our attention was about "freshman migration". The story provides information about "first-time, full-time" freshman college attendance trends by state and institution for the years 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. 

University of Idaho

In this chart, you can see the percentage of freshmen at the University of Idaho who came from Idaho and Washington schools in each of the years.  It's interesting to see the shift:


So the percentage of UI freshmen from Idaho increased substantially from 2010 to 2016, while the percentage of students from Washington declined during that time. The other two largest groups attending UI are students from California (slight percentage increase) and Oregon (slight decrease). The net increase in students from Idaho was just under a hundred.

Lewis and Clark State College




Lewis and Clark State College, in Lewiston, has seen a relatively stable pattern of enrollment, with roughly 4 of 5 students coming from Idaho. Most of LCSC's other students come from Washington, though there are a few enrollees from the state of Oregon.

Idaho State University

An even more pronounced majority of Idaho State University's students come from the state of Idaho. About 9 of 10 ISU students are homegrown. Though ISU's out-of-state enrollment has increased slightly since 2010, it's barely made a dent in the percentage of in-state students attending the university.



Two of Idaho's colleges have seen a significant downward trend in the percentage of students coming from Idaho. The pattern of change is similar at Boise State University and The College of Idaho.

Boise State University

In 2010, two-thirds of BSU freshmen were from Idaho. Just six years later, that percentage has dropped to 55. The number of BSU frosh from Idaho has remained just about the same, but Boise State's freshman classes have grown by 370 during that time. The biggest percentage growth in out-of-state students is from California, and the percentage of the BSU freshmen class from the Golden State has doubled since 2010. The 2016 freshman class at BSU had 400 more out-of-state students than it did in 2010; almost 300 of those students were from California.



This pattern of increased out-of-state enrollment in public universities is happening around the country. For example, just in the Rocky Mountain region:


  • at the University of Utah, out-of-state enrollment increased by 367 from 2010 to 2016, the percentage of in-state students declined from 80% to 71%. The number of Idaho enrollees grew from 62 to 110.
  • out-of-state enrollment increased by 663 students at Montana State University, and the percentage of in-state students declined from 59% to 48%. The number of Idaho students grew from 54 to 75
  • in Logan at Utah State University, out-of-state enrollment grew by 346 students, and the percentage of in-state students declined from 76% to 69%. The number of Idaho students decreased from 292 to 263.

Interestingly, the number of freshman enrollees from California increased at all 3 universities (+ 169% at Utah, +49% at MSU, +93% at Utah State).

The College of Idaho

At one time, the vast majority of C of I students came from the state of Idaho. That has changed in the past four years.





A few years ago, the College of Idaho implemented an incentive program to attract more out of state students. The strategy appears to have contributed to changes in the migration pattern at the C of I. It also appears that a change in strategy is in the works at the College, in order to get back to the "base" enrollment strategy formerly used - attracting academically talented Idaho students, many of whom participate in NAIA athletic programs, as well.

(In the interest of transparency, Dr. Coberly serves on the Board of Trustees for the College of Idaho).







Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOISE'S 2017 NATIONAL MERIT
SEMI-FINALISTS - WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

You may remember that Boise's class of National Merit Semi-finalists was a special group. First off, there were 45 semi-finalists, half of the total in the state of Idaho (Boise has 9% of the state's students). The group also posted some impressive results as they graduated from high school.



Clearly, this is a motivated and hard-working group of students. That average SAT score is in the 99th percentile. All of these students were in the top 10% of their high school classes; most were in the top 5%. Over half of the Advanced Placement tests taken by these students were scored a "5", the top performance level possible; 97% received a passing score of "3" or better.

With this kind of achievement, students have their choice of colleges across the country, and access to multiple scholarships. here's where they are attending school.



Nine of the 45 students are attending the most selective colleges in the country. You may have read last year that Ivan Vazquez, a Capital student and one of the school's valedictorians, was accepted at all 8 Ivy League schools. He is currently attending Harvard University.



Many others in this group are attending some of the top state universities in the country. It's interesting to note that 4 of the NMSF students are in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah, which we have noted before is becoming a top choice for Boise District students. This is the first time ever that 3 or more students in one graduating class have attended the University of Oklahoma.



Also, a few students in this group are attending well-known "national" private universities, which draw their student bodies from around the country. A number of District students have attended Gonzaga and BYU, but it's unusual for Boise District students to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, or the University of Notre Dame.

It's not unusual for District students to attend private colleges in the northwest, such as College of Idaho and Pacific.  Colby, Santa Clara, and Westminster, are destinations for a few Boise students. 

Four other students are attending Boise State and the University of Idaho, and, if past trends continue, will likely stay in Idaho after college. However, most of the students attending out of state colleges will find internships and jobs outside of Idaho, at least initially.

Monday, January 8, 2018

THE SAT AND PSAT:
VALUABLE INVESTMENTS FOR IDAHO

Idaho Education News recently posted an op-ed by a Coeur d'Alene counselor questioning the wisdom of administering the College Board exam (the SAT) to juniors across the state of Idaho. In his article, entitled "Are College Classes and Entrance Exams Worth the Money?", the counselor also questioned the worth of dual-credit courses for some students.

Here's why we should continue with the SAT as a statewide exam for juniors.



  • The SAT, and the PSAT, its 10th grade counterpart, provide valuable information for students and parents about preparedness levels. And SAT results are almost universally accepted at higher learning institutions as part of the admissions process.
  • The SAT takes significantly less time than the SBAC, the required 10th grade exam in Idaho, because it is a paper-pencil exam. Particularly at the junior and senior high school levels, the computer-administered SBAC is a logistical nightmare, taking weeks out of the daily schedule and compromising preparation efforts for Advanced Placement exams, the results of which have earned Boise District students thousands of college credits. And the school and district scores for the SAT have actually been released in a timely fashion, unlike those from the SBAC.
  • The SBAC and PARCC consortia, the states using the tests created to assess Common Core standards under The Race to the Top legislation that replaced No Child Left Behind, have diminished severely over the past few years:

In an article in Education Next, authors Ashley Jochim and Patrick McGuinn detail the decline of the consortia:

"State participation in the consortia declined just as implementation of the new standards and tests was set to begin. The pace of withdrawals quickened over time, particularly for PARCC, which five or six states left every year between 2013 and 2015 (see Figure 1). As of May 2016, just six states planned to implement the PARCC-designed assessment in the 2016-17 academic year. SBAC also faced attrition but fared better and still retains 14 states that plan to use the full test. (That figure includes Iowa, where a legislative task force has overwhelmingly recommended the SBAC assessment, though as of early 2016 state officials had yet to formally accept the recommendation.) By early 2016, 38 states had left one or both consortia, short-circuiting the state-by-state comparability that the tests were designed to deliver (see Figure 2)."



Oregon has also decided to discontinue administration of the high school SBAC.

Conversely, administration of the statewide junior SAT exam has expanded. The 11th grade statewide SAT exam is now administered in Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island

  • Prominent researchers are now questioning the 2017 SBAC results, which declined in all 14 consortia states in English Language Arts. In an op-ed in Real Clear Politics written by Douglas McRae and Williamson Evers, the authors note:

"Across the country, 14 states used the federally-funded Smarter Balanced tests as part of their statewide K-12 testing programs in spring 2017. But the results for this year have an integrity problem...

...Smarter Balanced is stonewalling efforts to figure out what has occurred. It refuses to acknowledge that the 2017 scores are highly unusual and, instead, claims the scores are just normal year-to-year fluctuations of gain scores. That argument is hogwash. It is totally inconsistent with the actual 2017 consortium-wide gain data."

  • The SAT releases its test each year, and provides an item analysis for the exam, giving educators access to student response patterns and comparisons with school, state and national item data. We detailed the potential uses of SAT data in a post from 2016. Here's the example we used from 2016 and the rationale for using the data to improve instruction:

How does the distribution of student answers help us to improve instruction?

Well, 28% of District juniors answered "D". While we might speculate as to why they chose that answer, the fact is that 55+9 does not equate to √55+√9. Can we improve instruction so that more students understand this principle? Sure. And the item analysis gives us the tools to improve instruction and student performance.

College and university personnel can also use the statewide item analysis to isolate performance on each question and then use performance on a series of questions to determine placement in Math or Language Arts courses.


We sincerely hope that the state will renew the College Board contract for the PSAT and SAT when it comes up for review. In fact, with the decline in the numbers for the SBAC consortia, we ought to be looking at replacing the SBAC with the SAT as the state's Accountability Measure for high schools.