Sunday, October 28, 2012

New State Report Cards Offer a Look at Statewide High Schools

Schools will be graded on Reading and Math achievement,
closing the gaps on reading, math, and graduation rates, and
post-secondary readiness, focusing on graduation rates, and
participation in college entry exams.
First Impressions
 Wisconsin high schools look pretty good...right?  Only 17 of over 400 high schools "Fail to Meet Expectations".  Over 86% of all WI public high schools meet or exceed expectations.  Life is good...yes?

And it looks like a good plan to evaluate districts/schools on more than just test scores....right?

One think to keep in mind that 40 high schools received overall scores of "Not Rated" due to either suspected errors, or insufficient data.

Second Thoughts
Hold on just a sec....over 37% of high schools EXCEED expectations? Not that that isn't a good thing...but weren't we told to expect gloom and doom with the new evaluation system?

The plot of high schools vs. overall assessment seems  a little right slanted, wouldn't you say?  In the NFL, they call this a trips right formation.

What we find interesting, however, is that if you score the overall report card grades as a letter grade using standard grading conventions.  Things do not look so good.  The plot now becomes left leaning (trips left).

We still have a skewed set of data...and that bears some monitoring.  Which is it do you think? Trips left? Or trips right?  One will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the status of education isn Wisconsin.  Should we just go with that one, then?

Third Degree
Are we now grading on the curve?  Or have we merely lowered our expectations?  Hear us out here.  The maximum accountability score is 100%.  That sure looks like a standard grading chart.

But the new scoring rubric seems a little unappetizing.  A score of 63-72.9 yields an evaluation of "Meets Expectations"?  Really?  If your kid came home with a score of 63% on a test, would you say, "Ohhh...Johnny, you've met expectations, we're so proud of you!"?
Yeah...we didn't think so.

So have we just dumbed this all down to make us all feel better while districts are quietly told to clean up their acts?  Of course...what would be the incentive?  Hey...we met expectations...what more do you want?  Should we be concerned that only 4 high schools "significantly" meet expectations?

Perhaps this is some good watercooler conversation fodder.