Grades 3-6 test scores-Thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by nstructor, Jul 14, 2022.

  1. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Do you think it's fair to compare grade levels' test scores? At our school, test scores are everything. If one grade level has higher scores than another grade level, it all has to do with the teacher. What are you thoughts about this? How did students do in your school this past year? DId one grade level do better than another?
     
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  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I think it's fair to compare apples to apples. Certain years just have kids who are smarter or better prepared than other years. Especially with the youngest grades, how many kids born close to the enrollment cutoff date can affect scores. It's not a terrible idea to compare growth/achievement between years of the same cohort, but context needs to be applied.

    As a school, we came out ok. Not thrilling, but no worse than the surrounding schools. We're experiencing an average spread on test scores compared nationally. The positive outlier was K math. Somehow something like 75% of our K kids came out above expectations in math.
     
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  4. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    From your tone, sounds like this isn't normal. When something unusual like that happens, how does your school react? I'm this case, is anything being done to try to continue the success in the future?
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2022

    Yes, in some grade levels the students are higher than other years. I would focus more on how much growth each student makes in a year, than comparing it to other classes.

    I often dislike having too many students from teachers who overemphasize test scores the year before. Often these students, despite their good test scores, are less prepared. Here is often the reason.

    Standardized tests tend to treat all standards with about the same emphasis. In reality, a good teacher realizes that about one third of the standards are critical for success, one third are fairly important, and one third are fairly trivial. For example, the importance of knowing multiplication facts are more important than some obscure geometry terms. A test score obsessed teacher often puts so much emphasis on all of the math standards, that students are only halfway prepared in the most critical areas in math needed for success at the next grade level.

    What is a teacher to do? If a teacher works on deeply improving their teaching in each subject area and emphasizes the highest priorities in preparing their students for success at the next grade level and beyond, their test scores should turn out well although maybe not outstanding.

    Personally, I’m not going to sacrifice a child’s education in order to make my test scores appear outstanding. I would rather my test scores just be good and truly make a difference in teaching each child. You will love it, students will love it, parents will love it, and administration will tolerate it, if you don’t advertise this method.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
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  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    This kind of comparison makes no sense. Overall, test scores tend to drop the older the student regardless of what teachers do. Standardized tests are useless for planning instruction and evaluating teacher effectiveness. A good principal can determine a teacher is effective by spending time in their classroom. The scores mostly tell where the high poverty, highly stressed kids are placed.
     
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  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sure, but investigation should be “Why?” versus “Who?” John Hattie’s research of the research uses “effect size” i.e., “the size of the effect” of a particular intervention or methodology, to measure student achievement. In other words, the question regarding test scores shouldn’t be “Who is best?”. It should be “What methods are teachers using to produce the most achievement?” Saying or implying the fifth-grade teachers are at fault without examining anything, save for a test score, merely points out the fact they were in the classrooms with students. It leaves out scores of variables that can effect achievement. For example, if a 4th grade teacher starts the year with half the class at 2.5 grade level and at the end of the year they are at 3.5, it’s in the range of effect size +.70 or “significant achievement”. On the other hand, if a teacher starts 4th grade with all students at grade level 3.9+ and end of the year assessment shows test scores of 4.5, the actual effect size is +.30 to +.60 or small to moderate achievement. Yet the teacher, based solely on test scores, will give the illusion of superior teaching when, in fact, it was the other teacher who demonstrated the most gain in achievement even though test scores were lower.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jul 16, 2022

    In our schools it would be very hard to look at the grade level scores and try to compare because there are so many classes of students in a single grade not that it would necessarily be a fair comparison if there was only one class per grade, but it is more variable controlled when that happens.

    In the quote above, are you indicating you only have one teacher per grade?
     
  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I don't remember if that was from NWEA or the state test, but it is a statistical anomaly to have over half of a group score in the "exceeds" category rather than well over half in "meets" AND "exceeds" together. It would be different if we were a gifted or STEM magnet or even particularly affluent school.
    Beyond being able to spend way less time on reviewing K concepts than last year had to, I'm not sure what the plan is going to be to keep them at a high level, assuming it wasn't a fluke. We do a lot of ability-based small group instruction, but that'd be happening regardless of scores. We also accelerate individual children who show strong abilities in one area, so maybe some of the super-scoring K kids will get to be in 2nd math.
     
  10. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    We have 1 teacher per subject in that grade level.
     
  11. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2022

    I'm not so sure about the skills of principals. That isn't a very objective measure. Unfortunately, the sentence following that is absolutely true. Depending on where you are, educational success sometimes has nothing to do with what is going on in school.
     
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  12. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2022

    Oh, data. I love it when used right and hate it when it's used incorrectly. I've definitely learned at my large elementary school that all are not trained in stats enough to evaluate it and that's key. It is amazing what some people think is statistically significant when class numbers are in the 20-30 range (not everything!) Therefore, I'd prefer for us to look at data with some guided interpretation more often than we do.

    I would be hesitant to compare one grade level to another. There are way too many variables there. However, reviewing data has caused me to ask one colleague how they run their math interventions and another how they run their reading extensions in an effort to learn from them. In both cases, the teachers were quiet team members who were making a lot more impactful growth than the boastful ones. So, there can be some value in data, if interpreted carefully.
     
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