Monday, April 30, 2012

FOXdc: Report questions dramatic improvement of scores at Montgomery County school

FOXdc interviewed Superintendent Joshua Starr on the issue of the dramatic rise of Highland Elementary School test scores in 2008-2009.  FOXdc did not ask Superintendent Starr why the Highland scores then fell.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Parent's Coalition,

    I attended Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD the 1980s for six years. I know that school well and I looked into the data. It is every bit as suspicious as you suggest. I too was suspicious of this data when I saw it a few years ago. I still live in Montgomery County with three children of my own.

    You should ask more questions because I am very certain that the test data of Highland Elementary School shows that something is amiss.

    Here are 4 important issues that the data show which need further investigation:

    (1) How can a school have 61.9% of its students be receiving special instruction for Limited English Proficiency (see link below) and in precisely the same year (2009) have 94% of its students be advanced in not any subject in particular but English reading specifically?

    Of course this is patently absurd.

    (2) With a student body that has a majority of immigrant students of limited English proficiency, you would expect greater success at math or science than English reading. Instead, the opposite is true:

    Here are the astonishingly high reading scores:

    Here are the relatively poor math scores:

    And here are the extremely poor science scores:

    These supposedly incredible teachers and students did very poorly in the very areas that one would have expected them to excel at.

    (3) An important statistical technique is to look at cohort effects. The reading data shows a massive jump from 2007 to 2008 in the fifth grade data. Then there is a massive drop from 2010 to 2011. We can follow the *same group of students* for fourth and third grades and see what we find.

    Looking at the fourth grade data we see that the very same group of students that reported 80% advanced reading in 5th grade in 2008 reported only 25% advanced reading in 2007 in 4th grade.

    From 2010 to 2011, there was a huge drop from 86% advanced reading in the fifth grade level to 42% in 2011. That same group of students reporting that incredible 86% of students achieving advanced in fifth grade had only shown 30% advanced reading two years earlier in third grade.

    Even more astonishing to me, that group of students reported to have an incredible 94% of their students achieving advanced reading in 5th grade in 2009, was the same group that reported a mere 12.1% advanced reading in 2007 in third grade.

    This group that reported such terrific results was apparently not learning much along the way.

    (4) In 2009, at the same time that the fifth grade class at Highland elementary was reporting such incredible results with 94% of all students performing at an advanced level, the third grade class under the same school leadership was performing at an abysmally low level with just 13.6% of students doing advanced reading. This is going on simultaneously!

    Please don't let these questions go unanswered. Something is very fishy.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Hess

    Concerned Montgomery County Parent and Highland Elementary School Graduate, Class of 1989


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