Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Finally, We Get the PARCC Test Averages for the State!

The following is the data finally released by the LDOE on the raw score averages for the 12 PARCC like tests given in the Spring of 2015. No wonder it practically took an act of the Legislature to finally get the scores released. These are worst average scores I have ever seen on a major group of tests! Go to this link at Louisiana Believes to get the original document grudgingly produced by John White.

Breaking News! Reporter Bonnie Bolden of the Monroe Newsstar published this story (Click here) today explaining why our group of 33 citizens is requesting the PARCC data that has been withheld from the public until now. 


Does anyone believe that the public would have ever gotten to see the real results of the PARCC testing if the District Superintendents had not insisted on getting the raw scores and if our group of 32 citizens (which included key legislators and 4 BESE members) had not demanded the real PARCC data using a formal public records request?

Note: The LDOE staff, still intent on suppressing critical information, did not calculate the average percentage of correct answers or average percentage scores produced for each test, so I did it for them.



PRELIMINARY RAW SCORE STATE AVERAGES

Grade
Subject
Mean Raw Score
Total Points Possible
State Average percent correct
3
ELA
37
100
37.0%

MATH
34
81
42.0%
4
ELA
43
104
41.3%

MATH
37
82
45.1%
5
ELA
38
104
36.5%

MATH
34
82
41.5%
6
ELA
56
137
40.9%

MATH
27
82
32.9%
7
ELA
50
135
37.0%

MATH
24
82
29.3%
8
ELA
64
137
46.7%

MATH
22
80
27.5%
Average all tests
38.1%

Superintendent White said these scores would be "sobering". I would instead characterize these average raw scores as Shocking! My opinion is that these terrible scores are not the fault of the teachers or the students. I think they are the fault of poorly designed standards measured by an extremely poorly designed test.

Each year all teachers in Louisiana are required to set learning targets for each of their classes. These must be measurable results that the teacher will test at the end of the course. I would assume that any teacher who set a learning target of 38% average score on the final test would probably get fired on the spot for having the nerve to set such a ridiculously low average score as a learning target. No wait, we had better not do that because after the recent VAM impact on our teacher work force, we don't really have anyone to replace them with.

Would you give a passing grade to a student who scored 46.7% on the final 8th grade English test?

What about a student who scored 27.5% on the final 8th grade math test?

Yet John White is sure to look at the BESE members with a straight face next Tuesday and propose that BESE adopt somewhat similar scores as cut scores as the ones in the chart above for an achievement level of "Basic". 

But to add insult to injury, White will first convert all of these extremely low percentage scores on the state PARCC-like tests to the magical "scale scores". You see, by doing this, a score of 38.1% can magically become 725 points out of a possible 850 points. Now that doesn't look so bad anymore, now does it?

This confusing point system, assigning students scores running between 650 to 850 was concocted by the PARCC consortium, probably as a way of sugar coating the very bitter pill of the PARCC test results. Remember what I have told you before in this blog. Even if a student makes a flat zero, the PARCC consortium scheme gives him/her 650 points. That's just to keep the parents from grabbing pitchforks and surrounding the Claiborne building!

But for the first time ever, now parents will actually be able to see that when a student receives a  seemingly respectable score of 725 on the 8th grade math test, he/she may have gotten only 27.5% of the answers right. Or maybe White will pick a cut score higher than 27.5% (which was the average percent correct for the 25,000 plus students who took that math test). But that would mean that more than half would get a failing score. We have no idea what cut score White will recommend next Tuesday to BESE for the minimum raw score for the Basic level of performance. But White does not want BESE members lowering his idea of the high bar that he proposes to set for our students. He warned them not to try to lower standards in this article by his friend Will Sentell. “However, if they try to lower expectations, then I think it would say something very sad about the direction of our state,” he said.

You see, lowering the bar is really White's specialty. He has done it in secret in the last two years without informing or including the BESE members. Just take a few minutes to review the results of my public records requests described here, here, and here.

Now White will be quick to explain that his lowering of raw cut scores was not a lowering of standards but simply a legitimate adjustment because of more difficult test forms. Maybe this time after all the stalling and spinning the testing issue,  some citizens will begin to question his credibility.

 I guess in the past two years White did not want to bother BESE members with minor decisions like setting testing standards. But this time because of the amended law, they will be asked to be part of White's phony "rigor" and fake "high standards" and will be asked to help "raise the bar". . . . in the wrong direction.

BESE has been placed in a "no win" situation. This recent PARCC-like test is obviously just a lot of very expensive garbage. The Louisiana Legislature is sure to realize by the next session that the Common Core and its defective tests were wrong for our students and will probably act to trash it. Why torture our students and teachers one more year? Declare the test results null and void and for once just let our teachers teach. They know how to teach, and are just praying for one year of real teaching instead of prepping students for a test that has no credibility!





13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for exposing this!

Anonymous said...

Read the tests...these are deplorable. The "rigor" is really low level thinking skills such as being able to define words. They add a question about supporting it from the text and think this is higher order. The math not much different from LEAP, just more poorly designed. Ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

If it's low level thinking, why are the scores lower than normal? This is an honest question. If it's easier work, why wouldn't the scores be higher than normal? I'm having a hard time understanding how that could happen.

Kimberly Kunst Domangue, Professional Educator said...

Thank you, Mr Deshotels, for advocating for true collaboration among Louisiana voters and educational professionals alike in these unsteady times. Your explanations of "cut scores" and the potential for political ... "adjustments" has served clarion call for actual stakeholders in our public education system.
I believe the premise of common standards to ease transitions for transient/migratory students has been needed for quite some time. Perhaps due to the rural/agricultural history of our state some have not seen the need for uniformity. Students who haplessly must adjust to individual teacher protocols that go well beyond personal preferences into affecting student GPAs, admissions to electives, and placements of class rankings are at the mercy of personal whims of school systems when such commonality in essentials is not implemented. This, we arrive at the crux of the current testing issue: Implementation.

What have we observed? Persons setting curricula maps and creating outcomes for both students and teachers that have NOT been properly sequenced, allowing for adjustment and learning times. We have had standardized assessment results intended to facilitate instructional efficacy fashioned into weapons of war: A war against our public schools, public school teachers, and professional educator organization's which dare question the powers that be (aren't we encouraging "questioning" in our students? Should we not practice what we preach?)

So, again, THANK YOU to you and to those who dare ask the questions who collaborated to file the public information suit in this matter. Let's keep our brain in the game, jump off political hobby-horses, and work to fashion Louisiana-adjusted standards and to utilize assessments for the valid and research-based information they DO provide to guide our instruction.

Our kiddos deserve nothing less, correct?

However, implementation is crucial in the adoption of new standards. Within this implementation should be the component of reflective practice, as is expected of professional educators. I think that proper implementation of new standards MUST INCLUDE scaffolding not only the standards but the expectations of students and teachers' ways of thinking, of processing. I THINK the spirit behind the "crosswalk" was to provide such a trellis for upward growth; however, I believe that politics and rhetoric and money and "opportunity" distracted some from the desired outcome.

Do we need Louisiana educator input in the adjustments to the standards to which we direct our academic instruction? Yes- wholeheartedly!

Do we need to do more than use the terms "rigorous" and "high expectations" when we speak of propelling our students' levels of achievement forward? Absolutely!

Most importantly and, to me as a professional early childhood/primary grades/ESL-certified educator, WE NEED TO SCAFFOLD EXPECTATIONS, CURRICULA/MAPPING INSTRUMENTS, and ASSESSMENTS to SUCH! Rhetoric from those who may be able to parrot the language but don't get the dialect of actual daily teaching perhaps should step back and self-monitor. Perhaps they should ask themselves if they truly know what "it takes" to TEACH students to think, process, and problem-solve in these

KimberlyDtchr said...

From "however" on... Was a "rant"... Read if you wish... But realized my cell was wacky and needed to be restarted.

Randi Wright said...

I can't speak for every test given, but I did administer the 8th grade math test. I can tell you this. Most 8th graders in Louisiana are taking pre-algebra. It's mostly the honors and advanced students that are taking algebra in that grade. Then the PARCC test for 8th grade had a lot of algebra on it. In fact, it was mostly algebra. Gee, I wonder why these students didn't do so well in the math part of the test.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the Advocate will report this story?

Anonymous said...

These are raw scores but the parcc is a norm referenced test isn't it? So this really does not mean anything until the scores are scaled, right?

Michael Deshotels said...

To the last anonymous commenter: The raw scores given here are a measure of how much of the test material the students got right. You had better believe that this means something. It means everything! For John White to imply that there is nothing to be learned until he and his testing company converts it to this confusing bogus point system is a travesty and an insult to our collective intelligence! If this public information had not been sought by the 32 citizens in the public records request, White would have recommended that BESE approve a cut score of 725 for a level of "Basic" without ever telling BESE how much material the students had learned. This is an insult to BESE! But he has done it several times before by lowering the cut scores on LEAP, iLEAP, and end-of course tests without ever consulting with BESE. This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if these averages include zeros for all the students who opted out of the PARCC test?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for getting this out to us! now imagine if you will that your entire student body is made up of special needs students for not a single standardized test administered has been validated. Also imagine that while the state doesn't count their scores against themselves, they do count them against the school, teachers, and students. And the students must take 9 different standardized tests per year. This whole thing is a joke and a set up.

Michael Deshotels said...

On the question above about students who opted out of the PARCC test: I am pretty certain that the students who opted out were not averaged in any way into the results. Each year there are students who do not take the test for various reasons and they have never been averaged in as zeros.

Mike Stagg said...

Congratulations on forcing the hands of White and DOE, Mike!

You're comments about White's penchant for withholding data and for lowering test score standards are included in this video that is now running on commercial broadcast stations across the state:
https://vimeo.com/141902704