RI High School Report Card: Sorting the results

The RI Department of Education released the latest RI High School proficiency ratings. Not good:

Only half of Rhode Island’s 58 public high schools are making enough progress in English and math, while the other half are failing to make adequate yearly progress — a slight dip from last year’s 54 percent.
According to the results of tests given to 12,000 juniors last March, 40 percent of the state’s high schools are failing to educate all groups of students — including special education, low-income and minority students — to the state standard on English and math tests. Because these 23 schools have failed for multiple years, they are classified as making insufficient progress by the state Education Department.
Another 10 percent of high schools have failed to educate all groups of students to the state standard for one year, and therefore are placed on a watch list, including several rural and suburban high schools: Burrillville, Cumberland, Narragansett, Westerly and Chariho Regional.
The other 50 percent of Rhode Island’s high schools — 29 schools — made adequate yearly progress in the 2006-2007 school year.

The ProJo story includes a table, sorted by town, that lists the current status of the state’s high schools (a PDF is here). But that table doesn’t really breakdown the data in a useful way. So I downloaded the info into a spreadsheet and played around with the sorting (here’s the xls file–sort it however you want.) One option is to parse out the schools according to category: Caution, Insufficient Progress and Adequate Yearly Progress. But, if you focus too tightly on the Insufficient schools, you’ll miss the fact that there are some schools making AYP that have scores below some others that have a Caution or Insufficient Progress rating. To make things more clear, I averaged the ELA and Math scores together and came up with this list:

ri-hs-2008.JPG

Obviously, there are some high performing schools that aren’t progressing fast enough and others that we want to be sure don’t slip back. But of more concern are those schools at the bottom.

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Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Ya know what would help solve this problem? Paying the teachers more. Rewarding their failure is the only way to…
…continue failing?
I dunno. The reasoning behind powerful idiots like Bob Walsh boggles my mind.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

Why in my mind’s eye there’s an image of Pat Crowley flipping the bird to the students and parents of Rhode Island?

Will
13 years ago

But according to Rep. David Segal’s reading of a non-existent page in US News, RI’s public schools are the 4th best in the country! How can his blanket assertion possibly be reconciled with all these “facts” you present here? 😉
Nattering Nabobs of Negativism
by: David Segal
Sun Dec 30, 2007 at 18:01:15 PM EST
Rules to live by: Distrust the Projo, and quote Spiro Agnew whenever possible.
One should be skeptical of all these damn lists, but given the Projo’s obsession with RI’s rankings along any of a million metrics — especially when we turn up low — don’t you think that this should make the paper:
US News and World Report just ranked Rhode Island’s public high schools 4th-best in the country.
**The link above is to an extensive “best high schools” report. I can’t find a link to the state-by-state rankings, but they’re in the hard copy from Nov 29th, which I had in my lap earier today. Let me know if you can find it online.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Interesting list.
North Providence among the nonperformers? Tell me something I don’t already know.
Toll Gate among the nonperformers? Shocked.
Much-maligned Cranston East making progress? Congrats.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
13 years ago

I don’t know where Segal got the #4 rank, but I did look at the US News report and saw that 3 of RI’s high schools made the top 500. I recall noting that, because of the small number of RI high schools, that made RI the #1 state in terms of the percentage of its high schools in the top 500. For some reason, I can’t find the chart that led to my conclusion on the US News website. Maybe it was in the print edition, but I only looked at that on the newsstand. In general, my experience tells me that one has to be pretty careful with the scores reported in the ProJo. Here’s a story that explains why: I was president of the PTO at my child’s middle school. The principal reported that the school had not made “adequate yearly progress”, despite having a large number of very high-achieving students. Closer examination showed that the school had failed to meet 2 of the 39 standards (note that hitting 37 of 39 targets counts as “failing”!). The reason for the two failures was that children with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) had not achieved proficiency in math or English. Turns out, the IEP kids range from those who need a speech coach to moderately to profoundly retarded children. The latter were asked to take the same test, and reach the same level of proficiency, as the kids without disabilities! Apart from the fact that asking these kids to even TAKE the exam amounts to cruelty, the use of their scores to measure the school creates problems. See, if there are less than some number (50, I think) such students, their scores get averaged into the rest. If there are more than that number, they are a separate category.… Read more »

Monique
13 years ago

“Ya know what would help solve this problem? Paying the teachers more. Rewarding their failure is the only way to…
…continue failing?”
Damn. And it sounded so good for a while there, Greg …

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

All,
You might also look at the fact that RI Department of Education was indicating earlier in 2007 a change in curriculum requirements.
Check: The National Council on Teacher Quality: http://www.nctq.org/p/
“State Teacher Policy Yearbook 2007” that ranks 50 states in the administrative and laws enabling teachers to excel students to the highest levels of education; Rhode Island received a “languishing” grade.
Check: SPECIAL EDUCATION & REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
U.S. Department of Education Determination Letters on State Implementation of the IDEA
June 2007
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA), AS AMENDED IN 2004 LETTERS TO STATE OF RHODE ISLAND INDICATES RHODE ISLAND IS FAILING TO PROVIDE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES.
Rhode Island Department of Education responsible for Part B implementation received a “NEEDS ASSISTANCE”
Rhode Island Department of Human Services responsible for Part C implementation received a “NEEDS INTERVENTION”
Web Site and letters:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/monitor/factsheet.html
Then I’d start looking at individual teachers because the teachers must follow State of RI laws and rules, local cities/town school department rules and regulations, parents who don’t make sure their children get enough sleep, do homework, eat well, don’t sit in front of the boob tube all night or Xbox all night and attend school then finally unions.
Nobody gets a free pass

Monique
13 years ago

Ken, you discuss this on another thread as well.
According to your source, RI receives a “languishing” grade for “administrative and laws enabling teachers to excel students to the highest levels of education”. Teachers are a powerful force in the General Assembly. One of their own, Charlene Lima, is Speaker Pro Tempore. Why haven’t they made the necessary changes to the laws so that teachers can do their job?
As to your larger point – namely, all of the high barriers you and others list to teaching RI children. In 2005/2006, RI teacher salaries were the eighth highest in the country. We have to ask, why are we paying so much for a service which is impossible to deliver?
http://www.ripec.org/matriarch/d.asp?PageID=66&PageName2=pdfsdoc&p=&PageName=2007+HRISC%2Epdf

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Monique “According to your source, RI receives a “languishing” grade for “administrative and laws enabling teachers to excel students to the highest levels of education”. Teachers are a powerful force in the General Assembly. One of their own, Charlene Lima, is Speaker Pro Tempore. Why haven’t they made the necessary changes to the laws so that teachers can do their job?” Monique that is a question you’ll have to ask Charlene Lima, State of RI Department of Education (who by the provided all information to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for there state comparisons and was sent the comparison report to make any changes and updates before report was published) and RI Association of School Principals why the administrative and laws have not been changed. I sent RIPEC the NCTQ report and RIPEC was unaware of the report. Speaking of RIPEC, I read the “How Rhode Island Schools Compare” report you referred me to. Did you read the disclaimer at the end on the RIPEC report? If not here it is. “NOTE – THE ESTIMATES CONTAINED IN THIS PUBLICATION ARE DERIVED PRIMARILY FROM THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION’S (NEA) PUBLICATION, “RANKING OF THE STATES 2005 AND ESTIMATES OF SCHOOL STATISTICS 2006” AND “RANKINGS OF THE STATES 1997.” NEA ATTEMPTS TO COLLECT DATA FROM STATE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION, HOWEVER NOT ALL STATES RESPOND TO THE NEA. IN THESE INSTANCES, NEA HAS PROVIDED AN ESTIMATE. IN ADDITION, STATES THAT DO RESPOND TO THE NEA MAY NOT REPORT INFORMATION IN A CONSISTENT MANNER. CROSS STATE COMPARISONS SHOULD BE VIEWED CAUTIOUSLY” I see no indication in the report or numbers that American Federation Teachers salaries are included in the report thus I guess the reasoning for the disclaimer and ESTIMATES which all of the public claims that RI teacher receive eighth highest in… Read more »

Monique
13 years ago

Ken, we have said here repeatedly that we have the highest respect and admiration for good teachers (and that they certainly earn the prevailing compensation).
Are you saying that we must respect bad and mediocre teachers as much as good ones?

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Monique, I and I don’t expect anyone else to support poor performance by a person who is paid with taxpayer dollars. What I personally don’t like is lumping everyone (elementary, middle, high Special-Ed, language specialist, teacher-aides, principals, administrators) together and portraying the whole as nonprofessional carpetbaggers. Especially by people that never have stepped into a classroom to teach themselves or people making allegations based on inaccurate or misconstrued information. The list of RI high schools contain 19 high schools (33%) where the whole student body (assuming all students took the test including integrated Special Ed students and English as a second language students) failed (it only takes one student out of 600 for the percentile to change) the English Language Arts and Mathematics standardized tests causing that High school to rated performing with “caution” or “Insufficient Progress” Of the total 58 listed high schools whole student body (assuming all students took the test including integrated Special Ed students and English as a second language students) 39 High schools (67%) are rated meeting “Adequate Yearly Progress” I find it hard to believe that the total high school teaching staff, iterant teachers, Special-Ed, language specialist, teacher-aides, principals, and administrators (possible numbering over a thousand) at 19 schools across the State of RI are mediocre or low performing teachers and administrators based on two tests. Before I publicly ventured to make any public statement pointing the finger to a supposed defined cause, I would check the required state-wide curriculum implementation, requirements sent out by RI Department of Education, local school departments and how the tests were administered also there is inner-city, suburban, ethnic population, how many Special-Ed and English as a second language in each school makeup of each high school to consider before pointing the finger at a specific problem. I probably… Read more »

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Monique,
Typo:
“The list of RI high schools contain 19 high schools (33%)”
Should read:
The list of RI high schools contain 29 high schools (50%)
“39 High schools (67%) are rated meeting “Adequate Yearly Progress””
Should read:
29 High schools (50%) are rated meeting “Adequate Yearly Progress”
The above numbers and specific well ranked cities and towns that should have passed but failed is very perplexing leaning me more towards the proposed 2007 standardized curriculum change and the possible standardized testing methodology.
My reasion; the above adds that many more educational staff members into the mix.

Adrienne
Adrienne
13 years ago

Bravo to Ken and perfectly stated. I teach now in RI having formerly taught in the West Coast, San Francisco Bay Area. I thought I have been going crazy with the educational system “norms” here….the parents, the administration, the demeaning of the teachers! I never saw anything like it. Having also worked in the corporate world, I expect and demand respect, as that is the professionalism I bring to my class…but it seems that so many do not see the real problems… a terrible changing world and worse of all….NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND…good in theory…BUT NOT IN REAL LIFE. Adminstration making check lists, making the TEACHERS push round kids into square holes, then teachers taking all the grief when it doesn’t work….Well take a look. It doesn’t work like that!

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