School board members and county staff deferred making decisions regarding Investigations and an alternate instructional track until after the SOL test results were available in August of 2008. Those results are in as are the SDMT results for the same year. Many of you may have heard the school systems reviews of what those results demonstrated. But are those glowing reviews justified?
Let’s look at the numbers and contrast them with statements from county officials.
Grade 3 SOLs
What did the school system say?
From Inside NOVA article, per Linda Zborofsky: “The third-grade math scores were good. For the first year of implementation of a new program, they stayed the same, and that’s good.”
What about the numbers?
Overall pass rates were unchanged from the Spring of 2007 at 90%, however, pass rates remain 1 point below the Spring 2006 score of 91%.
Overall advance rates were unchanged from the Spring of 2007 at 49%, however, advanced rates remain 7 points below the Spring 2006 score of 56%. Additionally, while county scores remained unchanged from 2007, advanced rates state-wide increased 3%. In 2006 the county advanced rate was 4 points above the state, that dropped to 1 point above the state in 2006, and in 2008 for the first time ever, the state was 2 points above the county.
Looking deeper by AYP group the numbers are:
Pass rates for boys and girls were both down 1 point from 2007 and 2 points from 2006.
Advanced rates for girls increased 1 point from 2007 but were still down 5 points from 2006. Advanced scores for girls statewide dropped slightly in 2007 but fully rebounded in 2008. Because PWC girls advanced scores did not rebound, in 2008 for the first time a higher percentage of girls achieved an advanced score state wide than in PWC.
Advanced rates for boys continued to drop – in 2006 58% achieved an advanced score, 50% in 2007, and 48% in 2008. Advanced scores for boys statewide dropped slightly in 2007 but fully rebounded in 2008. Because PWC boys advanced scores continued to drop, in 2008 for the first time a higher percentage of boys achieved an advanced score state wide than in PWC.
Only two AYP sub-groups saw increased or unchanged pass rates. Pass rates for African American students were up 2 points while rates for white students were unchanged from 2007. Pass rates for every other AYP subgroup were down.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m having a hard time seeing how those scores could possibly be called good.
2007 and 2008 SDMT Results
The SMDT was first administered to 1st and 2nd grade students in PWC in 2007 as part of the Investigations roll out. The SDMT was never administered county wide before Investigations was adopted. In 2007 all first and second grade students took the SDMT ; in 2008 the test was given to about half the students. The SDMT presents scores as percentile ranks and stanines. The 50th percentile represents the national average.
In 2007, the first year the SDMT was given in PWCS, first grade students were ranked in the 45th percentile; second grade students were ranked in the 50th percentile. In 2008 first grade students were ranked in the 53rd percentile; second grade students were ranked in the 56th percentile.
Scores did increase and that is something to be proud of. However, I’d expect scores to increase because 2007 was the first year the test was given. After completing the test for the first time teachers were able to adapt the pacing of their lessons and reviews to better match the SDMT.
So what does it all mean?
It means results were mixed. SOL scores, which are the only scores available to compare results from before Investigations, are unchanged or slightly down while SDMT results increased from year 1 to year 2 of Investigations.
Does that mean Investigations is an unqualified success? Nope. Does that mean Investigations is an unmitigated failure? Nope. It means results were mixed.