Test Scores Worse After ADE Takeover
Dr. Charity Smith gave a glowing, power-point, graph presentation to the State Board on Monday, October 13, about how scores had improved steadily statewide and how ADE’s intervention had improved scores in all academic distressed schools. On a closer examination of her presentation on paper, her graphs of scores were extremely deceptive. For example while the state increased from 31% to 67% on the number of students scoring Proficient on the math benchmark exam since 1998, Altheimer School District’s scores decreased from 19% Proficient to 13% Proficient. The ADE intervened at Altheimer in 1997.
First, Dr. Smith used 4th grade benchmark scores only on her graphs. That is the grade in which there was great improvement - 12% statewide on the benchmark tests this last year. Altheimer improved, but only 5%.
Second, for the state scores and for several of the schools Smith included all years from 1998 through 2003. However, on the graphs of scores for Altheimer School District and Elaine School District which have been under the control of the ADE since 1997 and under their total control this last year, she included only the scores for the last three years. In a quick power point presentation no one would notice this.
In 1998 and in 2000 (two of the years left off Smith’s graphs) Altheimer School District had 19% scoring Proficient in Math compared to 16% Proficient in Math in 2003 The state increased from 31% to 67% on the number of students scoring Proficient on the 4th grade math benchmark exam since 1998, but Altheimer’s scores decreased from 19% Proficient to 13% Proficient. No wonder Dr. Smith left these years off her graphs. On the 6th grade and 8th grade math scores, not included on the graphs, there were ZERO students who scored Proficient at Altheimer in 8th grade math or literacy and only 3% in 6th Grade Math and in Literacy.
In 1998 (one of the years left off Smith’s graphs) Elaine School District had 33% of students scoring Proficient or above in 4th grade math compared to 24% proficient in math in 2003. While the state increased from 31% to 67% on the number of students scoring Proficient on the 4th grade math benchmark exam from 1998 to 2003, Elaine’s scores decreased from 33% to 24%. Again, no wonder Dr. Smith left these years off her graphs. Further, in 2002, there were still ZERO students scoring proficient in math in 8th grade at Elaine and 3% scoring Proficient in 6th grade (6th & 8th grades were not included on Smith’s graphs) On the SAT-9 tests 10th graders were scoring at 34% percentile and in 1997 & 32nd percentile in 1996 at Elaine, but there has been a consistent decline to the 23rd percentile in 2003. None of the SAT-9 scores were included on the graphs on the power point presentation.
For some of us teachers, these results are no surprise. It is typical of government control. How many examples like this will it take for the legislature to realize how devastating it will be when the ADE takes over half our schools under the Omnibus bill?
Debbie Pelley and Iris Stevens.