Lorain City Schools- Guest Blogger- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

September 1, 2011 at 12:37 am 12 comments

In that woman’s quest to bring you answers re Lorain City Schools we have a new blogger on board to help us through WONDER land


Let’s take a magical trip through the world of state test scores and see if we can figure out exactly what we are being told. This report comes out once a year and tells us how our students were doing on “state indicators” the previous school year as well as how they are doing compared to others across the state.

First, let’s look at some definitions so we can all understand what we are being told.

State Indicators: those categories that are being tested and reported

AYP: (Average Yearly Progress) a federally required measure for Reading and Mathematics Proficiency and Participation, Attendance Rate, and Graduation Rate. These are applied to ten student groups.

Performance Index: This number reflects the achievement of every student enrolled for the full academic year. It is a weighted average that includes all test subjects and grades and untested students. The greatest weight is given to advanced scores and the weights decrease for each performance level and a weight of zero is given to untested students. It is used to show achievement trends.

I have looked back over the past 9 years (the number of years AYP and Performance Indexes has been on the report cards.) I find that our district has NEVER achieved AYP.

What I have seen is that in the last 11 state reports, we as a district have not passed more than 26.8% of the indicators in any given year. (Be aware that the state of Ohio changes the number of indicators just about yearly.)

While in the early part of the 21st century we were receiving percentages in the low to mid 20’s that changed when the indicators for writing were removed from the criteria. (The ones we could pass were gone.)

Regardless of the titles of the indicators, we have not been passing as a district in 11 years. Our best effort was the 05/06 school year when we were at 24%. (Percentages reached by simple math: divide the number of indicators passes by the total number of indicators available = the percentage passed. *Note: learned this from math classes in Lorain City School district.).

Conclusion: We as a district are not passing the state indicators. Not hard to understand.

Now for the Magic:

If a district is not passing state indicators, how can that district be in Continuous Improvement?

To determine your District Designation, AYP becomes a factor (whether you have achieved it or not). Designation is Indicators Met (%) OR Performance Index AND AYP Designation.

So, here we go: Our percentage of indicators met has never been higher than 24% in the last nine years. BUT, our imaginary performance index number has been between 75.9% and 82.3% AND AYP Not Met gives us Continuous Improvement.

So, we don’t pass indicators, don’t achieve AYP but when we combine that with the mystical Performance Index, we are continuous improvement. (Here comes that song again:

“Dizzy, I’m so Dizzy, my head is spinnen, just like a whirlpool)

Now, let’s look at the Performance Index. Its a number derived by multiplying a percentage by a weighted value to give you a number. Also, it does not include those that take the test as 11th graders, just grades 3-8 and 10th.

We further narrow the numbers because zero times any number is zero so those that are untested don’t count in any way. Limited and basic only get partial weights so that number is again lower. Now Proficient is a full weight and accelerated and advanced have additional weight. Good and high scores count more than those that aren’t so good. I guess it doesn’t hurt so much to be not quite so smart.

There, that’s how we get to continuous improvement. (Dizzy, I’m so dizzy, . . .)



Entry filed under: education, notorious opponents of exactitude, Open for Discussion, opinion. Tags: , , .

Martin Hines – King of Karts ( racing) and my mum’s heart- receives the checkered flag Lorain City Schools- Guest Blogger the Sorcerer’s Apprentice -Part Two

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  September 1, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Good grief! That seems awfully convoluted . . .

  • 2. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  September 1, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Having said that, I’m glad that all of this is being clarified!

  • 3. Lisa  |  September 1, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Those imaginary performance index percentages ( “…between 75.9% and 82.3%…” ) look a lot like graduation rates. Same difference?

  • 4. Socerer's Apprentice  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    While it might appear that there is a correlation between the Performance Index and the Graduation Rate, as of this moment, they are still two different calculations. (believe me if you think this might make you dizzy, the formulation for graduation rate is staggering and full of lots more hoops). The PI is just this simple: you take a percentage, multiply it by a weighted number and get a number. Once you add these numbers together it becomes the PI. Logically the PI should be the percent of students in the district that scored at Proficient or better (Advanced and Accelerated) That would have given us a mere 56.5%, not nearly enough to circumvent Academic Emergency.

  • 5. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  September 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    This may be a dumb question (or two) but, why is this so complicated? What is gained by the complexity?

  • 6. Socerer's Apprentice  |  September 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Part of the complexity came from No Child Left Behind regulations. The only answer I can come up with is that it gives some districts an escape clause to get around NCLB and the consequences. Also, complicated formulas usually get people to throw up their hands, give up trying to figure it all out and just accept what they are told. That is my “humble” opinion.

  • 7. Observer  |  September 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    If you can’t dazzle ’em with brillance

    Baffle ’em with Bull Shit

  • 8. Observer  |  September 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I apologize


    Wouldn’t want a spelling error on a school post.

    quick fingers flying

  • 9. Dr. Who  |  September 2, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Now, how were the students placed in the special schools for low attendance and behavorial problems factored into this? Seems if one of the problem areas was attendance or behavioral (learning problem), LCS raised there numbers simply by manipulating the students or may not have tested them.

  • […] Obviously, this has not happened over night but we aren’t making any great strides either even with two different ” highly paid” and “educated” superintendents at the “helm” The numbers games comes into play – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/lorain-city-schools-guest-blogger-the-sorcerers-apprentice… […]

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