Friday, November 9, 2007

CCHS Still Having Problems

Carbondale Community High School is still not meeting the academic yearly progress levels mandated by the No Child Left Behind act. According to a front page article in last week's Carbondale Times, the man reason for the failure to meet the AYP is one of the school's subgroups (I remember hearing from someone that it was the special education subgroup) not meeting the specified levels of reading or math. If one group within the entire school doesn't meet the target, the whole school fails even though 60% of CCHS students overall meet AYP standards.


It should also be noted that district 95, the elementary district is also way behind. At one point, they were one of the top 10 districts in the state to receive the LOWEST test scores

and people wonder why they're moving out of town
This is actually not true. District 95 has test scores comparable (meaning statistically the same as) every other district close to it, including Unity Point. I have no idea where this myth has come from, but it is just that ... a myth. I've seen the numbers with my own two eyes.
I did a little digging so folks can see for themselves.

First, here is the district summary for CES95:

In 2002, only 54% of students met or exceeded state standards (vis a vis 60% for the state). In 2007, CES95 had 70% of the students up to snuff compared to 74% for the state. This despite having a low income rate of 51% and their student body is 29% white.

By comparsion, here is the Unity Point information:

Their rate in 2002 was 84% and is currently 89%. Their low income rate is 58% and their student body is about 58% white.

So while Unity Point scores higher, they've had virtually no improvement since 2002. District 95 scores lower, but has more minorities (who traditionally score lower on these tests) and has made substantial progress since 2002.

When you start looking at subgroups (which is the sheet I've seen with my own two eyes), you'll note that the district averages are not substantially different. For example, Grade 8 reading scores for white kids have between 85% and 89% of them at acceptable state standards in both districts. Unity Point doesn't even have enough data on the kids in traditionally disadvantaged groups to make a comparison.

This doesn't strike me as the picture of a district that is failing so much as a district that has a lot of kids in groups that don't traditionally do well on these tests and need more help. And guess what? Those kids improve over time.

Talk to any parent who has a kid in CES95 and they'll tell you that the teachers, staff, and administration do a good job.

I'll dig up the sheet that gets passed around at the CES95 offices which shows the specific comparisons a little clearer and send it to Scott, who can post it or not.
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