School Performance Scores finally out? | Methodical, Musical Mathematician’s Musings

Here is some thoughtful analysis from a local mathematician on the insanity and arbitrariness of LDOE’s latest SPS score release.  I encourage you to read this accounting. 

http://jamescfinney.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/school-performance-scores-finally-out/

I was overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of it but James does a good job dissecting this pig trough of loonacy into its component goofy, icky parts.

SPS scores are largely meaningless but LDOE has gone to great lengths to make them absurdly complicated, while hiding the source data, to help disguise this fact.  Just adding a bunch of random bonus points (which are not in approved policy) is almost unimaginably stupid except that folks seem to have bought into the idea, so its hard to say who is stupider, our reporters who meekly bought into this or our LDOE for sitting on these terrible numbers before simply adding 10 points to them to (make them go up) hoping no one would notice that was bizarre and retarded (sorry, was running out of synonyms for stupid so went with an un-PC one that really might be true in this case.)

In any event, please read James Finney’s post on our latest release if only to reaffirm what you probably already suspect, the SPS  scores are retarded, written and reported by retards, retardedly.

(Figured I’d shoot the moon on offensiveness.  I think it says something I’ve gone this long seeing all the LDOE foolishness and only now had to resort to this. :))

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13 thoughts on “School Performance Scores finally out? | Methodical, Musical Mathematician’s Musings

  1. Hi Crazy Crawfish,   I have enjoyed reading all your posts these last few months, and they have educated me tremendously.    Since I am new to all this school jargon would you be able to help me out with something please???  I sat through a board meeting last month where they talked about the children’s test scores, etc and what to expect with CC.  We have all heard the scores are going to go down because CC is so rigorous!!!  Can you explain how one should look at scores and determine what the heck they are talking about.  The administrator kept on talking about the “cut” score this, the “cut” score that. Blah, blah, blah.  Even the board looked as glazed as I did.   Thank you for you help if you have time and thank you for all that you do.  Sometimes I don’t understand it, but I like reading it!!!!!   Sincerely,   Judy

    1. Hi Judy,

      I’m glad you asked.  That is one of the many variables that makes these raw scores have meaning (or not).  I saw an article recently titled something like this:  “He who controls the “cut score” controls the world.”

      Tests and scales are composed of questions assigned points or values.  Those points can add up to anything. The simplest familiar example of a “cut” score is 90% or 94% for an A on a grading scale. Some schools define 90 and above, some 94%.  A B might be 80% -89.9 or 86 – 93.9.  The 80 and 86 would be next cut, or “cutoff” score for next classification.   

      So if I wanted to make sure more people have A’s or scored “advanced ” I lower the cutoff score for those groupings, Viola, more A’s or Advanced students and I can claim kids are doing better, even if they did exactly the same or worse.  That is what LDOE is doing by changing grading scales, cut scores for school letter grades and assigning “bonus points” to select charter schools.  They are manipilating the outcome to be one they want, by applying the same “label” from year to year (A,B,C,D,F) but altering the meaning by changing cut scores for grades and adding points to boost scores to higher ranges.

      An A in Louisiana’s SPS system is a 66%  (100 out of 150 points.)  when I went to school that was an F, but through magic of cut scores it is an A.  The scores are meaningless numbers without context, but when someone can control context to show they are doing an outstanding job, and to claim their enemies (traditional school districts) are doing a terrible job the cut scores and discretionary bonus take on new and insidious meaning.  The “results” have already been decided, now all that is left is to manipulate the data show the result they want. (Charter schools good, public schools bad.) The “press” is an extension of the government,  publishing press releases as if they were facts, not highly biased propaganda.

    2. In some cases a cut score on an assessment test might be 13 out if 58 passes, and under 13 fails.  Depending on where you set the “cut score” determine how many people pass or fail.  If you do this blind you have less control of outcome than if you wait till all scores are in then “choose” a score based on scores you observe.  People grading on curves do this when they want a certain number if As and F’s but have no idea what scores people will make.  They determine “cut” ranges to define where grade ranges fall.

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

  2. Crazycrawfish, as a stickler for the truth as I know it, and as much as I agree that the School Performance Scores have been rendered meaningless, other than to reflect the whims of John White (as if they ever were meaningful), I must disagree with your statement that the bonus points are not in approved policy. Not only are they in Bulletin 111, but they have been revised twice (section 325 D) before implementation in a clear bait-and-switch by John White in his misleading of BESE (as if he needed to do that to get their approval – no offense intended to Lottie Beebe or Carolyn Hill, two votes do not make a majority).

    I also respond to Robert that the failures in VAM are set to a ten percent quota, although LDOE has managed to bungle even that simple matter.

    Thanks for covering my report that predicted this SPS fiasco in January! https://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/whites-lies-and-faux-student-improvement-part-ii-the-prediction-edition/

    1. They are not in the previous years scores so I am removing them for the “apples to apples” comparison the newspaper claimed john white was making.  Are they in the previous year’s scores that are reported for “comparative” purposes or are the scores listed as “old” completely bonus point free?

      Are the “old” scores calculated strictly off the old formula as far as you can determine or are they a hybrid?

      1. I have to acknowledge White’s forthcomingness here. Mercedes and I took him to task for not correctly labeling the 2011 Transition Baselines in the public release of the School Performance Scores. Look closely at the 2013 scores and you will see the 2012 Transition Baselines clearly labeled. All categories of schools (Elementary, Combination, High) had changes made to the formulas. The “old’ scores do not include the new Bonus Points, but are based on slightly different rules than the actual 2012 Scores. For example – English III EOC scores were not included in the 2012 scores, but they are included in the 2012 Transition Baselines. They are then included in the 2013 “old” scores. The purpose of a Transition Baseline is to provide an apples to apples comparison, although that can be gamed, as I suspect that here, but I am not done with the data and have not reached a conclusion. I used the 2011 Transition Baselines to compute 7.6 points of the High School Performance Score inflation last year.

        There definitely is an issue with the bonus points for the High Schools this year. Only 7 high schools (not combination schools) that received bonus points. Five are in New Orleans and I think all five are charters. Most high schools were ineligible to receive bonus points because they did not administer (to all students) the pre-ACT series in 2011-2012. The seven are:

        Caddo Parish Magnet High School
        Live Oak High School
        Edna Karr High School
        International High School of New Orleans
        O.Perry Walker Senior High School
        Sarah Towles Reed Senior High School
        G.W. Carver High School

        1. Those are arbitrary in my.opinion and designed to.boost new Orleans charters specifically, as you pointed out, so I am not considering them.  Actually.just.going.to.use old score for reporting.how schools did this year.  If he ever keeps the formula the same for 2 years in a row it.might be possible to.compare something, which is why.he never will.

          Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

    2. Sorry – make that section 301 D. Section 325 was White’s excess in Bulletin 130 regarding his Seabaugh Solution, but I begin an infinite digression…

  3. Actually, I think a lot of people use the term, “retarded”… we just use it to refer to stupid ideas instead of insulting individuals, yes?

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