Last week, I received this in mail:
Take a look at it. Don't worry, I'll wait. Trust me. You want to see.
The first thing you should notice is that in 5th grade, our state proficiency scores are at 41.9% in math, and 51.9% in reading. Uh-huh. This means that less than half of my state's 5th graders are able to do math at their grade level. And that slightly over half are able to read at grade level.
And that's not the best part.
The second thing you should notice is my school. Pate. Let's start by comparing the 3rd grade math scores to the 5th grade math scores. At 3rd grade, 44.7% of 3rd graders can do math at grade level. That's less than the (still alarmingly low) state average of 51.5%. At 4th grade, 22.5% are testing at grade level in math. That score is almost half that of the (even more alarmingly low) state average of 44.4%. And finally, by 5th grade, only FIFTEEN POINT TWO PERCENT (Yes, 15.2%!!) of the 5th graders at my elementary are testing at grade level in math (compared to the still low state average of 41.9%). That means that in a three year span, the students in my elementary school that can perform At. Grade. Level. in math drops by almost TWO THIRDS.
It's possible I am overly excited about this. Do any of my school teacher friends want to correct me here? Want to tell me that testing is not a very accurate reflection of actual knowledge? Or maybe that there is a 50% margin of error?
I should mention that I received this table as a piece of a letter giving me the option to transfer to a school that met AYP standards.† I can transfer my child to one of the three schools in our district that did meet AYP, provided that the schools are not too full. But... does there appear to be a glaring, obvious transfer choice to you?
†AYP stands for Adequate Yearly Progress and is the measurement tool for No Child Left Behind. It does not require that all schools meet a certain average, it simply requires that each school meets a yearly progress goal. If a school doesn't meet the goal, it doesn't pass. You can probably find your own school's AYP scores on your state's education website, provided your state participates in No Child Left Behind (and most still do).