Today I posted the CRCT data from last year which can be viewed at this link. The Mabry scores are very strong. And because the state is in the process of changing the tests and renorming them, the results look considerably different from what we have seen in the past. And, speaking of the past, because many of the tests have been rewritten and renormed, we must be very careful about making comparisons between much of last year's data and any previous year's data. Let me take just a moment to explain.
As the state is changing the state curriculum from the QCC (Quality Core Curriculum) to the GPS (Georgia Performance Standards), the state has rewritten the state criterion referenced tests to measure student mastery of the new standards. Not only are the tests completely different, but they renormed the tests as well. For example, on the old QCC test, 300 was the minimum score needed to be considered on grade level. With the new GPS-based tests, 800 is the new minimum score to be considered on grade level.
To make matters even more complex, some tests have yet to be rewritten. Therefore different scoring standards apply depending on the grade level and the test. Hopefully, in the near future, the new GPS curriculum will be completely implemented and the new GPS-based tests with their new scoring criteria will be standardized on all tests in all subjects at all grade levels K - 8.
I've prepared a table at this link to help you understand which tests in what subjects at which grade levels use QCC versus GPS, and use the old or new scoring criteria. Hopefully this table makes the information a little less confusing.
We have to use care in comparing this data to previous years. These are completely different tests. They assess a completely different curriculum. The most notable difference in the newly renormed tests is that the scores are significantly lower. I want to assure you that this more closely associated with the changes in how success is being measured than the quality of the instructional program at Mabry. Your students are still receiving a level of instruction that is widely considered among the very best in the state of Georgia.
By every measure I've seen, Mabry remains at the very top of the state. When you look at our data, especially on the newly renormed tests, you can easily see that your children are scoring significantly higher than the county as a whole and remarkably higher than the state of Georgia.
I suspect that the thing that has really changed is how the bean counters are counting the beans. I have always been puzzled at the historical practice of renorming test data. Historically student IQ and achievement have steadily and consistently risen in our country on almost every measure. As children get smarter and learn more, their test results are renormed. (For example, for 100 to remain an average IQ, as IQ increases nationally, the higher scores must be renormed if 100 is to remain the mean score.)
An unfortunate consequence of renorming is that increases in learning are effectively removed from the data. (Steady and consistent increases of 1 - 2% every year become significant over 10 or 20 years.) The public can not see that IQ and achievement scores have consistently risen when the results are renormed. And while many of our schools are certainly in need of significant improvement, the hard work, success, and achievement our students and teachers have earned nationally over the past several decades has given way to frequent depictions of failure in the media.
This was recently reaffirmed by the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The closer a person is to the public school (parent of a student in one), the higher the perception of the school's performance. When asked about the distant concept of the quality of American public schools, the lower the perception of school performance. In other words, the perception is that the school my child attends is doing a good job, but America's public schools are doing poorly overall.
I know that I have presented some complicated statistical "stuff." My main point is this: I remain very proud of the hard work of our Mabry students and teachers and the academic achievement of our students that results from that effort. Our goal remains to maximize student achievement in a culture of caring. Part of our responsibility as the adults in our children's lives is to balance challenging them to do their best work with celebrating their hard-earned successes. As we have never expected more of children than we do today in school, I invite you to join me in celebrating our children's success so we can further encourage even greater academic success in their immediate future.
posted on: September 1, 2006
Today Mabry celebrated all of the wonderful things our volunteers do for us at school. We hosted our annual volunteer brunch in the Media Center. We are always so busy that we sometimes neglect to take the time to say "Thank You!" We simply couldn't do all of the wonderful things that get done without the ongoing trust and support you afford our school. Last Friday I recorded a podcast with one of our parents who frequently volunteers here at Mabry. You may find her comments about community of interest.
posted on: May 15, 2006
We have some very talented young people at Mabry. Last week, when I was at Jekyll, one of our 7th graders told me she had drawn a picture of me that she wanted me to have. Today at school she and her friend brought me the picture. I am amazed at what a good job she has done! In talking with our Art teacher, Mrs. Evans, I have learned that Ashley has drawn other staff members with an amazing level of realism.
posted on: March 1, 2006
I rarely take the opportunity to share with our school community just how well-respected Mabry Middle School is around the nation. But I think that our community needs to know that our school is at the forefront of public schools. Our teachers and students all work very hard to model best practices that define what an excellent public school can be. I want everyone in our school community to take great pride in what our students and teachers are doing.
This week we are delighted to be hosting all of the middle school principals in Cobb County. They are eager to see all of the outstanding things we are doing at Mabry Middle School.
Next week I will be taking two of our students and a parent to be taped in an interview conducted by Cathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools for Georgia. The State Department of Education wants to feature in a television program the amazing things our students are doing with technology here at Mabry. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students!
Also, next week, we will be hosting guests from Oklahoma and from a variety of school districts around the state of Georgia. They will be visiting us to see firsthand what we are doing with technology. They want to replicate many of the experiences our students have in their own schools.
Mabry has been featured in several nationally-recognized education magazines in the last few months: Scholastic, Instructor, School Library Journal, and Education Week as well as in podcasts by respected educational technologist such as David Warlick. Mabry is also being frequently discussed by nationally acclaimed presenters from around the country in educational technology conferences and education conferences focused on best practices.
Our recent celebration dinner, hosted here at Mabry, is now posted to our website in Podcast Central. If you were unable to attend, take the time to download it now. You can watch the presentation or just listen to it, which ever you prefer.
I hope you join me in taking great pride in the work your students and their teachers do at Mabry.
posted on: December 7, 2005
Dr. Seuss only had two things. I have three.
Our students continue to impress me. On Monday, "out of the blue," I went into 6 classes and asked this question of the students, "If you were to walk into the best school in the entire world, what would you see?" I offered no clues, no ideas, no sense of context to the question at all. I did request thoughtful answers. You must hear what our students said. Watch this video podcast at Podcast Central.
Will came to the front office this morning. He asked our secretary if he could make an appointment with me. I was free at the time, so we chatted. This is from our conversation:
"Hi, Will. What can I do for you?"
"Dr. Tyson, I want to be the first student at Mabry to learn how to post a podcast to the internet."
"Have you been working with one of the student podcast teams?"
"Yes. I've been working on the Spanish class podcasts, and I've made some at home. But I don't know how to post one on the web."
"So, do you want to learn the easiest way to do it, or do you want to learn the 'full meal deal' which is a lot harder but far more powerful?"
"I want to learn it all."
Our students are the best. They want to learn. They are becoming ambitious learners and problem solvers that are taking the personal initiative to create their own learning. Will is an impressive young man.
We are beginning to have groups of guests both locally and nationally come to visit our school. Educators around the world are following what we are doing at Mabry. They want to learn from our school, and we are eager to share. Our students and our teachers are the best!
posted on: November 17, 2005
It's time for a huge celebration! Mabry has enormous things to celebrate:
- Schools of Distinction Award Winner for Technology Innovation
- 2005 Silver Statewide Accountability System Winner
- 25th Anniversary Celebration
- $8.8 SPLOST Renovations and Additions Completed
Of course, Mabry is in its 27th year of excellence. However, we really didn't have a 25th Anniversary celebration because of the construction project. So now it's time to throw a huge party!
On November 15th we will host a reception and catered dinner in the new Mabry Cafeteria. Purchase your tickets from our bookkeeper, Ms.Osterfeld. Tickets for the evening are $10.00. Tickets will not be sold after November 10th. Guests from our corporate donors, the State Department of Education, and the local, state, and federal governments will be attending. This will be a wonderful celebration. This will be a "Sunday best" dress up event. Make your plans now to join us.
posted on: November 2, 2005
The 8th Grade Dance last night was a tremendous success. I want to thank the many parents who assisted in decorating for the event. Everything looked spectacular. I think we had more parents attend the reception than any past dance. Our students looked fantastic and had a wonderful time. Truly, the dance was an event they will always remember. Thanks to everyone for making this so special!
posted on: May 20, 2005
The graphs below represent the average score in each subject in each grade level. The cutoff score for "on grade level" which is the minimum expectation, is 300. The score of 350 is "above grade-level" or exceeds expectations. As you can see, each grade-level did very well!
posted on: May 20, 2005
The results from the state 2005 CRCTs have just arrived. Remember, our goal at Mabry is to maximize student achievement. I could not be any more proud of the exemplary work our students and teachers do. Clicking on each picture below will enlarge the picture so you can see it easily. The goal is to increase the purple area and eliminate the yellow.
Congratulations on a job very well done. I am proud of you all!
posted on: May 19, 2005
Each year we sponsor a contest to recognize the highest level of math performance at Maby Middle School. The first round of competition: Eighth grade students with the highest math scores on nationally-normed standardized math tests are invited to participate in a rigorous math competition. The second round is the math examination, held before-school, for those students who have chosen to participate from the eligible group. This year we had 10 students who qualified and chose to take this difficult and demanding math test. In the final round of competition, the three top-scoring students compete, solving challenging math problems in an assembly in front of the entire eighth grade class.
Congratulations to these qualifying students who participated:
- (and one additional student whose name is not to be published on the web)
Congratulations to these three finalists:
Congratulations to Miles, who won the Pythagorus Award! I also want to publicly congratulate Miles. He won third place, individual, for the state Math Counts Competition which placed him on the official Georgia Team that competed in the national competition! I want to also mention that Shreekanth won the Cobb County Countdown Round in the Math Counts Competition. Congratulations students, we are proud of you!
posted on: May 13, 2005
I wanted to share with everyone some very exciting news. At the beginning of the year we applied for a very prestigious national grant award. In fact, over 3,300 schools across the nation applied for the same award.
Mabry is now a finalist! We are among 60 schools across the nation whose innovative and successful work with students has met the criteria to make it to the final round of competition. Only 20 schools from around the country will be awarded the grant and then serve as a national model for best practices in a variety of categories. We are competing in the technology innovation category.
This is huge! To have made it this far in this highly competitive grant process is an incredible honor!!
The "head guy" selected Mabry for a personal site visit which was held recently. I have to tell you that I love showing off our students and teachers. Our guests spoke very highly of what we are accomplishing with technology.
During their visit, they spoke with several teams of students. The students were awesome! One child just blurted out how movie-making is exactly like going through the writing process. She then did a point-by-point comparison. I thought she had fallen out of the lap of God! Our students are making the connections!
Our guests also had a chance to speak with several teachers. Their vision and the projects on which they are working with students were equally as incredible. The leader of the site team visit said that he wishes to return when he can spend more time with us as he realized that we were barely able to scratch the surface in the time he was with us. He has several amazing ideas on how we can take what we are doing here to the next level of excellence at a national and international level.
Should we win this award, Mabry will receive about a quarter of a million dollars in cash and technology and will be used as a national model for technology implementation best practices. Visitors would come from all over the nation to see what we are doing here. The decision as to who wins will be made this summer and announced next fall.
Everyone buckle your seat belts. We have a really good shot at this!! Our students and teachers are doing incredible things to maximize student learning! This visit honors their exemplary work.
posted on: May 8, 2005
On Monday, March 7th, Mabry students, parents, and teachers were invited to the capitol to share with our elected state officials the innovative ways we use technology at Mabry Middle School. We were one of only 13 schools around the state invited to attend!
(Click to enlarge)
The students presented their digital video Wild Life Documentary project. Mr. Swanson, one of Mabry's excellent 7th grade Life Science teachers, went to Botswana and Zimbabwe this past summer to shoot digital video footage of the wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems in those countries. That footage, along with footage donated by an international expedition company, about 60 gigabytes all total, has been loaded on our Mabry servers and made available to our 7th grade Life Science students.
Both Mrs. Carroll's and Mr. Swanson's students are presently in the process of creating their movies. (Because of limited resources, only 2 teacher's students can do this, in groups, at a time. If every child had a laptop from The Power to Learn initiative, every single child in the 7th grade Life Science curriculum could make his or her own movie project.)
Each team of students selects a topic, for example: comparing and contrasting the Cheetah and the Leopard, researches various aspects of the species (for example: adaptations, interdependence with other organisms in their biome, etc.), and puts together a movie from the footage that applies to their research. I suspect that the only way learning these Georgia Performance Standards could be any more engaging for our students would be if our Life Science teachers took them to Africa to shoot the footage themselves! (Actually, they want to do that too...)
The team that went to the capitol has been meeting before and after school to create the first (beta test with this footage, if you will) movie project. A number of people at the capitol stopped by their display and watched all 3 of their movie projects. Ms. Lynda Martin, Cobb County Area 4 Superintendent, came to see our students' work. Cathy Cox, Secretary of State, spent about 30 minutes with the Mabry team, watching their work in its entirety and asking them numerous substantive questions about their project. The students did an excellent job of presenting their work to the many adults and other students who visited their display.
Congratulations to these students and teachers for their outstanding work which has gained state recognition: Shane, Katie, Diamond, and Anna (all 7th grade students representing the group), Matt, Will, Logan, and Marli (additional 7th grade students who participated in the project), Mrs. Carroll, and Mr. Swanson (teachers), and Mrs. Janet McCrary (Instruction Lead Teacher).
Once again, I couldn't be any more proud of our staff and students who work every day to reach our school goal: maximize student academic achievement of the Georgia Performance Standards!
posted on: March 10, 2005
Congratulations to the following Mabry Students who received awards at the Cobb-Paulding Regional Science & Engineering Fair that was held on Saturday, February 26th, at Wheeler High School.
Stephanie, Sarah, and Hilary all earned 1st place recognition and are eligible to go on to the State Science Competition. Stephanie and Sarah also earned the Kemira Award of Excellence which is a plaque and $100 Savings Bond awarded to only 12 individuals demonstrating exemplary work.
Krista and Grace both earned 2nd place honors and Michael earned a 3rd place award in the Fair.
I am proud of our high achieving students.
posted on: February 27, 2005