Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years. Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years.
CRCT Data from May, 2006, Posted

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

Mabry Celebrates Top Readers

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The state of Georgia requires that every student in grades 6 - 12 read 25 books each year or 1,000,000 words. Mabry students have done very well meeting this standard. All students who have met this requirement (and that's almost every chid at Mabry) will receive a special recognition from the Media Center.

I wanted to do something very special for our top readers from each grade level. We awarded 2 iPod Shuffles and 1 iPod Mini to the top three readers. In order to qualify for the award the students had to carefully document their reading all year long on their reading logs.

Congratulations to Kim in 8th grade for reading 58 books this year! She received an iPod Shuffle. Congratulations to Eric in 6th grade for reading 81 books this year! Eric received an iPod Shuffle! And congratulations to Sarah, in 7th grade, who read an unbelievable 167 books this year. Sarah loves to read and read almost 1 book per school day--incredible job Sarah!

I am proud all of our Mabry students who read 25 or more books this year, and I am especially proud of these top readers!

posted on: May 18, 2005

Top Math Performers at Mabry

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:

Congratulations to these three finalists:

05Pythag-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

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