ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Education
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 18th December 2017, 01:32 PM   #1
crescent
Master Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,639
Do school ranking scores matter?

Great Schools and other systems have ranking numbers for schools. Critics suggest that those numbers tell little about what sort of education the schools offer, and instead are more indicative of the sociol-economic status of whichever school the rank is for.

This matters, because the middle school in my neighborhood gets poor ranks, but other nearby middle schools do better. My daughter will be entering middle school next year.

Should be to try to get her into one of the other schools (better test scores and ranks)?

Or should we stick with the neighborhood school (she stays with her cohort of friends)?
crescent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2017, 11:22 PM   #2
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 23,972
A good ranking system would take into account how wealthy the parents are. They would also take into account if they take anyone. Maybe there is an entrance exam? In which case the school would rank highly. Or maybe they take children with special needs. Or maybe they tell a few children who are remedial not to turn up on the day the exam is on.

I think children should be given an exam before they start school. This should not be done by the school. Then these results are compared with later results. Also when children change school their new results can be compared with their old results to rank both schools. If they did those things then school comparisons would be meaningful.
__________________
This signature is for rent.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2017, 11:31 PM   #3
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 3157'S 11557'E
Posts: 13,158
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Should be to try to get her into one of the other schools (better test scores and ranks)?

Or should we stick with the neighborhood school (she stays with her cohort of friends)?
It is hard to advise without knowing what sort of neighbourhood you live in. If your neighbourhood is reasonably decent then your daughter should do "all right" in either sort of school.

If your neighourhood is lousy then the local school would likely be the same with extensive discipline problems and peers who would be a bad influence.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2017, 09:06 AM   #4
crescent
Master Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,639
Thank you both for the reply. The ranking we are looking at seem to be based on the normal American standardized testing - no entrance exams per se, but the test scores for each student factor in to what classes they are put in.

It's a decent middle of the middle class neighborhood, perhaps slightly below average economically. Property values are just a bit below the average for this area, but property values have been climbing very fast in the metro area, many of the families that have been in the neighborhood a long time are much poorer than the newer residents.

The houses in this area are reaching the age where they need their first round of significant TLC to stay nice - new roof shingles, new siding/cladding, that sort of thing. The newer residents can afford that, many of the older ones can't, so there is a mix of nicely updated houses mixed with some very run-down houses. Crime is low, just a tiny bit of graffiti and the usual teenagery badmash behavior, although there was a murder recently, apparently committed by one of the students (15 y.o.), with his mother's boyfriend's daughter (12 y.o.) as the victim. That happened on summer break, several miles from the school, but the accused murderer lived next door to the school.

The school demographics are about 60% white, 40% Hispanic, and a smattering of Asian-American, Native American, and African American. Less than 10% of the student body speak English as their second language, which is probably about average for an American middle class neighborhood.

In asking around, the one thing that seems to be noticeable is that a lot of parents with kids in the neighborhood school say that the school does a poor job of dealing with bullying. Kits are told just to avoid the kids that bully them, or are told to try to not antagonize them, while little disciplinary action is taken against the bullies themselves. Parents at other schools in the community seem to think that the other schools handle it better. That might be a deciding factor for us.

Last edited by crescent; 19th December 2017 at 09:07 AM.
crescent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2017, 09:56 AM   #5
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14,772
In an interesting twist of the OP, the University of California tries to offer admission to those in the top 9% (I believe) of each high school's class. It is actually more complicated than that- one must have taken certain courses, have a certain SAT, and UC compares your GPA to the historic top GPAs for one's high school. But the goal is to offer opportunities to students who did well within the context of their particular high school whatever the strength of the school itself.

Obviously the top 9% of some high schools will, likely due to no fault of their own, be less prepared than the top 9% of other high schools, so this results in some students struggling (at least initially) once they get into the University. The University tries to help and sometimes it works eel and other times not so well.

Some parents approach this using game theory, entering (or transferring) their already well educated, indeed privileged kids in poor performing high schools so that the kids will score at the very top of their peer group. Of course then the kids learn less than they could have if placed in a poor school. Or they are bullied, threatened, and subject to violence in some schools.

Not surprisingly, having one's kids at a top high school can present problems as well. To be in even the top third of the class requires extreme dedication, commitment, and effort. Because these schools draw the top students from the lower grades the competition can be fierce (particularly among the parents). Grades etc. are often based on a curve; even very bright kids can easily fall into the bottom half of the class and their GPA may reflect that.

I think one has to consider individually what the high school experience would be like for one's own child and if a given school will advance their education in the best way for them.

Last edited by Giordano; 19th December 2017 at 10:10 AM.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2017, 10:05 AM   #6
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14,772
More generally I believe that almost all colleges and Universities try to determine what receiving a given GPA from a given school means in terms of the potential of their student applicants. The SAT, for all its flaws, is one method to try to normalize GPAs. Another is to keep a record of the performance of students from various "feeder" high schools once they enter the college. It is not unusual that certain high schools obtain reputations for producing very good students who have done well at college when admitted in the past, and new applicants from these schools are considered premium potential admits.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 06:48 AM   #7
BobTheCoward
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14,167
Let's assume those scores are a good indicator. They probably also align with some troubling truths about race/wealth in this country.

If you choose to try for a better school, how do you feel about perpetuating a system you likely disagree with?
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 07:22 AM   #8
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 25,794
I'm in Florida, where "school choice" is a big thing. My wife is a teacher in the school district. Her school has a "B" ranking but is one of the lowest-performing eight elementary schools in the county (out of about 100). I've also investigated schools with targeted programs for my son going into middle school (pre-law, engineering, etc.).

As far as I can tell, rankings from GreatSchools and other such sites are meaningless. The administration does everything it can to game the system. If they measure improvement, the school will make sure to tank kids at the beginning of the year so it looks like they improve. If they measure reading and math, the school may teach nothing but reading and math. (My wife's school doesn't have any social studies or science whatsoever).

Parent reviews also are meaningless. Very few parents write reviews. Out of hundreds of students, you could get five reviews a year. And I lot of people don't write unless they're unhappy. It's statistically meaningless noise.

My advice is to do what I did: Go visit the schools. Walk the halls. Are they covered in art and class projects? Is the music room crowded with instruments? Do the kids look clean and rested as though someone actually cares for them? Are the kids really, really rich?

I found my local middle school to be better in these measures than any of the magnet programs nearby. All of them, no matter what they are in reality, are rated "A".
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 07:29 AM   #9
fuelair
Suspended
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 57,679
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Thank you both for the reply. The ranking we are looking at seem to be based on the normal American standardized testing - no entrance exams per se, but the test scores for each student factor in to what classes they are put in.

It's a decent middle of the middle class neighborhood, perhaps slightly below average economically. Property values are just a bit below the average for this area, but property values have been climbing very fast in the metro area, many of the families that have been in the neighborhood a long time are much poorer than the newer residents.

The houses in this area are reaching the age where they need their first round of significant TLC to stay nice - new roof shingles, new siding/cladding, that sort of thing. The newer residents can afford that, many of the older ones can't, so there is a mix of nicely updated houses mixed with some very run-down houses. Crime is low, just a tiny bit of graffiti and the usual teenagery badmash behavior, although there was a murder recently, apparently committed by one of the students (15 y.o.), with his mother's boyfriend's daughter (12 y.o.) as the victim. That happened on summer break, several miles from the school, but the accused murderer lived next door to the school.

The school demographics are about 60% white, 40% Hispanic, and a smattering of Asian-American, Native American, and African American. Less than 10% of the student body speak English as their second language, which is probably about average for an American middle class neighborhood.

In asking around, the one thing that seems to be noticeable is that a lot of parents with kids in the neighborhood school say that the school does a poor job of dealing with bullying. Kits are told just to avoid the kids that bully them, or are told to try to not antagonize them, while little disciplinary action is taken against the bullies themselves. Parents at other schools in the community seem to think that the other schools handle it better. That might be a deciding factor for us.
Bullies need crushing. A nice hydraulic press should handle this neatly!!! Wear gloves and disposable coverings if you need to be directly involved.
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 07:32 AM   #10
fuelair
Suspended
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 57,679
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
In an interesting twist of the OP, the University of California tries to offer admission to those in the top 9% (I believe) of each high school's class. It is actually more complicated than that- one must have taken certain courses, have a certain SAT, and UC compares your GPA to the historic top GPAs for one's high school. But the goal is to offer opportunities to students who did well within the context of their particular high school whatever the strength of the school itself.

Obviously the top 9% of some high schools will, likely due to no fault of their own, be less prepared than the top 9% of other high schools, so this results in some students struggling (at least initially) once they get into the University. The University tries to help and sometimes it works eel and other times not so well.

Some parents approach this using game theory, entering (or transferring) their already well educated, indeed privileged kids in poor performing high schools so that the kids will score at the very top of their peer group. Of course then the kids learn less than they could have if placed in a poor school. Or they are bullied, threatened, and subject to violence in some schools.

Not surprisingly, having one's kids at a top high school can present problems as well. To be in even the top third of the class requires extreme dedication, commitment, and effort. Because these schools draw the top students from the lower grades the competition can be fierce (particularly among the parents). Grades etc. are often based on a curve; even very bright kids can easily fall into the bottom half of the class and their GPA may reflect that.

I think one has to consider individually what the high school experience would be like for one's own child and if a given school will advance their education in the best way for them.
What do the eels in para 2 have to do in/with the process???
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 08:01 AM   #11
ahhell
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,697
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Let's assume those scores are a good indicator. They probably also align with some troubling truths about race/wealth in this country.

If you choose to try for a better school, how do you feel about perpetuating a system you likely disagree with?
I think this is a good point, my wife and mother in law rail against private school and school choice programs but think nothing of buying a house in the right neighborhood for the good schools. I've acquiesced but it rubs me the wrong way. I
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th December 2017, 09:11 AM   #12
rdwight
Critical Thinker
 
rdwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 329
I'd say take any of those ranking with a grain of salt. This year I put my daughter into kindergarten at a school with a decent rating and have had a large number of issues. And a lot of it comes down to the make up of the class this year in regards to learning/behavioral/esl issues and the experience of the teachers for those specific situations. I imagine these can change from year to year and how the school distributes them between classes can have an impact on someones experience.

Last edited by rdwight; 20th December 2017 at 09:13 AM.
rdwight is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2017, 12:13 AM   #13
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,757
Let's say the obvious; you have not told us enough about your girl. What is your sense--will she have trouble at the faster pace of the higher-ranked schools, or will she be bored at the slow pace of her local peers?

Socially, what works better for her? I suspect most smarter kids by middle school would love to get away from the slower learners, especially those who make up for their lack of a brain by imposing themselves on others physically.

But if you send her to a better school, she'd better be prepared for the tough competition.

In short, think about which is likely to work out better for her, rather than which will look better on her college application.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.

Last edited by Brainster; 21st December 2017 at 12:16 AM.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th December 2017, 06:36 PM   #14
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
This is politically incorrect of me but frankly, the higher scores do correlate to higher abilities among the student body. Taking tests is serious business to the students. This does not mean they are smarter, but it does mean they have learned to do well on tests that society values. I can't say, for a given child, which school is superior. I've worked in a lot of schools and frankly, not that much is demanded academically of middle-school students. It's a good age to challenge them when it comes to social values. Middle schoolers are naturally critical thinkers. They have a lot of ideas about what's "fair" which is as good a platform as any. In short, your middle-school student will thrive under the circumstances that you thrived under. It's a good idea not to let them fall too far behind in math, though.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th December 2017, 08:33 PM   #15
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14,772
Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
What do the eels in para 2 have to do in/with the process???
Sorry, I keep promising myself to turn off auto spell correct on my tablet but never get around to it. It can be amusing: how did "out" become corrected to "eel?" Not a shoe- I meant clue...
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th December 2017, 08:48 PM   #16
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14,772
Although not always mentioned, kids' peer groups play an extraordinarily powerful role in determining their emotional and intellectual outlooks and growth. Particularly for teenagers for whom their friends typically have more influence than do their parents. Simply being surrounded, befriended, and challenged by good students at a good school is at least as important for a kid's maturation as any of the official classes and academic programs offered by the school.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2017, 07:13 PM   #17
BobTheCoward
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14,167
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
This is politically incorrect of me but frankly, the higher scores do correlate to higher abilities among the student body. Taking tests is serious business to the students. This does not mean they are smarter, but it does mean they have learned to do well on tests that society values. I can't say, for a given child, which school is superior. I've worked in a lot of schools and frankly, not that much is demanded academically of middle-school students. It's a good age to challenge them when it comes to social values. Middle schoolers are naturally critical thinkers. They have a lot of ideas about what's "fair" which is as good a platform as any. In short, your middle-school student will thrive under the circumstances that you thrived under. It's a good idea not to let them fall too far behind in math, though.
"I'm not a good test taker."

"You mean you are not good at demonstrating to me that you bothered to learn anything?"
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2018, 01:43 PM   #18
blutoski
Penultimate Amazing
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,618
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Great Schools and other systems have ranking numbers for schools. Critics suggest that those numbers tell little about what sort of education the schools offer, and instead are more indicative of the sociol-economic status of whichever school the rank is for.

This matters, because the middle school in my neighborhood gets poor ranks, but other nearby middle schools do better. My daughter will be entering middle school next year.

Should be to try to get her into one of the other schools (better test scores and ranks)?

Or should we stick with the neighborhood school (she stays with her cohort of friends)?
Sort of three questions here...

1. are school ranking systems reliable in general

2. are the school ranking results for these specific local schools predictive

3. based on 2, does the benefit of putting daughter into a different school than cohorts outweigh the benefits



I can only really speak to #1, which is that I think it depends on how the scoring system in question ranks the schools. For example, here in Vancouver we have the Fraser Institute which regularly ranks schools. They rank the private schools at the top pretty consistently, because one of the highest weighted educational factors is 'market friendliness'. I'm not sure I personally consider that any benefit to the students' educations. They are ranking these schools higher because they are 'better' for other reasons.

Another concern I had was with the static nature of the rankings. They rank how well the students are doing, but we don't know what the school contributed to this. If a school turns C students into B students, it has a B score; if another school turns A students into B+ students, it has a B+ score. But clearly the B school has better programs than the B+ school.
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 01:02 AM   #19
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Another concern I had was with the static nature of the rankings. They rank how well the students are doing, but we don't know what the school contributed to this. If a school turns C students into B students, it has a B score; if another school turns A students into B+ students, it has a B+ score. But clearly the B school has better programs than the B+ school.
The rank isn't just, or primarily, a measure of how students do. It's a lot of different metrics mixed together, many designed to see how rigorously the school is trying to improve outcomes (close achievement gaps, prevent dropping out, etc.)

I was at a high-ranking charter school where a lot of students were content with C averages, but where the school did a very good job of showing it was conscientiously allowing students many opportunities to succeed. It got an A grade for running a tight ship, not really by having outstanding academic programs, IMO.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 02:18 AM   #20
JJM 777
Illuminator
 
JJM 777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,060
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Great Schools and other systems have ranking numbers for schools. Critics suggest that those numbers tell little about what sort of education the schools offer, and instead are more indicative of the sociol-economic status of whichever school the rank is for.
I see your point: You assume that in poor neighbourhoods schools get "sh*t in, sh*t out", the difference in achievements of students is affected by... hmmm... greater tendency of poor people to lack motivation and ambition to aim for college, for example, if it is obvious that the family could never afford to pay for the college anyway.

A valid point.

As a parent I would tend to be concerned about the potential impact of disillusioned and unmotivated peers on the motivation of my own children, and therefore prefer schools in which the peers are expected to have a positive impact on the studying morale of my children.
JJM 777 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 09:23 AM   #21
crescent
Master Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,639
Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I see your point: You assume that in poor neighbourhoods schools get "sh*t in, sh*t out", the difference in achievements of students is affected by... hmmm... greater tendency of poor people to lack motivation and ambition to aim for college, for example, if it is obvious that the family could never afford to pay for the college anyway.

A valid point.

As a parent I would tend to be concerned about the potential impact of disillusioned and unmotivated peers on the motivation of my own children, and therefore prefer schools in which the peers are expected to have a positive impact on the studying morale of my children.
No, that was not my point.

At any rate, the colleges we could afford to send our kids to are not hard to get in to. My kids are better students than I ever was, and I was accepted to every college I applied to. I only applied to those we could afford, of course (in-state State schools).

Instead it is that the school ranking systems most commonly used here (such as Great Schools) rely too heavily on the results of the standardized tests. A school that gets a bunch of kids who are far behind where they should be, and moves them up to just a bit below, would get a worse rank than a school that starts with kids who are already getting very good test scores and show no improvement.

In this scenario, the school with the poorer test scores may only have poorer ranks due to the lower "starting point" of its students, rather than anything to do with student motivation or teacher quality. This in turn may be tied to the socio-economic factors such as the time parents can spend helping the kids with homework (tougher with single parents or parents working two jobs) and the educational or language background of the parents (harder to help with homework if you don't understand the homework yourself).

As for an update, we've decided to apply for the "choice" school on the other side of town, rather than the neighborhood school. My wife was motivated by the test scores, I was not. We were both motivated by a veritable tsunami of anecdotes from the neighborhood school about bullying, violence, and the school administration's poor response to it, as well as reports by about a dozen parents who transferred their kids from the neighborhood school to the choice school and say the environment is much better there.

My daughter and my son are both very good students (much better than I ever was). Daughter has ADHD and repeated a grade a few years ago (fourth grade) - she was passing academically but was very hard for her to keep up. We're talking emotional meltdowns during homework two or three times per week, still ending up in the bottom 1/3 of her class. The ADHD makes her seem weird to the other kids her age (but not to me, I love her eccentric sense of humor) and she had difficulty making friends and seemed immature and childish with kids her own age. Her mid-summer birthday meant that she was one of the youngest kids in the class.

So we held her back and worked with her Dr. on medication. She's sailed through the second try of 4th grade and then through 5th grade near the top of her class and makes friends more easily. She is the oldest kid in the class, but only by about two months. They might still see her as different, but are more tolerant of it because she can help them with assignments and produces amazing artwork. They gave her a nickname that she likes.

But, in the end, she is still a kid that is slow to make friends and comes off as eccentric. I don't want to send her a school that does not know how to deal with mistreatment of kids that don't fit the social norms. That was the deciding factor for me.

It is a hard choice, for me at least. We could keep her with her cohort of friends which is supportive, but only by sending her to a school environment that many parents and students have reported as being very toxic. Even then, she only has one really close friend within that cohort, most of the rest are more like just casual acquaintances. Or we send her to a new environment where she will likely know few or no students, but in which the environment is more nurturing.

We'll go for the more nurturing environment, with the assumption that the good school environment will help her make new friends more quickly.

Sometimes parenting can require decisions that are not easy.

Last edited by crescent; 5th January 2018 at 10:22 AM.
crescent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 09:52 AM   #22
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14,772
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
"I'm not a good test taker."

"You mean you are not good at demonstrating to me that you bothered to learn anything?"
I agree. Of course there are good tests and bad tests in terms of determining how well a student learned the information. I know- I've written both kinds. And there are smart people who don't do well on even good tests. But tests as a whole are good judges of how well a given student will do in the typical school. The smart people who don't do well on tests? They usually struggle in all aspects of school- not just the tests. One can argue that the schools are failing these students- and they are. Unless the standard schools are radically re-invented that will happen. Until then these smart people will have to (and often do) find other ways to complement their inherent intelligence, learn stuff they way that works for them, and succeed.

Therefore I think it is usually fair to use test scores as a way of determining school placement. It is not a test of a person's intelligence or worth- just of how well they and and school will work out if they are admitted.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 10:53 AM   #23
blutoski
Penultimate Amazing
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,618
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
The rank isn't just, or primarily, a measure of how students do. It's a lot of different metrics mixed together, many designed to see how rigorously the school is trying to improve outcomes (close achievement gaps, prevent dropping out, etc.)
Yes, sorry, what I meant was: compared to what?

Two schools with a 2% dropout rate may have opposite success with their programs. A community with a natural 1% dropout rate, but the school has a 2% dropout rate, the school is making things worse. A community with a natural 3% dropout rate, but the school has a 2% dropout rate, the school is making things better.

So the perennial complication is that we can't do proper multiple regression without a validated baseline. ie: what do we know about the kids with identical parenting and community, who do not go to that school?



Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I was at a high-ranking charter school where a lot of students were content with C averages, but where the school did a very good job of showing it was conscientiously allowing students many opportunities to succeed. It got an A grade for running a tight ship, not really by having outstanding academic programs, IMO.
Right, this was like my example from the Fraser Institute where they elevated the 'score' for schools that were aligned with their preferred values and policies. It's a baked in advocacy, and an organization that had a different scoring system might say that it was a terrible school instead.

So what we need to do as parents is select the scoring system that reflects what we believe is are valuable criteria, there is no objective scoring system that I'm aware of.
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th January 2018, 01:54 PM   #24
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
So what we need to do as parents is select the scoring system that reflects what we believe is are valuable criteria, there is no objective scoring system that I'm aware of.
Where I live there is a ton of "choice" and I can see both upsides and downsides. I've been in scores of schools over the course of my second career with letter grades running from A to D and it does boil down to picking what's right for your family.

A lot of people have to depend on where the school bus goes.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th January 2018, 11:48 AM   #25
fuelair
Suspended
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 57,679
Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Bullies need crushing. A nice hydraulic press should handle this neatly!!! Wear gloves and disposable coverings if you need to be directly involved.
Note : from personal experience things that worked well for me:
1) smaller person (or your size) thinks your mass doesn't matter and starts on you in the restroom..... grab and tightly hold their neck and duck walk them to the nearest open toilet cubicle and hold their head over the bowl. Pay no attention to the calls for you to place their head in the toilet for a nice swirlie but instead just hold their head there for a short time and release them. They will make every effort to avoid being anywhere near you. 2) lad who feels he is king of the school tells you to meet him after school for a fight. You instead tell him you don't have time to do that as you have more important things to do then. He, not intelligently, pushes his hand into your mouth area. Bite hard causing hand pain and bleeding. He remembers a need to be elsewhere.

Both of those are unembellished " it happened to me" reports from my time in Donelson High School in Nashville.

Never liked bullies.
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th January 2018, 11:50 AM   #26
fuelair
Suspended
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 57,679
Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Bullies need crushing. A nice hydraulic press should handle this neatly!!! Wear gloves and disposable coverings if you need to be directly involved.
Note, if you need pictorial help on this watch the movie "The Fly"!!!
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th January 2018, 03:00 PM   #27
Whatfor
Scholar
 
Whatfor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 95
Thumbs up

Originally Posted by crescent View Post
No, that was not my point.

At any rate, the colleges we could afford to send our kids to are not hard to get in to. My kids are better students than I ever was, and I was accepted to every college I applied to. I only applied to those we could afford, of course (in-state State schools).

Instead it is that the school ranking systems most commonly used here (such as Great Schools) rely too heavily on the results of the standardized tests. A school that gets a bunch of kids who are far behind where they should be, and moves them up to just a bit below, would get a worse rank than a school that starts with kids who are already getting very good test scores and show no improvement.

In this scenario, the school with the poorer test scores may only have poorer ranks due to the lower "starting point" of its students, rather than anything to do with student motivation or teacher quality. This in turn may be tied to the socio-economic factors such as the time parents can spend helping the kids with homework (tougher with single parents or parents working two jobs) and the educational or language background of the parents (harder to help with homework if you don't understand the homework yourself).

As for an update, we've decided to apply for the "choice" school on the other side of town, rather than the neighborhood school. My wife was motivated by the test scores, I was not. We were both motivated by a veritable tsunami of anecdotes from the neighborhood school about bullying, violence, and the school administration's poor response to it, as well as reports by about a dozen parents who transferred their kids from the neighborhood school to the choice school and say the environment is much better there.

My daughter and my son are both very good students (much better than I ever was). Daughter has ADHD and repeated a grade a few years ago (fourth grade) - she was passing academically but was very hard for her to keep up. We're talking emotional meltdowns during homework two or three times per week, still ending up in the bottom 1/3 of her class. The ADHD makes her seem weird to the other kids her age (but not to me, I love her eccentric sense of humor) and she had difficulty making friends and seemed immature and childish with kids her own age. Her mid-summer birthday meant that she was one of the youngest kids in the class.

So we held her back and worked with her Dr. on medication. She's sailed through the second try of 4th grade and then through 5th grade near the top of her class and makes friends more easily. She is the oldest kid in the class, but only by about two months. They might still see her as different, but are more tolerant of it because she can help them with assignments and produces amazing artwork. They gave her a nickname that she likes.

But, in the end, she is still a kid that is slow to make friends and comes off as eccentric. I don't want to send her a school that does not know how to deal with mistreatment of kids that don't fit the social norms. That was the deciding factor for me.

It is a hard choice, for me at least. We could keep her with her cohort of friends which is supportive, but only by sending her to a school environment that many parents and students have reported as being very toxic. Even then, she only has one really close friend within that cohort, most of the rest are more like just casual acquaintances. Or we send her to a new environment where she will likely know few or no students, but in which the environment is more nurturing.

We'll go for the more nurturing environment, with the assumption that the good school environment will help her make new friends more quickly.

Sometimes parenting can require decisions that are not easy.
Now that's what I call critical thinking. I wish there were more people on this forum with your ability to identify what is important and figure out how to achieve it. Best wishes to your daughter.
Whatfor is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th January 2018, 10:55 PM   #28
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
ThWe'll go for the more nurturing environment, with the assumption that the good school environment will help her make new friends more quickly.
In my state there are tons of charter schools - which generally have lower overhead because they often don't have football fields etc. A truly top-tier athlete should probably be at a school that has those facilities.

I've read that small class size is not a panacea but I believe small schools are probably more nurturing. It's harder to hide in a school with just one 5th grade class. Fewer levels of administration. Another thing to look at IMO is staff turnover. Charters do have higher turnover (I'll look for stats.) Today I substituted for a third-grade class whose teacher had to move to Minnesota in the middle of the school year. The principal made it a point of dropping into the room, very aware that this change was stressful for them. So even with their teacher gone they were getting topnotch attention during the changeover. The principal had the whole class structured to make it easier for them to learn new routines and procedures. She seems to really know them as individuals and even as a sub I end up knowing hundreds of students by name since I work at all grade levels. This is what draws me to education - I'm interested in students' stories. Lots of diversity out there.

I can't just hang out with them, though - I am expected to teach them something!
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th January 2018, 09:18 AM   #29
AlaskaBushPilot
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 4,006
Originally Posted by crescent View Post

Instead it is that the school ranking systems most commonly used here (such as Great Schools) rely too heavily on the results of the standardized tests. A school that gets a bunch of kids who are far behind where they should be, and moves them up to just a bit below, would get a worse rank than a school that starts with kids who are already getting very good test scores and show no improvement.
The rankings are meaningless to anyone who cares about their kids' education. In regressions of student scores on all manner of variables the determining factors are just bundles of characteristics proxying how much the parents and their kid give a ****, along with genetics.

Quote:
We'll go for the more nurturing environment, with the assumption that the good school environment will help her make new friends more quickly.

Sometimes parenting can require decisions that are not easy.
Yeah, like making a real decision with real sacrifice like homeschool instead of which pathetic government PC indoctrination camp you are sending them to. How many years ahead of your high school seniors are Shanghai kids going to be at 12th grade? Three years or five?

We are increasingly too disgusted for words and too contemptuous to even bother being polite any more as we prove how incredible your kids can do when they have a real teacher, like us, who have never had a day of elementary education training. Nurturing - lol. Government schools, compared to decent parents, are prisons.

Conformity is by far the most important thing to a government school, and it begins with the asinine presumption that everyone of the same age has to be in the same grade. So one may be more nurturing than another, in a manner of speaking, in the same way that one dictator can be less murderous than another.

And looky at Minoosh making such a heart-warming story about the kids who will have at least three teachers - the one who moved, the sub, and the replacement.

That's topnotch attention alrighty. Reminds me of having the football coach teaching my history class, transferring, the new football coach dying of a heart attack, and the third football coach proving what's important in a history teacher at high schools in the USA.
AlaskaBushPilot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th January 2018, 09:33 AM   #30
crescent
Master Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,639
Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
T.... just bundles of characteristics proxying how much the parents and their kid give a ****, along with genetics.
I hope you are not hijacking a nice thread with a bunch of racist B.S.
crescent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th January 2018, 09:37 AM   #31
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
And looky at Minoosh making such a heart-warming story about the kids who will have at least three teachers - the one who moved, the sub, and the replacement.
Definitely not an ideal situation.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th January 2018, 09:40 AM   #32
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
I hope you are not hijacking a nice thread with a bunch of racist B.S.
This happens to all education threads. I thought maybe this had changed but no such luck.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th January 2018, 07:31 PM   #33
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 3157'S 11557'E
Posts: 13,158
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I've read that small class size is not a panacea but I believe small schools are probably more nurturing. It's harder to hide in a school with just one 5th grade class.
I went to a school that had a "bad" reputation. The main positive was that at 1500 students, the school was big enough to stream students according to their abilities (actually, labeling and putting students into "advanced", "intermediate" or "basic" classes instead of grading them on an exam was the flavour of the month in those days).

This meant that even though there were a lot of bad eggs in the school, in my classrooms I was with peers who were equally as motivated as me and encouraged me. The teacher didn't have to wasted time dealing with the unruly dummies either.

So size is not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage. It often depends on how well the school is administered.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 02:49 PM   #34
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I went to a school that had a "bad" reputation. The main positive was that at 1500 students, the school was big enough to stream students according to their abilities (actually, labeling and putting students into "advanced", "intermediate" or "basic" classes instead of grading them on an exam was the flavour of the month in those days).

This meant that even though there were a lot of bad eggs in the school, in my classrooms I was with peers who were equally as motivated as me and encouraged me. The teacher didn't have to wasted time dealing with the unruly dummies either.

So size is not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage. It often depends on how well the school is administered.
Unfortunately putting all the disruptive students together means that any student not assigned to a top tier will bear the brunt of other students' bad behavior, quite possibly through no fault of their own.

What you're describing makes sense from a teaching standpoint but I'm not sure it meets the constitutional requirement for "equal opportunity in education."

The more experienced educators often get the "good" students as a kind of reward and the "bad" students get less experienced teachers.

I dealt with one very disruptive student as a substitute. Then I had to do reading tests on every kid in the school and found out he was brilliant. He was in the "low" group. The owner of that charter school did separate out the high and low class, and her second-grader was in the "high" class. He was a good kid, and a smart kid, but there were good, smart kids in the other class as well who experienced a more stressful learning environment.

I'm a big fan of decent learning software. Students who "get it" don't have to sit through a lesson that bores them to tears. They can move on to the next lesson or standard. Less disruption, more achievement, an opportunity for peer tutoring which can be good for both "high" and "low" students.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 02:58 PM   #35
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,928
Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Or maybe they take children with special needs. Or maybe they tell a few children who are remedial not to turn up on the day the exam is on.
Public schools have to serve everybody. They don't get to turn away students with special needs. Some schools do practice some cherry-picking but it's not exactly legal.

Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I think children should be given an exam before they start school. This should not be done by the school. Then these results are compared with later results. Also when children change school their new results can be compared with their old results to rank both schools. If they did those things then school comparisons would be meaningful.
Who administers the exams if not the school?
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 03:30 PM   #36
blutoski
Penultimate Amazing
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,618
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I went to a school that had a "bad" reputation. The main positive was that at 1500 students, the school was big enough to stream students according to their abilities (actually, labeling and putting students into "advanced", "intermediate" or "basic" classes instead of grading them on an exam was the flavour of the month in those days).

This meant that even though there were a lot of bad eggs in the school, in my classrooms I was with peers who were equally as motivated as me and encouraged me. The teacher didn't have to wasted time dealing with the unruly dummies either.

So size is not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage. It often depends on how well the school is administered.
I'd almost lean toward larger being better, actually, not just on average, but almost always as a rule.

It may be that the description of 'large' vs 'small' is too vague.

Just as an example, here in BC, small schools are a calamity. One teacher with kids spread across four grades, no science lab... the blind kid gets his braille lessons once a month, because the district's braille teacher has to support 90 kids across 77 schools, some of them an overnight stay's drive away from her district office.

And attention time is overrated. Once we're above a threshold of actual neglect, there's diminishing returns on teacher attention. Otherwise all those Christian schools with four students in them would be getting above average grades. On the contrary: those basement-of-the-church schools with that one parent volunteer teacher watching a handful of students' every action in class or at home tend to be among the worst - depending on score priorities.
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 03:37 PM   #37
blutoski
Penultimate Amazing
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,618
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Public schools have to serve everybody. They don't get to turn away students with special needs. Some schools do practice some cherry-picking but it's not exactly legal.
There was a huge charter school fiasco about this last year - the administrators were directing principals to convince their academically underperforming students to drop out, and would visit them in their homes and try to persuade the parents to pressure their kids to quit, too. This included a lot of kids with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and mental illnesses (mostly depression).

This was to adjust their relevant stats so they were contractually compliant. Grades were weighed higher than student retention in the overall contract scoring formula.

I'll see if I can locate the article, it was a pretty good piece of journalism. (Atlantic?)
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 03:45 PM   #38
blutoski
Penultimate Amazing
 
blutoski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,618
Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
I'd almost lean toward larger being better, actually, not just on average, but almost always as a rule.
I forgot to add: one of the other benefits of larger schools relates to the school's purpose which is to prepare the students for the real world.

My nieces were the best students in their highschool in each of their grades, year after year. Meaning, they beat out the other one or two people in their grade.

This gives them a false sense of competence. Compared to other students in the same grade across the province, they were well below average.

Now, the first one is in college, and she's getting shellshocked. Her 1st year class had more people in the room than she had in her entire school. Forget academics - the social context is new. There are people there who actually think differently than she does. First year is way rockier for her than it was for me when I transitioned from a highschool with 1800 people.
__________________
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." - Terry Pratchett
blutoski is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 09:55 PM   #39
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 23,972
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Public schools have to serve everybody. They don't get to turn away students with special needs. Some schools do practice some cherry-picking but it's not exactly legal.

Who administers the exams if not the school?
Private schools can say who can attend their school. If they give a test that is hard to pass they would score very highly.

Most children attend some sort of pre school (known by different names) before they start in primary school. They could do the tests at the end of the year. This would leave only the children who go straight into primary school untested. They could be given a special test by these pre schools.

Then administer the same tests in a year's time. If they have improved more than expected then the school (and the teacher) should be able to claim credit. If a student moves from one school to another (at the end of the year) then any improvement would be credit to the school. With this system it is harder to game the system.
__________________
This signature is for rent.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th January 2018, 10:14 PM   #40
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 23,972
In the Australia, they rank schools and compare states. The ACT performs better than other states. But then they adjust the scores for their parent's income and the ACT performs badly. What has happened? The ACT has a large % of people with good education. Hence the ACT performs well. But to attract them here they need to be paid higher than they would elsewhere. So to use income as a guide unfairly treats the ACT.

So it can get complicated with ranking systems.
__________________
This signature is for rent.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Education

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:42 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.