Saturday, June 27, 2015
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund has millions of reasons to spin for the district. (rough draft)
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) once again treaded into territory they never should and that’s policy. They did so in a piece about the release of the tenth grade ELA scores.
This year there was a new test that has been controversial for a whole host of reasons and the JPEF’s gist was don’t worry about Duval’s poor performance.
Before I continue I have to tell you the test has not even been validated yet and furthermore I think it’s a bunch of crap anyways but what we can do is use it to compare how Duval is doing against other districts throughout the state.
JPEF on the other hand all but discounts the results and Jason Rose their policy expert sites three reasons why.
To be more specific, 55% of students statewide passed the 2014 10th grade FCAT 2.0 Reading assessment last year. Because passing-level cut scores have not been yet been established for the 2015 10th grade FSA English/Language Arts assessment, the results released today were approximated by finding the score at which 55% of students on this year’s test were above and making that the “passing score”, and evaluating everyone else relative to that.
For what it’s worth, 48% of 10th graders in Duval County Public Schools passed the FSA English/Language Arts test according to the scores released today (same as last year), and 57% of DCPS students passed the Algebra 1 EOC (down slightly from 58% last year). Statewide, scores in this release remained the same as last year (~55% passing 10th grade ELA, 67% passing Algebra 1 EOC) – as would be expected with equipercentile linking.
It should be noted that waiting until after a new test is administered for the first time to establish appropriate cut scores or other properties (particularly without sufficient field-testing) is not inappropriate or uncommon.To some degree, students’ performance relative to each other in the first large-scale administration of the test will influence where appropriate levels are set – in conjunction with input from content-area experts, psychometricians, and others. This is a common and accepted component of test specification and validation.
Now Rose is right the problems with the test are many and cut scores have not been released (determined??) yet either but as I said earlier we can use the scores to compare where Duval is in relation to the other big districts, spoiler alert we are dead last and that is something Rose never mentions.
Furthermore his data is a bit off and his reasoning is way off. First 55 percent of students passed in 2014 but this year the state says it’s only 54 percent. Furthermore it’s true that both this and last year Duval had 48 percent passing but a lot of other districts had difference in their scores. If the state was just using last year’s stats to set this year’s bar as Rose suggests then somebody screwed the pooch because there are different scores all over the place.
Then when Rose says, “It should be noted that waiting until after a new test is administered for the first time to establish appropriate cut scores or other properties (particularly without sufficient field-testing) is not inappropriate or uncommon.
This is a different point of view than most superintendents have. In fact superintendent after superintendent including, Albert Carvahlo of Miami and Nikolai Vitti of Jacksonville chided the state for not field testing the exam. This was one of their and many experts’ chief complaint and Rose makes it sound like it is done all the time and what does it matter anyways.
Here are a couple links sighting superintendents who disagree with Rose.
It was not long ago that JPEF was the butt of jokes from then school board member Tommy Hazouri who asked, who are these guys? Fast forward a few years and the founder of JPEF Gary Chartrand has his handpicked superintendent and school board in place and suddenly it’s hard to tell where the JPEF ends and the district begins. JPEF has a lot of self-serving interests as they are currently managing millions of dollars for the district to spin Duval’s poor performance in a positive fashion.