“Who are You Going to Believe, Me or Your Own Eyes?”
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Public school administrators were all anxious last week when it was time for New York State to release the list of schools needing comprehensive and targeted support. Many a school was apprehensive as it was unclear exactly how schools with high opt out rates would be affected. Keep in mind that the primary way that the state has for assessing schools is through growth and proficiency on state tests.
So what to make of the list itself? Basically the main answer is confusion. I include in this letter a video of Michael Hynes, the Superintendent of schools in Patchogue-Medford, Long Island. Please note his thoughts about Consortium Schools of which Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies is one. Wouldn’t it be exciting if our Performance Based Assessments could be used in the state assessment system?
Gabriel and Michael’s words shed light on the confusion. How better to explain why Brooklyn New School is not on the list while Brooklyn Collaborative (one of US News & World Report’s Best High Schools) is? It seems our schools were assessed by the performance of the handful of students who took the state exams.
Last I heard, data becomes meaningless when the sample size is too small. The test scores at our two schools offer little in the way of information as to how the schools are doing. They can’t because too few children took the test. The state has no idea how those who did not take the test would have performed. To put one school on the list and not the other with such a small sample size makes no statistical sense.
Whenever the state gives you information about your child’s school or other schools in the system, remember what Chico Marx asked: Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?