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The Scores Are In: Project 180, Day 157

Standardized test scores are not the end-all, be-all in education, but they do carry a fair amount of weight, especially when they are used–as they are at present–to determine who will graduate and who will not. They are published in the newspaper. They are made public on the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s official website in the form of a “report card,” so parents and others may view how their schools and districts stacked up to the rest of the state. They are also scrutinized at the district level to see how individual teacher’s classes performed; my professional evaluation takes these scores into account.  And the list goes on. And until we come up with a better or different measure in education, it is, in most senses, “the measure.”

Of course, I have not been quiet about my concerns and doubts with such measurements, especially in regards to the current high-stakes, high-cost reality in which we presently find ourselves. But despite my misgivings, it remains our reality. It seems I cannot change that, for it’s hard to imagine that this politically-charged, money-making reality will chart a different course simply because of the protestations of educators like me. It’s our reality. It’s our measure.

And so, it is with that in mind that I go on to share this year’s scores. When I set out on the Project 180 journey last fall, whether I wanted it or not, this year’s SBA scores would be a factor in determining success at the end. If my kids had performed poorly, my critics would have been quick to cry foul on my approach this year, maybe uttering such things as, “Well, what did you expect? Did you really think that kids would learn, would grow when you gave them an “A” at the beginning of the year?” Yes, I did expect that. And yes, they did.

  • 84 students tested.
  • 81 students met SBA proficiency levels (96.5% proficient).
  • 82 students met Washington State graduation requirements (97.7%).
  • 53 (63%)of my students achieved Level 4 proficiency, which means they exceeded standard.
  • And while there are many scores to still come in, with 33,379 tests scored, the Washington State average proficiency rate is at 73%.

Over the coming days and weeks I will process what these results really mean as I reflect on my experiences with 180. But for now, I would offer that these scores suggest that we have a lot to learn about learning. With grades off the table this year, my students achieved a 5% higher proficiency rating than my “graded” kids last year. Lots of processing and reflecting. But for now,  I am going to enjoy the success of my kids. I am proud of them. I feel like they have lived into the A’s that I gifted them 157 days ago.

Happy Tuesday, all.


2 Replies to “The Scores Are In: Project 180, Day 157”

  • Congratulations, Monte. Not that test scores are meaningful in the grand scheme of life and learning, you demonstrated that learning does not need to be coerced through grades.

    Nice job.

    • Thanks, Aaron. I am glad that we share the view that the scores do not mean all, now or later. I am also glad that we share the belief that learning does not require the compliance or coercion of grades. It, as you know well, requires feedback, and that has been at the center of 180 all year long.

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