DES MOINES & CEDAR RAPIDS STUDENTS ARE FALLING BEHIND

9-11-15

Greetings Governor Branstad, Dept. of Education Director, Ryan Wise, Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart, Cedar Rapids Superintendent Brad Buck,  and all--

The following tables are the result of analysis performed on data requested from, and expertly provided by, the Iowa Department of Education.  It was then formatted by Iowalive and posted on websites:  http://www.iowalive.net/readinggradestested2014-15.htm  and  http://www.iowalive.net/readinggradestested2013-2014.htm .    The State Report Card has also been released.

According to the State Report Card, posted on website:  https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/2015StateReportCard.pdf  all the schools in these districts are In Need of Assistance for failing to meet the 41st National Percentile Rank, adopted by Governor Vilsack and Judy Jeffrey—after fighting the Feds for nearly a year.  It is the lowest proficiency standard in the Midwest and Iowa’s two largest school districts are not coming close to meeting it.  The numbers in red in the table show why.  The numbers are for cohort (essentially the same group of students) for two consecutive years.

ALL DES MOINES GRADES 4 TO 8 ARE TROUBLESOME & GRADES 4th, 6th & 7th  ARE VERY STRANGE

What is going on, superintendent Ahart?

Do you want Iowalive to tell you?

DES MOINES READING SKILLS ARE FALLING THROUGH THE GRADES.  Source:  Iowa Dept. of Ed. and Iowalive  9-11-15

NUMBERS IN RED SHOW STUDENTS ARE FALLING BEHIND

*Percent Claimed Proficient at Pathetic 41st  NPR Iowa Grade Level

Percent Proficient at 65th NPR National Grade Level

Percent Below National Grade Level

Percent Below 95th NPR International Grade Level

GRADE ADVANCE

COHORT PERCENTAGE POINT PROFICIENT CHANGE IN ONE YEAR

3 to 4

-5.09

-3.74

3.74

REDACTED

4 to 5

2.44

5.88

-5.88

5.09

5 to 6

5.61

8.43

-8.43

-2.44

6 to 7

-2.91

-3.02

3.02

-5.61

7 to 8

6.02

-1.82

1.82

2.91

RED NUMBERS SHOW STUDENTS DID WORSE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR!

Redacted to protect identification of the few students proficient at this level.

SOMETHING VERY STRANGE IS GOING ON IN CEDAR RAPIDS’ 6th,  7th, & 8th  GRADES

What is going on, superintendent Buck?

Do you want Iowalive to tell you?

CEDAR RAPIDS  READING SKILLS ARE FALLING THROUGH THE GRADES.  Source:  Iowa Dept. of Ed. and Iowalive  9-11-15

NUMBERS IN RED SHOW STUDENTS ARE FALLING BEHIND

*Percent Claimed Proficient at Pathetic 41st  NPR Iowa Grade Level

Percent Proficient at 65th NPR National Grade Level

Percent Below National Grade Level

Percent Below 95th NPR International Grade Level

GRADE ADVANCE

COHORT PERCENTAGE POINT PROFICIENT CHANGE IN ONE YEAR

3 to 4

0.45

-1.67

1.67

-2.49

4 to 5

2.08

6.22

-6.22

1.28

5 to 6

-8.66

-8.84

8.84

8.32

6 to 7

7.23

3.56

-3.56

-4.90

7 to 8

2.90

7.23

-7.23

-6.72

RED NUMBERS SHOW STUDENTS DID WORSE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR!

Anyone claiming to have better numbers than those herein, is asked to provide them.

Superior Educator, Dr. Sue Atkinson, wrote the following which should help you understand what is going on with the numbers in the table. 

The Iowa Board of Education went outside Iowa’s trained educators to select non-educator math and non-educator science curriculums because sixty years of replacing concepts with memorization took such a toll trained educators lack the assessment skills to get back on track.  Unfortunately, the same thing was not done with reading, so Iowa’s trained educators continue to include memorization as a replacement for the effective teaching of the five reading concepts known as the “science of reading”.  When I asked the Dept. of Ed. why they have failed to tell educators not to use memorized sight words, the response I received was “how else could it be done”? 

Many private schools did not commit the fiasco of replacing concepts with memorization, and some of the tutorial services that have been effectively teaching students failed by Iowa educators for years, as well as the states doing a better job of effectively teaching reading would be three places to start to correct the failed teacher training programs in Iowa (as assessed by the National Council for Teacher Quality and acknowledged to be correct by the state in 2014).

There are only about three publisher reading programs available that cover all five of the reading concepts – AND THEY DO NOT USE MEMORIZATION.  What Iowa schools are doing is taking these programs and adding sight words in lieu of learning how to effectively teach the concepts, thus dumbing down the effectiveness of the programs.  THEN they use summer school to redo the same thing for those students who were already failed by this methodology!  As a further example of the failure of Iowa educators, the AEA can come in and tell them that a specific student has a learning style not compatible with memorization, so do not use it, and the educators completely fail to see the connection of learning styles and failed reading programs!  They consider it a defective student trait rather than a systemic failure.

Apparently the state board of education is going to have to step in yet again to correct the reading curriculum.  Assessment of the teaching methods in the training programs is being done by the National Council for Teacher Quality, but will not be available until Fall 2016.  By May 2017, all 3rd-graders not at grade level will be held back through no fault of their own!!!

Sue Atkinson, PhD

P. O. Box 301

Baxter IA 50028

641-227-3786

 

2014-2015 school district reading rankings are posted on website:  http://www.iowalive.net/2014-2015readingrank.htm 

http://www.iowalive.net/

Iowalive hopes to hear from superintendent Ahart and Buck very soon.  If not, they will likely be hearing from Iowalive.

Sincerely,

Iowalive   A growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa