Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Putting The Best Spin On Mediocre News

Reported today on the web site of the major Sacramento newspaper:

More than four of every five 10th-graders passed the high school exit exam on their first try last year, according to results released Tuesday.

So why is this mediocre news?

The map below shows the percentage of local 10th-graders failing the exit exam last year by district.

It's a really cool graphic, by the way. But as the statement shows, only about 80% of sophomores passed the test. This is not worthy of fireworks and brass bands, though, because the test is written mostly at our 7th grade standards.


5wahls said...

C An you explain the "7th grade standards" comment - is that a joke? Is this data online somewhere. That is terrible.

Darren said...

If you look at what's covered on the exit exam--and we teachers are given plenty of handouts and students are given plenty of workbooks by the state department of education--and you bounce this information off the state standards, most of it is at a 7th grade level. The highest level question on the test is Algebra 1 (an 8th grade course), and there are few enough of them that students could get every one of them wrong and still pass the test.

Mr. W said...

No Darren was being serious. In my class (Algebra B) we don't even review for it. If you are in Algebra B, then you are ready to go. The CAHSEE is more of a middle school test than high school.

By the way, our school is constantly in the high 90's on the pass rate for the first time. Math was 98-99% for the past two years. The only ones that don't pass are the severe special ed students. English dropped this year to 95% pass rate...failures.

maxutils said...

What I found most notable were the two campuses, both in Sac City Unified, that had among the best and among the worst pass rates. To get in to the bad one, (Hiram Johnson), you had to live nearby and not care enough to petition to go elsewhere, or get kicked out of one of the other district schools. To get in to the other one, you have to meet GPA requirements, fill out an application, and get letters of recommendation. The teachers, school, curriculum . . . none of those is the difference. Virtually the entire gap can be explained by the student population, and the degree to which they and their parents value education.