Thursday, April 16, 2009

Scores v. Grades (in Chicago)

Since 2003, Chicago has required double-period ninth-grade algebra classes for students scoring below national median on an eighth-grade math tests. A new systematic study of the policy reports:
Providing support courses improved algebra test scores for the target population but only modestly affected grades and failure rates. Students with very low initial abilities benefited less than students close to the national median. The policy also led schools to track algebra classes by students' entering math skills. As a result, it affected academic outcomes among students not targeted by the policy; test scores among high-ability students improved whereas their grades declined.
That's puzzling. It sounds like students getting the same grades as past classes, while doing better work. [Study here, with EdWeek reporting here]

Of course, if teachers are setting their grading scale based on a curve that limits the number of A's and requires some quota of D's and F's, that would explain the gap. That would also signal a great opportunity for some discussion about setting standards and then working to help every student reach or exceed that goal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updates and data on Kentucky education!