Monday, October 24, 2011

District #150 expected to terminate agreement with Concept Schools in 2015


It is reported in today's newspaper that in 2015, we can expect Peoria District 150 to terminate the agreement with Concept Schools, the management company for Quest Charter Academy. Read the entire article here...

The prediction is odd, considering the article is about the future of Quest Charter Academy and their efforts to expand into a high school. Additionally, in the article, Grenita Lathan, Superintendent of schools, is quoted as stating, "I'm excited about the success at Quest."

It's all quite contradictory. If the future of Quest is all good and 150 is all pleased, why would they terminate the agreement in 2015. I'm confused, is this a typo?

It should also be pointed out that the article is misleading about who holds the contract with Concept Schools.

District 150 has a contract with Peoria Charter School Initiative (PCSI). It is PCSI who hired Concept Schools to manage Quest Charter Academy. Concept Schools hired the Principal and the Business Manager to run Quest Charter Academy. PCSI, along with input from the Principal, hired the teachers, janitors and other administrators in the building, but they are Concept employees.

The distinction as to who holds the contract is important, as the ability to track accountability in charter schools is one of the largest complaints from folks who oppose charter schools.



72 comments:

Sharon Crews said...

Quest's scores are higher because the lottery system somehow yields Quest fewer students with IEP's (the scores that drag District 150's scores down). According to September 27, 2011, FOIA'd data, 11 students in the 5th grade have IEP's, 6 in the 6th grade, 3 in the 7th grade, and 9 in the 8th grade. It is my understanding, also, that Quest has plenty of fights--that discipline problems at definitely a problem at Quest.
My question: I assume Quest took the NCLB tests last year. Have we seen those results yet? Reporting high scores in NWEA tests is not quite the same as the story that NCLB tells.

Anonymous said...

The move to a high school should be interesting.

What ninth grader would want to be part of a class of only 75 students with no sports or any other type of significant extracurricular opportunities?

Emerge Peoria said...

To open up a new campus for so few students sounds expensive.

Anonymous said...

The writer of the article made a Freudian slip. The editor should have caught it.

Sharon Crews said...

Agreed--I don't know how Freudian--but I'm sure Quest will be asking the PJS for a retraction. Yes, a building devoted to only 75 high school students will be a waste of money--but remember Quest doesn't pay its teachers so well, so it has money to spend on Ameren bills, etc. However, the fact still remains that I can't imagine 75 young people wanting to go to a high school of only freshmen--sounds lonely. Maybe Quest will wait a year or two so that their high school student body can increase to at least 150.

walk of shame said...

I don't know...if I were a 14-15 year-old I would rather go to a school with only 75 people as opposed to a school where I might get beat up, my classes disrupted, and not being able to learn.

Sharon Crews said...

I guess Quest can find 75 students for a freshman class. I will be curious to see how many of the current 8th graders opt to be Quest's first freshman class. My guess is that many of them will leave Quest. Parents who can will probably choose Notre Dame or Peoria Christian or even Richwoods as many of Quest students, I believe, live in the Richwoods attendance area. Parents with high ambitions for their students will go where there are AP classes, science labs, etc. I don't know how much Quest will be spending to add labs, etc., that aren't currently available in the Loucks or Columbia building.
My prediction is that Quest will die as a high school--especially if they do only one year at a time. There is a possibility, I guess, that they could add all four grades. However, getting students to opt out of a high school where they have already established themselves is probably not so easy. High school kids are old enough to influence their parents' decisions--middle school kids, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to see PJS even run a article on Quest. It's about time they start doing some real journalism. As far as the typo go, it wasn't. They reported it just as it was given to them. As always, that stupid bitch (Grenita) got tangled up in her own words while trying to make like everything was peachy keen and under control. I sat and watched this coming for some time. Quest is a mess just like all the rest of the schools in town that that stank has had a part in and tainted. I have a very close friend who works with the program and she tells me on a daily bases about what goes on and not only is she disappointed, she has put in her resignation.

kohlrabi said...

It wouldn't be the first time that the PJStar had a misprint. Why assume Quest would have/need a separate facility for the first group of 75 grade 9 students? Next year it will be grades 5-9, the following year grades 5-10, etc. By the end of the 5 year contract it would be grades 5-11. No need for a separate facility for even grades 9-11. It would be only 525 students and I don't believe that they are using the second floor now of Loucks now - plenty of classroom space - albeit no labs. Woodruff building is no longer available.

Anonymous said...

Employees choose to go to Quest. If they are unhappy they need to leave. That type of negativity doesn't belong around the children. Aren't many of the fights with the 5th graders that just came in from Dist `50; if so it might take them a while to adjust?

Sharon Crews said...

I think you're wrong about "just" the 5th graders. I think it's already happening--teachers are leaving.
Kohlrabi--I thought Barton said--that Quest was interested in acquiring Columbia school, which would be the middle school, and Loucks would become the high school.

Sharon Crews said...

What should they be surprise at the article or why would you label it "real" journalism. Most of it was taken from the school's principal's dashboard report of which I have a copy, also. The quotes from Lathan, students, etc., are from interviews. I think Stewart is a good reporter and will be providing more 150-related stories. However, investigative journalism has not
been tried yet at the PJS with regard to District 150. There is much to investigate. After Greg gets his feet wet, so to speak, I hope he gets into that arena.

Anonymous said...

Could not get printed if not approved.
"Most of it was taken from the school's principal's dashboard report of which I have a copy, also".
I am very aware of where it came from. I am also aware of Greg as the all around journalist or what may.
I was speaking in journal of PJS printing it, regardless of where it came from.
Your opinion of PJS and mine is obviously not the same and that is fine and dandy. I think they are not worth shit and you think other wise. That's what we call a matter of your own opinion and healthy disagreement.

kohlrabi said...

Sharon - I hadn't heard Glen Barton express an interest in the Columbia Building -perhaps that was part of the interest in getting it closed. I doubt that either building has anything that passes as a science lab but it's also unclear that Quest is actually focused on a science curriculum.

Sharon Crews said...

But don't all high schools have to have a science curriculum? I still believe Barton and company hoped that Woodruff would fall into their laps.
Anonymous, what do you mean it could not get printed if not approved? I really didn't understand much of your last post--such as "I was speaking of journal of PJS. What?

kohlrabi said...

Woodruff building probably has/had labs outfitted for e.g. chemistry classes and labs - middle school buildings probably do not. All high school and middle schools have a science curriculum (as noted in the other discussion about 150 science textbooks and materials for middle school) - that doesn't necessarily translate into the buildings/classrooms being equiped with appropriate laboratory classrooms. A high school building like Woodruff would probably be a better fit. Quest doesn't appear to be especially focused on the science curriculum -a little surprising and disappointing for a school that is supposed to be tied to science/math/technology.

Jon said...

Sure looks like a type/mistake to me, given the rest of the tone of the article.

With 75 students per grade and eventually 2 campuses, there will be 300 in each campus (4 grades each). That's the same size as Peoria Christian High School - and it seems to offer a fair amount of extracurriculars - including sports. About the only thing that's difficult to offer is football (though they could also choose to partner with another school - in Eureka and Roanoke Benson, for example, they join forces to put out one football team).

Anonymous said...

And in other news, union lobbyists substitute for a day and get 16 years credit within teachers pension system - Sunday Chicago Tribune front page. Efforts to reduce union waste and educational bureacracy should be applauded.

Sharon Crews said...

Examplies of inequities and dishonest practices in any profession (union and managerial) could be found in large cities such as Chicago and in the political world of Springfield, but District 150 doesn't have any union lobbyists subbing for a day to get 16 years credit for retirement.
Stop making the exceptions appear to be the rule. There will always be exceptions but they are not representative of anything.
So do you really believe that no waste of money exists in the
excessive number of administrators on Wisconsin Avenue that are overpaid and they have no union.

Jon said...

Wow. Anon makes what would appear to be a universally agreed observation -

"Efforts to reduce union waste and educational bureacracy should be applauded."

Sharon chides Anon for "making exceptions appear to be the rule". And then essentially states these egregious examples are meaningless. But to top it off, decides to point the finger at the administration.

No wonder many parents and taxpayers are disillusioned with the whole lot.

Anonymous said...

"Wow. Anon makes what would appear to be a universally agreed observation" -Jon

Wrong in a big way, Jon. How long have you been gone from Peoria?

Anonymous said...

Jon - union waste defines us and educational bureacracy gives us something to hate - apart from admin. Children B darned all to heck! Gimme a pension I don't fund and no one else can afford and don't dare try to evaluate or judge me for I am teacher - hear us roar! Now give me another paid prep period so I can go run personal errands. i r professional

Jon said...

Long enuff, I guess. While the Trib might cite examples in the Chicago area, most of the teachers up here (my wife is one) seem to be utterly disgusted with their current and former leaders - more so than even the average observer. These kinds of shenanigans should never be tolerated - and they undermine the integrity of the program - to the detriment of fellow educators and taxpayers alike.

Anonymous said...

I heard that they're moving an abandoned Morton Building from Childers, North Carolina, to Peoria to house the new Charter High School. Apparently, for years, the building served as one of Glen Barton's favorite tourist attractions -- The Jesse James Wax Museum.

Anonymous said...

Are the new Velcro Air Jordans out yet?

Anonymous said...

Not yet, but I hear that Latoy has "pre" ordered hers....

Sharon Crews said...

Also, I trust that none of you can ever recall a time when I have defended union leadership at the state or national level. Corruption at those levels exists in almost any organization. I extol unions at the local level and, I suppose, unfortunately that means that the strength has to come from the top--very, very unfortunately.
Also, I taught for 43 years and never left the building during my prep period for any reason. Of course, maybe things have changed but during my career teachers were not allowed to leave the building for prep periods or lunch except in dire emergencies, etc. And I, also, paid into my pension fund--and, of course, Jon will tell you that I didn't put enough in--but the school district did put the rest in for me and then the State of Illinois kept borrowing it and forgetting to put it back.

Jon said...

"and, of course, Jon will tell you that I didn't put enough in"

I've never made any such claim. I've tried to point out that teachers receive a lot more from the system than they put in. It's what their unions negotiated. And, further, the school district did NOT put the rest in for you, nor did the State "borrow" from it and forget to put it back.

I've tried to explain this to you many times, but it's clear you still don't understand how your own pension works.

Contributions come from employees and employers. The employer includes local school districts as well as the State. The State didn't borrow monies and forget to put it back - it didn't make the full contribution in the first place.

The parties to the contract have agreed to more than they can deliver.

Mahkno said...

There are plenty of schools around Illinois that have high school classes in the 75 range or even smaller. They have sports. They have plenty of extra-curricular activities. They also have parents and the community involved which enable all this to happen.

Sharon Crews said...

I think I started by saying that I couldn't see 75 kids going to a high school with only freshmen, no upper classmen. Barton, I thought, stated that next year would be the beginning of a high school and he mentioned Columbia for middle and Loucks for high school--so I thought he was suggesting a school of only freshmen. I don't know of any schools for just freshmen. And I thought Quest would add only one class per year. Yes, if Quest decided to do all four years at one time, maybe enough students would apply.

Anonymous said...

Looks like PJ Star finally got a reporter:
http://www.pjstar.com/news/x366619593/Short-layover-at-Lindbergh-for-150-Board

Sharon Crews said...

Go, Greg, yes, I think the PJS finally has a reporter who is willing to do some real reporting.

Jon said...

"Quest's scores are higher because the lottery system somehow yields Quest fewer students with IEP's (the scores that drag District 150's scores down)."

Nice story, but the data doesn't support that IEPs fully explain the difference in test scores.

It is true that on average student's with IEPs perform considerably worse than non-IEP students on ISAT scores - generally about 60% as many meet/exceed. About 23% of D150 students in grades 5-8 had IEPs, compared to the 10% of Quest students per Sharon's data. Using 2010 data for D150 currently available for grades 5-8, 50% of IEP students met/exceed math standards and 79% of non-IEP students met/exceeds for a combined overall rate of 71.5%. If there were only 10% of IEP students, that combined rate would be 75.5% meet/exceeds, an increase of 4 percentage points. However, the PJStar reported that 85% of Quest students met/exceeded math standards, albeit for 2011. That's nearly 14 percentage points better for Quest than D150 5-8th graders as a whole, of which only 4 points is reasonably due to the fact that Quest has fewer students with IEPs.

Yet again proving that you can FOIA all the data you want, but it's pointless if you can't interpret it (or previously drew your own conclusions).

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, have you seen the 2011 NCLB scores for Quest. It is my understanding that those numbers haven't been publicized yet--and wasn't last year Quest's first year in existence, so how can you know that Quest students exceeded standards? I have the same info that the PJS used--the test scores were on NWEA tests--not at all the same as the NCLB tests.

Jon said...

From the PJStar:

"85 - Percentage of students who tested as proficient in math on the 2011 ISAT exam.

78 - Percentage of students who tested as proficient in reading on the 2011 ISAT exam."

For grades 5-8, the ISAT exams are the tests used for NCLB. Not sure where u get the idea that these are NWEA test scores.

Anonymous said...

"you can FOIA all the data you want, but it's pointless if you can't interpret it" So true!! And there is nothing "free" in the "Freedom" when one bogs down personnel that might otherwise have time to take photo's of actual teachers to incorporate into the school calender. What was the line in Wicked about the corrupt teacher? ........

Sharon Crews said...

HaHaHaHaHa--I guess you have read my comments from last night's board meeting. The person who takes photos (no apostrophe) is not the same person who does FOIAs. The photographer could be out taking photos while the FOIA officer sits with nothing to do. I haven't done a FOIA (until yesterday) for a month, so the FOIA officer had time to take photos for next year's calendar. :)
Jon, I admit I am not sure what is going on with regard to NCLB scores. A friend called the board rooms yesterday to ask if the 2011 scores were availablet yet and was told "no." So where are these scores available. I honestly haven't checked the state website--I will do so after I get home from Harrison Primary passing out books for Look! It's My Book!
The "free" in Freedom of Information Act has nothing to do with money--it has to do with the public's right to know--yes, and even to try to interpret the data or to check on how the public body has manipulated the data.

Sharon Crews said...

Quest Data from the Quest Dashboard that I received on September 27, 2011:
ISAT Math 2011 81%
ISAT Reading 75%
ISAT Science 86%
NWEA Math 85%
NWEA Reading 81%


It is quite possible that Quest has released its own ISAT scores already--however, not much to quibble about, but Quest data does give the 85% figure for NWEA math, not ISAT which is listed as 81%. And 75%, not 78% for Reading ISAT

Sharon Crews said...

I just checked the Illinois Interactive Report Card--there are no 2011 scores, but I do assume that the schools probably have their scores by now--I don't believe District 150 has released the scores, but apparently Quest has.

Anonymous said...

Jon- You are a jerk! You always try to belittle everyone. Get over yourself.

Jon said...

I don't belittle everyone - just people who constantly bitch and moan and most often have no idea what they are talking about.

Read the first sentence of this thread again...and ask yourself, who is belittling whom?

Anonymous said...

But, Jon...your beating up on another person on here does you no favors. She is well-respected because she has the interest of the students of D150 in the forefront...you just like seeing yourself type.

Anonymous said...

"She" has teachers union interests first and foremost - you are only kiddn yourself if you believe otherwise.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, yes, I will respond to your accusations (because sometimes I just enjoy doing so) that I was belittling someone and that I do not know what I'm talking about. This is the opening statement to which you refer, I guess:

Quest's scores are higher because the lottery system somehow yields Quest fewer students with IEP's (the scores that drag District 150's scores down).

In that statement, I did not belittle any humanbeing--I am questioning the selection system. I stated two facts: Quest scores are higher (and by the way I didn't say Quest's NCLB scores are higher) and Quest has fewer students with IEP's. Yes, I assumed a correlation that I can't prove; however, it isn't an absurd assumption.

Where I did ere is in assuming that ISAT scores weren't available.
You accuse me of not knowing that ISAT tests are NCLB tests. My first post makes it very clear that I know the difference between NCLB tests and NWEA tests.

Frankly, I forgot that the ISAT scores were available on the data I received from Quest. However, you state, "Not sure where u get the idea that these are NWEA test scores." I got the idea from Quest because the very official looking document entitled "Quest Dashboard" provides the scores that I provided above--and they do contradict what is in the PJS article--and I can't explain why that is. I don't know if Stewart received the same data that I received or if he was given different data that inadvertently gave the ISAT math scores at 85%, when they are 81%.

The FACT still remains that nobody can tell if these scores show any improvement at Quest because these NCLB scores are the first for Quest. Therefore, they can't be higher than last year's anything.

The kids at Quest might well have scored high on tests they took previously in 150--they may just be good students who performed well in both places.

I have appreciated that of late you have chosen to belittle other bloggers--not just me--so now I know I am in good company.

Anonymous said...

I'm not kidding myself...she endorses unions...she said that, because they built this country, just ask an electrician you can trust because he is a union electrician!

Jon said...

#1 Your statement is a half-truth. Your implication seems to be that IEPs alone explain the difference in scores. I've already shown you how, statistically speaking, that isn't the case.

#2 When you belittle the school and the administration, you are, in various ways, belittling the people who make up the school, who make various decisions. If I were to say the teaching profession has low standards (i.e. the "system" as you say), am I not also in some way belittling teachers who chose that profession?

#3 The PJStar article referenced clearly stated that these were ISAT scores. Only when questioned on it, did you explain that you received your data from a different source.

#4 You said "You accuse me of not knowing that ISAT tests are NCLB tests." Perhaps you should refer to the definition of "accuse", or at least quote for wherein I accused you of that.

Anonymous said...

Somebody has joined this blog just to argue, like always.

Sharon Crews said...

I rest my case--one round is enough.

Anonymous said...

Sharon, I read on peoriatoday, or whatever it is, your talk for last night's board meeting. Thank you for bringing that up. We were always so proud to see our D150 students' pix in the calendar...to use anything but is somehow so wrong!

SharonCrews said...

It was on PeoriaStory.com--Elaine Hopkins generally provides the audio for all audience comments, but she was out of town this week.

Anonymous said...

Jon needs another hobby.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he could play racketball.

Dennis in Peoria said...

I'd love to get Sharon and Jon both on CAPtions to debate their views on education and District 150.

Sharon Crews said...

Dennis, of course, you jest. I don't mind a few jabs on a blog, but I am not a glutton for punishment.

Emerge Peoria said...

I haven't seen a retraction on the statement that 150 will be terminating the contract with Quest in 2015.

If the contract is terminated in 2015, what happens to Quest? Do they become a private charter school?

Sharon Crews said...

Probably no one from Quest read the story--I'm just sure that 150 isn't going to terminate Quest. They have now made too many changes--closed schools, gotten rid of teachers, etc.--now they have no place for 75 more students at each grade level.

Jon said...

Thanks, Dennis. I'd like that, too.

I think it would go something like this:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/2306/saturday-night-live-point-counterpoint-lee-marvin-and-michelle-triola

Anonymous said...

Dennis, can you imagine how many people would tune in for that? That would be a classic!

Sharon Crews said...

Alas, we will never know will we? :)

Anonymous said...

Emerge, I am trying to find information on Quest Charter Academy school report card. Do you know where I can find that? I am also trying to get information on where Quest ranks among all of the other Concept Schools. Any assistance you could offer would be appreciated.

Jon said...

School report cards for all Illinois schools will be released tomorrow on the following website:

http://iirc.niu.edu/Default.aspx

Concepts schools are in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. Because of different standards in each state (such as different achievement tests), I don't think it's possible to see how any of the schools rank against each other (not that test scores are the only way to "rank" a school)- other than between schools within the same state.

Dennis in Peoria said...

Sharon, I was not jesting. It is a serious offer to you and Jon (and 1other person who wants to join in), to be Andre Bohannon's guests on their take on District 150.

Even though we do the "Remarkable Times" edition every other month for Dist. 150, we are open to allow other folks to come on with their issues, as long as they are facts, and not unverifiable rumors or gossip.

(BTW, Remarkable Times # 5 airs Wednesday 5 pm & Midnight Comcast Cable 22: Focus on IB Expansion into Primary Schools)

I have met you, Sharon, but I have never met Jon.

Sharon Crews said...

You weren't jesting, but neither was I, Dennis. :) Writing is my medium--TV is not, so I'll stick with that and that 5 minutes at board meetings.
Also, if I were (and I won't) to appear it would not be in a debate format and it wouldn't be with Jon. I have decided rightly or wrongly that Jon has no real interest in District 150--he just likes to play the dozens. I don't think that would be productive. I would gladly sit down with anyone (not on TV, sorry) to have back and forth dialogue about how to fix District 150's problems. Better yet I would prefer to see the "players"--current teachers and administrators and parents have some honest discussions--not just for the TV camera (and without impunity).

Jon said...

Oh, I enjoy the verbal sparring, and I recognize that some people can't see past the barbs. Sharon, like many others, frequently hears only what she wants to hear, often preconceiving disagreements that don't exist.

This is also symptomatic of the polarization problem we have that has grown much worse over time. It's easier to dismiss the person than to confront what they are saying. All the more when you limit your sphere of influence to like-minded people.

D150 has more than its share of problems and some are self-inflicted to be sure. I am quite sure Sharon has what she believes are D150s bests interests in mind. I also believe that there is a more effective way to work towards a common goal, and that certain efforts only make the goals more difficult to attain than less.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, to thine ownself be true: Your "It's easier to dismiss the person than to confront what they are saying" fits you to a tee.
Anyway I have yet to hear any solutions coming from you--and I have yet to learn of anything you have done to further the cause of public education, in general, or in District 150, in particular. Now you have removed yourself from the area and have, for sure, become a Sunday morning quarterback. And statistics aren't solutions.
Also, when I agree with you I say so--you may say that others perceive disagreements where they don't exist--I've rarely read comments stating you agree with anyone--you seem to believe you are the source of all wisdom. You come to the blogs to contradict.

Jon said...

SUNDAY morning quarterback? Thanks, Sharon, for acknowledging the impact you think I have :)

As for the "fits you to a tee" - I acknowledge that I do dismiss much of what you say. However, it's precisely because I have looked closely at WHAT you say and often found your claims to be of little merit. The example of IEPs being THE reason why Quest scores are higher discussed above in this string is a perfect case in point. I disagreed with that not because it was you who said it (that was merely a clue) but because I investigated further and found it to be incorrect.

As for "yet to hear any solutions", again, you hear only what you want to hear. I have explained many times that I believe decision-making should be pushed down to those with the most direct impact. (for example, schools should be able to create the curriculum the best meets the needs of the students who attend - with certain limits of course, rather than it be decided from above) That decision-making includes the ability to reward teachers who are most effective and dismiss those who are failing. So, yes, I don't stand with the union on the issue of tenure and similar standardize pay issues. That's not to say getting rid of tenure will fix things - it won't automatically - but with it, schools and principals are handcuffed to a certain extent, limiting the ability to make improvements.

Similarly, I support charter schools - again, there is no silver bullet, but it is a step in the right direction. Perhaps it's not that you don't "hear" me offering solutions, but simply that you don't agree with the suggestions.

Lastly, I don't need to toot my horn about what I have done that you may or may not think has or will "further the cause of public education, in general, or in D150". I am confident in my own actions. More importantly, I am confident that I haven't done anything to worsen the situation.

Anonymous said...

Jon, you are full of it...Sharon absolutely has the best interest of Peoria's children in mind. Notice it doesn't say what you said..."D150 best interests in mind"...because she has been in Peoria Public School classrooms and understands that it IS about the students.

Hearing that our super intends to leave after 3 years is concerning...what happens to all the NC people? Does anybody hear the big "whoosh" as they head out of Peoria and follow in her footsteps?

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, please, please clarify how you could possibly know why Quest scores are higher and, especially, why the lower number of students with IEPs could not possibly be the reason. When we're talking about test scores, the ability level of students is probably the most decisive factor. Also, since last year was Quest's first and since NCLB testing is based on accumulated knowledge, high-scoring students at Quest undoubtedly entered the school with a strong academic background and performance level. Until Quest is K-8, that will always be the case.

Sharon Crews said...

My post was lost in cyberspace--I did, of course, keep up the dialogue with Jon--but too lazy to repeat it--which is undoubtedly a good thing.

Jon said...

Sharon, I explained earlier how, based on the scores reported by the PJStar and historical performance gaps of IEP students, the number of IEP students at Quest couldn't explain the full differential in test scores between Quest and D150. Since that time, the 2011 school report cards are out and the Illinois Interactive Report Card website allows you to drill down on certain subgroups as well as to compare schools and districts.

You can look at Quest, then drill down on test scores by seeing the scores of non-IEP students. In 2011 the percentage of Quest non-IEP students who met/exceeded standards on the ISAT was 77% for reading and 84% for math.

You can look at D150 and compare overall test scores of non-IEP students as well. However, because the scores shown for the district are for all grades, in order to make an apples to apples comparison with D150, you have to take the average of the 5th, 6th and 7th grades only. The non-IEP students in D150 for those three grades is 75 for reading and 81 for math, which is lower than at Quest. Thus, since we've excluded the IEP students in showing test results, and Quest students still score higher, it's clear IEP students alone do not explain the difference.

As I've explained before, although Quest students are chosen by lottery, students/parents have to first apply. Generally speaking, students who aspire to do more/better and are probably likelier to apply, and/or those who apply are probably likelier to have more involved parents. That may explain some of the reasons for the higher scores, though obviously I don't have data that could prove that point (and thus I wouldn't say things like "undoubtedly".)

However, there is one more factor that generally has an impact on student achievement, that was more different between Quest and D150 than I previously thought - low income. You might want to isolate that characteristic and see how much that factor explains the difference in test scores.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I don't disagree--all those factors do play a role in Quest's higher scores. Also, one important thing to remember that it isn't a level playing field for all kinds of reasons, and for Quest to take sole credit for higher scores is just not plausible. For the same reason, a third grade teacher (the year students are tested) shouldn't be given all the credit for her/his students' high test scores (or blame for the low scores). Same goes for high school junior teachers. NCLB has fostered the idea that credit goes to the teachers who taught the students in the year of the test.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I responded--even agreed, but my comment was lost in cyberspace. Just don't have time to repeat.