And the winner is ….

I admit, it was a trick question, for several reasons.

(1) I noticed this morning that I had accidentally inverted the NCE and percentile ranks in several places, which made some bars taller or shorter than they should have been. They are now fixed below, and I apologize, because it made the entire guessing game extremely difficult.

(2) If you believe Michelle Rhee’s boasts about how she achieved educational test gains, then, if you look at all of those graphs, there is NOT A SINGLE ONE of those schools that shows CTBS reading scores going from the 13th percentile in the 2nd grade in 1994 to over the 90th percentile in the third grade in 1995. And there is no school in the list that shows students going from the very bottom in 2nd grade from 1993 to the very top in 1994, either.


Which is not surprising to me. I would bet a large sum of money that nobody can document that sort of thing ever happening before. (Even though I would love to LOSE the bet!)

(3) Apparently, the only conclusion is that this part of Michelle Rhee’s official resume is purely fictional. At least concerning the CTBS reading scores.

Rhee’s school was school C, where reading scores went steadily down for Rhee’s first two years, and then went up a bit during the third year, but not even to the 50th percentile in reading.

Here are the graphs, again, with the schools named*.


*”C-GroupA” means an average for seven regular Baltimore public elementary schools that were designated by the makers of the study as sort of an experimental control group. They are Madison, Park Heights, Pimlico, M. Brent, Cecil, Liberty, and Washington.

“C-Group B” was a second control group of regular Baltimore public schools: Templeton, Park Heights, Pimlico, Rosemont, A. Hamilton, Liberty, and Washington.

(I can only guess as to why some schools are in both regular-school comparison groups.)

All of the other named schools were in the Edison Tesseract/EAI program.

I know essentially nothing about Baltimore or its school system. Some of my readers might.

Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. I’m a little confused… if there were two classes of 3rd graders in 1995, and one had 0% proficiency and the other had 90%, then the average would be about 45%, right?


    • No, you can’t add percentiles in that manner. You CAN do that for NCEs, however. There is no such thing as 0th percentile, either. What’s more, Rhee says she was team-teaching with another teacher, which I think (I’m not positive — am going to contact the authors of the study) means that the two classes worked together and scored “high” together.


      • Ah, yes. I’m stuck thinking in NCLB-style proficiency numbers.


      • “Team-teaching” could mean any number of things. It could mean that two classes were combined and that both teachers worked together, or it could mean that one teacher was mentored by the other (meaning that the mentee was either a junior teacher or a student teacher), or it could mean that it was a mix of special education students and general education students, which would require a special ed teacher and a general ed teacher in the same room. There might be other, more vernacular, definitions out there, too. I doubt Michelle Rhee even knows what she meant by it.


      • Reading what she said in a recent interview, it seems like she and the other 2nd, later third, grade teacher worked as a team. So whatever they did, they did together, and they were responsible for the catastrophic decline as well as for the later, modest increase — an increase that seems to have been effected by getting rid of nearly 50% of the cohort.


    • What’s more, Tom, if what she told Harry Jaffe is correct, then she and the other 3rd grade teacher were working in lock-step.


  2. Our ranking system for most states is as..follows we take all the schools that have test scores for Math and English…We take the average Math score across all the grades and the average English score across all the grades and add them together.. Why isnt a specific school included on the ranking list? only ranks schools that are designated as Regular elementary middle or high schools by the U.S.


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