“Value-Added” measurements that follow cohorts show that Rhee-style ‘reform’ doesn’t work

When you follow a cohort of students through the grades for the past four years, it becomes very, very obvious that whatever Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson and Jason Kamras have been doing in DCPS doesn’t work.

This assumes that DC-CAS scores actually mean something, which they might not.

For the most part, the longer these groups of students have stayed in DCPS, in general, the lower their reading and math scores. Which means, that if one were to do a “value-added” analysis of the results of following the reform efforts of Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, the Walton family, and others in the regular DC public schools, then it’s obvious that their methods are not working at all.

There are some increases in the charter schools, but nothing like the 13th-percentile-to-90th-percentile fairy tale that Michelle Rhee likes to peddle.

And it’s also possible that a lot of the changes are simply due to out-and-out cheating or else are caused by the fact that the tests don’t measure anything of significance at all…


Let’s look at the graphs. I first start with the age group, or cohort, that finished the 5th grade in 2011:

This cohort doesn’t have any scores for 2008 for the simple reason that the DC-CAS isn’t given in the 2nd grade, and that’s where most of those students were enrolled during that year. However, we do have percentages of students scoring ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ in both math and reading for grades 3, 4, and 5, in years 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively.

If you look at the table and graph above, you can see that the pass rates for the kids in the regular DC public schools (shown with solid navy blue and red lines) have gone down a bit over that time. In reading, they fell from 49% “passing” in reading in the 3rd grade in 2009 to 46% ‘passing’ in reading in the 5th grade in 2011. In math, the decline was a bit steeper: they went from 49% to 43%. Not severe, but certainly an indication that IMPACT and the ‘Teaching and Learning Framework’ haven’t been wildly successful.

In the charter schools (shown by the purple and green dotted lines), the opposite trend occurred. As a matter of fact, back in 2009, lower percentages of 3rd-grade charter school students were ‘passing’ in reading and math than were doing so in the regular public schools. Since that time, the pass rates in reading for this cohort in the charter schools rose from 40% to 45%, almost catching up with the regular DCPS students. In math, the pass rates in the charter schools for this cohort of students have risen from 37% to 49% in the 5th grade, which is where the regular public school students were two years ago.

Now let’s look at the group of students who finished grade 6 in 2011.

Once again the charter school cohort is now a bit ahead of the regular public school group, whereas 3 years ago, the DCPS students were passing the DC-CAS at higher rates. The biggest gains have been in math among the charter students. and the biggest losses were in math among the regular public school students, dropping from a high of 51% of them passing to this year’s 41%.

Now let’s look at the group that just finished the 7th grade:

Here we see the first case where regular DCPS students in one of these cohorts have increased their pass rates significantly in the past year, though the reading pass rate for them is still a bit lower than it was 2 years ago. However, the charter school students who just finished the 7th grade have seen some remarkable increases in pass rates.

More cohorts tomorrow.

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If the true agenda of Rhee/Henderson/Kamras is to completely destroy the DCPS and replace it with charter schools, then they must be pleased with these results, despite any half-hearted protestations made for public consumption.


    • You bring up a good point. In that regard, these educational Deformers objectively join company with right-wing religious nuts like Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson, the Amway billionaire family, as well as many of Michelle Bachmann’s mentors, all of whom openly state that they want to destroy the American public school system.

      This is reminding me more and more of the utter insanity that brought on Prohibition of the sale, purchase, production, or consumption of alcohol in the US from about 1918 to 1933. Prohibition was actually made into an amendment to the US constitution! The entire idea was crazy, and was pushed by a small focus group that never represented a majority of the population. (Not that I’m everybody get drunk all the time! I know the bad effects of getting drunk, from first-hand experience and from the exampes of relatives who died early because they drank too much. But there are not too many beverages, other than cold, pure water, that are better-tasting than the occasional glass of beer or wine or a mixed drink. I also claim that if used in moderation, they can enliven conversations among friends and even strangers, to no ill effect.

      I’m not sure about the research that claims that one or two glasses of red wine per day actually makes you healthy. In fact, my son (who studies health issues both extensively and intensely) tells me that those studies’ results are skewed out of any relationship with the real truth, because of how the issue was framed. People who are really sick for a long time generally don’t drink much alcohol – at least while they are sick, though some of them used to drink and start up drinking again when and if they get well – unless they are really serious alcoholics, in which case they keep right on drinking hard while they are sick… Now, consider surveying those three groups:

      * Seriously sick people who therefore have stopped drinking — and some of them will die because of their sickness; * alcoholics who drink heavily, with all of the known bad effects on liver function and digestive system (and often, especially with heavy beer drinkers) problems with obesity and diabetes, etc. * healthy people who drink moderately and who will on the average outlive the other two groups, perhaps by a decade or so

      If those are your three groups of interviewees, and if you have accurate data about their alcohol habits and their life expectancy, your study is still skewed: naturally the moderate drinkers will appear to do better. But this leaves out those who for religious or other reasons hardly drink at all (Adventists, some Baptists, many Muslims and Jews (though not all), and LDS followers come to mind). But are there other things about those groups that I just named that will make them have longer or shorter lives? More/less income, more/less eating and exercising properly [whatever it is that that means — yet another topic for debate], belonging to a group seen by the majority as inferior/superior, etc etc etc…

      Leaving all of that aside: think of all of the insane side-effects of US Prohibition: (1) massive illegal smuggling and violations of the borders of the US; (2) utter corruption of most police forces; (3) the rise of organized crime and its evil influence over all sectors of society, because there was lots of money to be made in marketing illegal booze; (4) tens or hundreds of thousands of people sickened or dead because of honest-to-goodness poisons dissolved in the illegal alcohol (lead, arsenic, methyl alcohol, insecticides, etc etc) (5) a huge rise in the level of hypocrisy and corruption of politicians.

      After the Depression hit the US very hard, people began to see quite clearly that Prohibition was part of the problem, and not the solution; it was repealed in 1932 much faster than it took to make it into law n the first place.

      I hope that some time soon, a majority of the people will see that the current fad of Educational Rhee-formism, or Ed Deform, which has now been in power for at least 10 years, is just as crazy.



  2. Excellent analysis Guy.


  3. Also, Guy, isn’t it amazing that no one askes Miss Rhee what happened to those 10% or her students (7 in number ) who didn’t make it to the 90th percentile.


  4. Could you explain a little about what you mean when you say “Educational Rheeformism which has now been in power for at least 10 years.”? I read that as saying the enemy has won, and quite some time ago, at that! Is that what you mean?


    • Yes. NCLB has been the law of the land for about 10 years now. People like Duncan, Bloomberg, Klein, and Gates have been helping destroy the public schools for at least that length of time.


  5. […] by Guy Brandenburg for GFBrandeburg blog.  Read the entire post here. “When you follow a cohort of students through the grades for the past four years, it becomes […]


  6. here’s some data breakdown I put up at Eduwonk, only to be attacked by one of Rhee’s fawning suck-ups:

    And again:
    Washington DC
    Achievement Gap of students as they progress through the school system
    Results from DC-CAS
    Gr Year RDG M #AA #W
    Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297
    Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285
    Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250

    Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277
    Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269
    Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215

    Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212
    Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196
    Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165

    Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181
    Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140
    Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146

    Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114
    Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146

    Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134
    Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139


    • Interesting. We could now extend your table through 2011. I didnt think to put in the # of white and black kids.


    • I have now just done that. I was somewhat surprised that the percentages of each cohort that are black or are white remain pretty constant as they pass through DCPS! I hope this table is legible.

      column headings: Grade Year reading proficiency rate, all kids in grade math prof rate, all kids in grade # african-american kids in grade # white kids in grade total # kids in grade % of grade that is Af-Am % of grade that is white

      Gr3 2008 44 52 2939 297 3735 78.7% 8.0% Gr4 2009 45 43 2636 285 3411 77.3% 8.4% Gr5 2010 51 54 2368 250 3087 76.7% 8.1% gr6 2011 40 41 1946 202 2504 77.7% 8.1% Gr4 2008 49 51 3010 277 3729 80.7% 7.4% Gr5 2009 49 45 2686 269 3390 79.2% 7.9% Gr6 2010 57 53 2109 215 2704 78.0% 8.0% gr7 2011 43 49 2042 188 2619 78.0% 7.2% Gr5 2008 48 50 2870 212 3508 81.8% 6.0% Gr6 2009 46 52 2109 196 2622 80.4% 7.5% Gr7 2010 51 51 2044 165 2518 81.2% 6.6% gr8 2011 42 50 2079 173 2603 79.9% 6.6% Gr6 2008 50 52 2656 181 3217 82.6% 5.6% Gr7 2009 56 50 2208 140 2665 82.9% 5.3% Gr8 2010 52 49 2208 146 2695 81.9% 5.4% Gr7 2008 56 55 2415 114 2575 93.8% 4.4% Gr8 2009 54 58 2297 146 2733 84.0% 5.3% gr10 2011 44 39 2666 159 3258 81.8% 4.9% Gr8 2008 53 60 2886 134 3371 85.6% 4.0% Gr10 2010 51 53 2124 139 2757 77.0% 5.0%

      On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 6:45 AM, Guy Brandenburg wrote: > Interesting. We could now extend your table through 2011. I didnt > think to put in the # of white and black kids. >


  7. Wow. That table is completely illegible. Sorry. I will try again.


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