Tag: test scores

Boys’ Behavior Predicts Grades

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boys vs girls
credit: Gluckstein.com

It’s official: Boys generally get worse grades than girls not because they know less, but because of their behavior, say researchers in a new study.

The research, led by Christopher Cornwell of the University of Georgia, followed almost 6,000 students in grades one through six. It evaluated grades of boys and girls and compared them to standardized test scores. The findings?

Maryland SAT Scores Down (Barely), AP Scores Up (Slightly)

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What are we  to do? Maryland students’ average SAT score slipped by five points on the 2,400-point test last year. Who’s to blame?

Well, with 1,800 points up for grabs in the SAT (the lowest possible score in each section is 200), an average drop of five points is pretty minuscule. If the test were scored out of 100, it would be a loss of a little more than a quarter of a point. So, I don’t know, maybe a butterfly sneezed in West Virginia, or something.

22 Baltimore Schools Begin the Year Without Permanent Principals

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Baltimore Schools Chief Andres Alonso is either tough or vindictive, depending on your point of view. Either way, Alonso’s policy of demoting and firing principals of schools with stalled or falling test scores (as well as allegations of cheating) despite satisfactory evaluations has led to 22 city schools beginning the school year without permanent principals.

The “Chalkboard Ceiling” in Maryland’s Public Schools

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Baltimore schools, which under CEO Andrés Alonso had been steadily improving their Maryland State Assessment scores since 2007, have started to stagnate and in some subjects drop in performance, results suggest. This means harder work for teachers and administrators, especially in the city, where schools are lagging behind the state average.

Four Challenges for the New Baltimore County Superintendent

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Joe Hairston, superintendent of Baltimore County schools for over a decade, announced this week that he’s leaving. Are you interested in his job?

The pros:  while teachers in the County have some of the lowest salaries in the state, the superintendent’s salary last year was the highest in Maryland. (Last year, Hairston made $303,000, thanks to his long tenure.) And Baltimore County schools consistently rank near the top of statewide assessments of test scores and graduation rates.

Not so fast, though:  The job is tough, and getting tougher. Here are a few of the challenges the next superintendent will have to face:

  • Pockets of wealth — and pockets of poverty. Being charged with a district that draws from such a diverse economic pool means that the next superintendent needs to be sensitive to issues of equity.
  • The recession. According to Hank Gmitro, whose firm helped several Maryland counties search for new superintendents, districts like Baltimore Country are looking for “candidates who want to make a difference and understand the issues around equity: ‘How do you get everyone the resources they need?’ And it has become more difficult in hard financial times.”

Que Sera, Sera. Test Results Will Be What they Will Be…

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When the PSAT scores came home earlier this year that envelope was opened as fast as any birthday present. I’m not sure, really, what the results actually mean. They say the scores are rough predictors of future SAT scores. So, for instance, if you earn a 200 on your combined PSAT, you can expect to earn about a 2000 on your combined SATs. 2400 is the Holy Grail.
There are, however, some variables, they say. Your student will be months older when he or she takes the actual SAT (for the first time). He or she will have had those additional months of substantive instruction. And, very importantly, he or she might have taken an SAT prep course. Omni Test, Horizons, Kaplan, Sylvan, you name it. We willingly pay the small fortune for these courses, in hopes of helping our children improve their SAT scores by 100, 200, some say even as much as 400 points. These can be life-changing numbers for a kid whose GPA alone won’t earn that letter of admission. Or so we believe.
Oddly, we heard no comparisons. There was no chat about who in the class had done well and who had not. Something good has happened with our children, and they have learned to respect each other’s privacy. Or, perhaps they have learned to protect themselves. If you are not asking, then you are also not telling. Maybe they have begun to mature or evolve to that place where we adults now stand, where your position relative to others in the professional world is not something you talk about with polite company—it is a subject reserved for you and your supervisor, or you and your spouse or partner or closest friend.
 
For most of us, our kids have also taken the SAT by now…  Scores are in, and I can tell you the numbers do not always go up from PSAT to SAT.  I think the truth is, “test day” may be as important as the number of prep classes your child has taken.  Our daughter took SATs on the Saturday following mid-term exams.  She was fried.  No matter she had learned all the tricks for easy elimination on the multiple choice format, no matter that she understands the quadratic equation.  She was tired, and a tired kid is not a good test taker.  They don’t really focus on these common sense pieces to test prep at the fee-for-service operations.  We know she will take the SAT again – most kids do.  But now we know it is not all about the prep course (although we remain hopeful that our investment is not a waste!).  Tests are tests are tests, and sometimes your teenager performs to ability, and sometimes not.  
So, congratulations, I say! Whatever that PSAT or SAT score was, I say “good job!” As we do for ourselves in real life, I will encourage our kids to try harder, do better if they can the next time, and learn something. But, as in real life, we must acknowledge where we stand right now. Not everyone will get that 2400 on the SAT, and not everyone can be the MVP at work. For all you overachievers out there, a disappointing score might spur you to action. But for the regular kids, I say love yourself. The world will meet you where you are.    

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