Rockwood School District parents still are trying to make sense of Tuesday's newly issued 2012 U.S. News & World Report national ranking of best schools. Do the answers lie in algebraic equations, literally?
When only one of the Rockwood's four high schools, Marquette, showed up on the list, Eureka-Wildwood Patch dug into data available regarding how U.S. News staffers approached crunching the data.
See related Patch news flash articles from early Tuesday afternoon:
Eureka-Wildwood Patch Facebook users shared both types of reactions to the news. One person who posts as Frau Huling said the results were believable because there were many other schools better than Rockwood's high schools. Rockwood parent posted her kids had great learning experiences in Rockwood, and she believed there are just too many variables in the U.S. News data to be able to have truly accurate nationwide rankings.
Nancy Elfrank Nethington stated that because the academic indicators were remarkably similar, it's strange the other Rockwood high schools aren't included in the ranking.
Nancy Petty Bengtson said it is one more indication all "rankings" should be taken with a tablespoon of salt! "They each measure differently, report differently, and the statistics differ if the entire school is tested. Sometimes one or two students who have severe learning challenges can change the entire picture. Each school is different for each student, and they shouldn't be lumped together."
One Rockwood parent's immediate reaction was major concern over how low the algebra-related scores were for Rockwood high schools in this listing, highlighting that 50 percent of the state average wasn't likely good enough for future math-related student successes.
remarked in the comments section of the : "I don't need a U.S. News Report & World Report to tell me whether Eureka High School is an excellent school or not, I already knew that it is!"
Pam Lieber remarked the ranking results are: "NOT surprising! I truly believe one of the major problems Rockwood has is not facing some of their major issues head-on and the refusal to believe or admit they are are even having any issues."
noticed Eureka High had a higher college readiness than Marquette, and only 1/10 of a percent less on algebra and English, and a lower student ratio as well. "This tells me this ranking is bias and means absolutely nothing."
indicated she thought the point of the new criteria seems to be saying that high schools "need to educate ALL students. It seems that at times, it is very hard to be a 'regular' student in Rockwood. All students are not above average or SSD (Special School District)."
By approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, staffers had accentuated portions of the data themselves. In this new ranking, all four of Rockwood’s high schools exceeded the minimum requirement for the college readiness index. Using Advanced Placement (AP) test data as the measurement for college readiness, schools had to achieve a score of at least 16.3, according to the update posted on Rockwood's website.
Rockwood’s high schools more than doubled this minimum college readiness index, they informed parents.
Along with this measurement, schools were evaluated based on student performance on the Missouri Assessment Program’s (MAP) Algebra I and English II tests. All of Rockwood’s high schools scored above the state average in English II.
The One Difference?
Marquette scored above the state average in Algebra I, while Eureka, Lafayette and Rockwood Summit scored near the state average. So the proof does appear to be in mathematical equations, afterall.
Lieber remarked in the second Patch article: "Algebra I scores are dismal!! 50%....is absolutely pathetic! This should be concerning to many parents! No way to spin that....the scores are the scores! The 'wonderful' discovery math curriculum is to blame....Everyday and Connected math."College Readiness Algebra I Proficiency
English II Proficiency
Eureka High 47.5
near MO average
above MO average Lafayette High 42.1 2.6
near MO average 3.3
above MO average Marquette High 43.8 2.7
above MO average 3.3
above MO average
Rockwood Summit High 41.5 2.5
near MO average 3.0
above MO average
Based on this methodology, Marquette received a silver medal from U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked fifth in the state.
“Our teachers and staff are committed to preparing students for success in high school and beyond, and we are proud of the work we have made in the area of college readiness,” said Rockwood Superintendent Bruce Borchers in the update. “While this ranking focuses on MAP test data, Rockwood’s Vision Scorecard provides a more comprehensive look at student performance. Factors such as student attendance, ACT scores, graduation rates and post-graduation plans are key objectives in our assessment of student performance.”
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