Has Roger Rowe Really Improved Dramatically?

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During the recent Candidate Forum, current school board member and also candidate for re-election Kali Kim told the audience that she was concerned about the results obtained by our middle school students in math. Following the October 6th board meeting, the RSF Review quoted board member John Tree as saying: “It is broadly agreed by the board and the community that our math standards have fallen and it has drifted away from where we once were and we all have an urgency to improve the capabilities of our students, in middle school math in particular”.

In her October 25, 2022 RSF Post article, school board candidate Kali Kim changes her tune and touts the “dramatic improvements” at our school. So what changed in the past couple of weeks? Have we received new test results that we didn’t have before, and are those results dramatically better than before? The answer to both questions is no – the same SBAC results that elicited the concerns of candidate Kim, the school board and our entire community a few weeks ago, are suddenly great cause for celebration. Or so would Mrs. Kim like us to believe, who is congratulating the middle school students, teachers and staff, and obviously herself, for moving up in rank among schools in California. As many of you already know, candidate Kim has taken every opportunity to remind us that our school was the only public school open during the pandemic, but now she has no qualms bragging that we beat so many of these schools in rankings…while they were closed!

Putting that aside, what candidate Kim fails to mention though, is that despite our rise in rankings, our SBAC scores are actually down between 2018-2019 (Pre-pandemic) and 2021-2022 (Pandemic) for both 7th and 8th Math grades, despite our school being open. The same website, SchoolDigger.com which Mrs. Kim quotes, shows the following:

  • A 13.8% drop for 8th Grade Math, with scores dropping from 83.3% of students Proficient in 2018-19, to only 69.6% Proficient in 2021-22.
  • A 2.6% drop for 7th Grade, with scores dropping from 82.1% to 79.5%.

The only improvement was recorded by 6th graders, which according to the data, moved up 11.8% from 76.4% to 88.2% — please see full results below:

Click here for a pdf of the above info from School Digger.

The recent “Data Presentation 21-22 – Middle School Math”, by our Administration confirms that trend and shows that our middle school students have performed better in every year prior, since 2016, with the exception of 2020-2021.

  • In the school year 2016-2017 – 82% of our middle schoolers were Proficient in Math
  • In 2017-2018 – 81% Proficient
  • In 2018-2019, again 81% Proficient
  • In 2020-2021, despite our school being fully open the entire year, only 70% of middle school students were Proficient in Math.

Please see slide below:

Click here for a PDF version of the above chart.

So let’s now analyze the SBAC data presented by our Administration, so we can understand where our middle school really stands. The slide below (Source: Final Board Presentation – SBAC and iReady 22-23) depicts the middle school SBAC Math tests for school year 2021-2022 (please see attached presentation for full detail):

  • 88% of our sixth graders achieved Proficiency
  • 80% of our seventh graders achieved Proficiency
  • 70% of our eighth graders did the same

That represents a total of 79% of our middle school students who achieved Proficiency in Math, while the other 21% did not achieve Proficiency – 184 students proficient, 48 students not proficient.

Source: Final Board Presentation – SBAC and iReady 22-23

Candidate Kim now portrays these results as a dramatic improvement all of a sudden, but the sad reality is that 21% of our middle school students did not achieve their Math Proficiency benchmarks:

  • 12% of sixth graders – 9 students
  • 20% of seventh graders – 16 students
  • 30% of our eighth graders – 23 students

As the data shows, the closer they get to high school age, the less proficient they are in Math, which explains the frustration expressed by 200 plus parents who signed my petition to reform our school programs.

So, does this qualify as “dramatic improvement” folks? Please ask the parents of 48 middle school students who have to figure out how to bring their children up to Proficiency, what they think of that so-called dramatic improvement. They are all concerned that our school doesn’t sufficiently prepare their children to enter high school, let alone enable them to continue on to the college of their dreams.

So before we go around patting ourselves on the back on what a great job we’ve done, let’s not forget that there are too many children whose needs are not being met at our school currently, and that needs to change ASAP. Every one of our students should meet Proficiency levels, and anything else should be unacceptable. Let’s be a little more ambitious, shall we?