Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education
5Aug/12Off

Journal Editorial: “Simplify A-F Grading Formula To Get Buy-In”

The Albuquerque Journal published an editorial on August 4th, titled "Simplify A-F Grading Formula To Get Buy-In." CESE is mentioned prominently!

 

 

 

 

 

When a group of scientists and mathematicians are left scratching their heads, it’s unlikely parents and some educators will be able to decode the state’s new A-F grading system, either.

The nonpartisan Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education has been promoting science education and literacy in New Mexico since 1997. It recently undertook the challenge of trying to replicate the grading formula designed by the state Public Education Department to rank schools.

It couldn’t, partly because it didn’t have all of the data the PED used, but the group concluded the formula is too complex, adds together incompatible elements and is so sensitive to small changes that unreasonable grade swings from one year to the next can result.

“We’re not talking about a bunch of schmucks here who haven’t seen this stuff before,” said M. Kim Johnson, a retired physicist and an author of the report. “We think it’s all probably above board, but we don’t think the average person, school principal or superintendent could conceivably follow it.”

Please, click through and read the entire editorial.

Thank you, Albuquerque Journal!

31Jul/12Off

CESE in the News, II: Albuquerque Journal, July 31, 2012

A major article by Hailey Heinz appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on Tuesday, July 31st, on page C-1 (Metro & NM), with the title " Group: Grading System Too Complex."  Also, a sound bite by our own Kim Johnson was selected by the Journal as Tuesday's "Quote of the Day."

The copyrighted article goes into detail on CESE's findings regarding the A-F grading system, and on its interactions with the state legislature.

 

The Heinz article notes that

A nonpartisan group of scientists and mathematicians says the state’s new A-F school grading system is too complex for most people to understand, including principals and superintendents.

The group also believes the system adds elements together that aren’t compatible, and that the formula’s sensitivity to small changes results in unreasonable grade changes from one year to the next.

In addition, Heinz writes:

M. Kim Johnson, past president and an author of the report, said Rep. Rick Miera, D-Albuquerque, asked the group to examine the A-F school grading system and try to replicate it. Johnson said the group has testified before the Legislative Education Study Committee in the past and did so recently to present its findings.

...

Those findings were cited by Democrats in the Legislature, who sent out a news release last week expressing “deep concern” over the credibility of the A-F grades. Those quoted in the news release included Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque; Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City; and Miera.

and continues:

The coalition contends it is mathematically inappropriate to add these [different] measures [of growth and current standing]  together. According to the report, such addition is “something like adding oranges and cows to derive pickup trucks. The result is not obviously meaningful.”

... Doing so also is part of the reason for dramatic changes in grades.

Those changes have come under scrutiny, as some school grades went from “B” to “F,” and vice versa, between preliminary January grades and final July grades.

The full article in appears in the Wednesday Journal.