WFPL’s Devin Katayama posted an article about the new Writing Program Reviews for Unbridled Learning school accountability yesterday.
These are the same reviews I raised questions about four days ago.
Per Katayama, the Kentucky Department of Education claims that “there is no true comparison” between writing score results from KPREP and the results from the new Writing Program Audits.
Well, that is going to be a very hard thing to sell. I don’t think many will accept a school awarding itself high scores for its writing program when the students score low on various measures of writing.
The credibility issue intensifies when you consider, as I pointed out in my earlier blog, that Louisville’s premier magnet high school only graded itself “Needs Improvement” in its Writing Program Review. Meanwhile, Louisville’s troubled Western High School (named a Persistently Low-Achieving School – now relabeled a “Priority School” – in the very first round of the process to identify Kentucky’s lowest-performing schools) claims it has a perfect score in its Writing Program Review and earned a “Distinguished” classification.
By the way, I ran a standard statistical test called a correlation to see if there was any sort of relationship between the Writing Program Review scores and the scores each school got for KPREP Language Mechanics. There was a near zero correlation, which means the way schools graded themselves for their writing programs has absolutely no relationship to whether students are actually learning writing mechanics like grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Clearly, there is a real credibility issue here.
I suggest that the department needs to do some auditing first before sticking its neck out too far to protect the status quo with this program. A good place to start is figuring out why Dupont Manual thinks its writing program needs work while Western High thinks its program is already perfect.