Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Graduation Test Results are In!

Check it out - the GHSGT results are in.  Download the pdf at the system's website here. Some highlights to note:

Arabia outscored Chamblee High in every category except Social Studies (of course, Chamblee is not totally a magnet school and Arabia pretty much is). But DeKalb Early College (DECA) outscored them both! Of course, DSA pretty much ran away with the top scores...with 100% pass rates in every category! Although only by a hair, as DECA had 100s in every category except science (only a 96!)

The top-scoring non-magnet schools are Lakeside, Dunwoody, Druid Hills, Redan, Stephenson and Cross Keys!

We did see some falling down of Social Studies test scores especially in our alternative programs. But overall, our high school students seem to be doing very well with the GHSGT.  Good going, everyone!


Anonymous said...

The state's social studies pass rate dropped significantly. I suspect that this was the first GHSGT with the new curriculum. (Look at the state wide drop.)

While DSA and Arabia's scores are impressive, neither has to educate all comers. Dunwoody, et all does and their scores are not particularly different.

Anonymous said...

Some background info that attribute to the significantly high scores....
1. DSA, Arabia and DECA hand pick their students and have the option to send them back to their regular school at any point in the semester. Both DSA and Arabia only harvested high achievers for acceptance. They will always have very high scores.
2. DECA only have about 100 students. I would venture to gues that only about 30-40 students took the test.

Also- the Social Studies Scores dropped signifcantly because the state change the AMO (Annual Measureable Objective) and the test switched to GPS all in the same year. This drop was state-wide. The same thing happened when the state did this with Math, English and Science.

Hope this helps to show that there is a bigger picture than just pass fail. There are a number of variables that factor into a school's pass rate.

Anonymous said...

Great post by Anon 9:12. Check the numbers of how many students took the test at each school, compared to how many students actually attend the school, and you'll find out about another DCSS dirty little secret.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

to Anon @9:12..

Note that the GPS curriculum for Math has/will not affect GHSGT scores until next year. This is because the switch to Math GPS started last year with 9th grade, continued this year with 10th grade, and will be newly implemented next year with 11th graders....the GHSGT test group. Supposedly the test is being revised to reflect GPS implementation , but the state dept. of ed. has not been very forthcoming with information regarding what the "new" test will look like.

I expect scores to fall drastically.

I hope that most schools will not be judged soley by confusing, inconsistent indicators such as GHSGT percentages and AYP "success".

Anonymous said...

Again, when a school is successful, I'm always amazed at why people try to find an excuse instead of the actual reasons: DSA is successful because the students there actually enjoy going to school. They are "hand-selected" based upon their artistic talents, not their academic abilities -- one visit to the school will prove to you that the students are not all the academically elite. Those students work hard to stay where they are because they are allowed to participate in something they love (the same types of programs that are the first to be cut at schools that aren't successful on these tests, but that's another issue altogether).

As for the number of students that are tested, that's a hilarious oversight -- all students there and everywhere take the graduation tests. It's GA law. The grade sizes at DSA at about 60 students, so only that many take the junior level tests. More of an issue is that when two students don't pass in a class that size, the percentage drops almost 4% (talk about a gross misrepresentation. But, 100% pass is exactly that -- 100% passed. Be proud for them; I am.

There is no way I would discount what parents, teachers, and students do at other schools, and I'm really tired of hearing/reading the garbage that is said about DSA. The students at that school were successful on tests this year in spite of the deplorable conditions following their move -- many classes literally occurred in hallways for the first 10 weeks since construction wasn't done. That's not hyperbole but fact -- sitting on the floor in the hallway. I heard no outrage about the treatment of DeKalb's children then.

Let's keep our eye on the ball, people -- I read on here constantly that it's all about the children. Well, these students are DeKalb County children who've worked hard and overcome a great deal to do so. Perhaps their struggles are not the same as other schools, but they are still DeKalb children nonetheless. We can't talk about BOE members who only worry about specific pockets of students when we're doing the same thing. Celebrate their successes rather than use it as a chance to make them targets.

Anonymous said...

"As for the number of students that are tested, that's a hilarious oversight -- all students there and everywhere take the graduation tests. It's GA law."

Anon 9:52, you're so wrong and it's sad. Many students do not take the required tests. And it's not just here where it happens. Administrators have discovered some loopholes, and it's astounding that it occurs but it is, here and all over the country. I had a principal explain to me how it happens. I was shocked but not surprised.

Anonymous said...

I am not wrong about that fact at DSA -- I can't speak for other schools, but I can assure you that all students there take that and all tests.

Cerebration said...

I have only heard of one student who was able to get an ok from the state to get a diploma without passing the GHSGT - and he was in Decatur City Schools. If there's something going on behind the scenes for certain, you should report this to the state ASAP. I've never heard of this skipping the test statement before though - we'll need much more evidence of that.

Also - yes, DSA kids always do very well on all tests. They are always held up as a jewel in the system and I hope that they are finally able to grow the program. There are only about 60 of them in each grade - so the students are able to get a lot of individualized instruction and quality attention - good for them as you say.

However, I still really do have an issue with the per student cost - they have their own principal, counselors, etc... for less than 300 students. Avondale has only about 600 students with their own staff in the same building! Why can you not share staff? This is what has been done with the merger of the High School of Technology into Cross Keys - they now share one principal and admin staff. They are a school with a total of around 1000 now as well. Why is it ok for them and not DSA? Plus - even with only one principal and counseling staff, etc - Cross Keys was able to do very very well on their overall test scores. Since they have a high immigrant population, their English scores are a bit lower though. But good for them - as they take on every single student who walks in the front door.

These GHSGT scores will be very interesting to compare with the SAT scores when those are released. I have a feeling that's where we'll start to see where the rubber hits the road...

Kim Gokce said...

Here are my favorite numbers from the results:

Chamblee 93
Cross Keys 92

Chamblee 93
Cross Keys 90

Ah, to be in the same league as the lauded charter magnet and with only lowly attendance area students ... priceless. To all those uninformed neighbors who assume CK is a poor performing school ... raspberries! :)

Cerebration said...

There are other schools with a very high student cost.

At only 100 students, Destiny Charter Academy of Excellence has their very own principal and staff. $$$ And - if you check the chart, their overall performance dropped by 50 points in SS on the GHSGT this year! (Ironically, the principal here is yet another Callaway!)

Same with DECA - with only a couple of hundred students. They did well on their tests, but then again -- a full staff for less than 200 kids.

How about Gateway Charter? There are less than 200 students here as well -- could they not share principal and staff with DECA? It could help them - as DECA did very well on their tests - but Gateway students dropped several points.

I say this with my own point of view of course, but Lakeside has over 1700 students - who share just 1 principal and 4 counselors.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "They are a school with a total of around 1000 now as well. Why is it ok for them and not DSA?"

I think we all know the answer is politics and advocacy. Some are better at it than others.

"But good for them - as they take on every single student who walks in the front door. "

I have been in halls of CK when new International Student Center transfers are arriving who literally do not understand half of what an English speaking administrator is saying to them - the other students translate for them.

One of the beautiful things about CK is how engaged in "self-help" the students are ... I recently told a junior about a promising project we have lined up for execution this summer to benefit the students and he said: "How can I get involved? Don't spoon feed us these things, make us work for it! We are not children."

What would I give for my son to become a teenager with that kind of attitude ...

Anonymous said...

Kim, only about 1/3 of Chamblee Charter HS students in the junior and senior classes are magnet students. The rest are from the residence area and are NCLB transfer students from schools that have failed to make AYP for multiple years.

As far as I know, DSA is the only "pure" magnet school in the county. But I agree with the earlier poster, we should celebrate the DSA success rate and replicate it by expanding these opportunities to more students, not less.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that, for schools to make AYP, students' math scores must be 516 or better. The passing score for math is 500. These high pass percentage numbers include the students who scored between 500 and 516. This mind-boggling AYP requirement essentially tells students, that although they passed the math grad test, some of their scores weren't high enough to count toward their school's AYP. A school with a very high math pass rate still might not make AYP if a certain percentage of those scores are not 516 or above.

Next year, the passing score of 200 on the GPS scale will be the same for AYP determination.

Anonymous said...

I really wish my kid had been able to take advantage of DECA - small classes, field trips, guest lecturers, daily tutorials AND 11th and 12th grades are at GPC with the possibility of graduating with a HS diploma and an Associate's degree at the same time!!

• Small class size (18 students or fewer)
• Faculty academic advisors for students
• Academic plans charted for a variety of college majors/career plans
• Assistance toward enabling students to earn at least 60 college credits towards an associates degree (grades 9-12)
• Academic assistance toward completing an associate’s degree thus guaranteeing a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities within the University System (provided all other admission criteria are met)
• Access to computer-based personality inventories and career exploration profiles
• Development of Learning Communities designed to provide opportunities for “shared learning” among students
• Participation in a “college success” program designed to make the transition between high school and college smoother
• Guest lecturers
• Cultural excursions
• College Tours, Peer Tutoring, Mentor-Mentee Programs, and Clubs and Activities which serve as outlets.

The only other place you can do this is at the Advanced College at W. Ga, and you have to pay room, board and tuition there...

Alas, my scholar could not go, because we do not meet the financial guidelines and because I went to college, and this school is not for a kid who has a parent who went to college....

Eligible students will be selected from a pool of applicants who meet financial eligibility guidelines as well as those who are the first to attend college in their families.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon: "Kim, only about 1/3 of Chamblee Charter HS students in the junior and senior classes are magnet students."

That's good to know - I've always heard 50% of CCHS enrollment overall was Magnet. Also, I've wondered if attendance area students that are in the Magnet are counted as "magnet" students rather than attendance area students. Whatever the percentages, I would love to see the test results for Chamblee minus magnet student scores. Intuitively, I would expect they would not go up ...

I don't mean to take away from Chamblee's successes and I'm not generally an opponent of magnet programs. I do get my feathers ruffled when I hear area parents trash talk Cross Keys as a "bad" school when it performs (out performs in my opinion) Chamblee in many important ways.

Regarding the more broad point about "specialty" high schools and other programs around DeKalb, the common beef I hear and sympathize with is that we need all of our high schools to have equitable resources. There does seem to be quite a bit of "favoritism" when it comes to allocating basic County resources.

I'm all for creating opportunity for our best and brightest or creative young minds. I'm jealous of Cobb's Pebblebrook HS and would love for DeKalb children to have access to such an elaborate program, incredible facilities, and cracker jack faculty. However, I think that trying to reach such heights before significant reform in our system management is a bit like playing Nero's fiddle.

Cerebration said...

OMG! I had no idea Pebblebrook was that awesome! We have collected SO much construction money, that if spent wisely with a thoughtful long-range plan in mind - we could have built a school just like this already - that old Jim Cherry land is just waiting for some creative minds to revamp it!!!

Kim Gokce said...

When one of the members of the Atlanta Opera Company came by Woodward ES for a workshop for the kids, I checked her bio and found she was a voice coach at this Cobb school ... when I saw the program and the school site, this tax payer got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. We have a long way to go and had better get going ...

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying though Cobb has Pebblebrook, every Cobb High School has had the ability to put on fabulous performing arts performances. In DeKalb, we can't say that.

Though Pebblebrook is fabulous, Cobb spends far less extra $s per student in their magnet programs than DeKalb does. In this round of budget cuts, Cobb had to sadly cut the teachers that don't attract a full classroom of students. If DSA was housed in a school where students outside of the magnet program could choose to take some of the art classes as electives and DSA students could take the classes offered to resident students. (Not to mention shared administration costs.) This would bring the high per pupil cost down dramatically.

Anonymous said...

A question: Why is Tony Eitel "stonewalling" giving me the breakdown of the magnet scores vs the resident scores at Chamblee?

Anonymous said...

I think because the scores of the non-magnet students are dismal. I also wonder, if as they progress through their high school career, if some magnet students end up in classes that decidedly not magnet? We know at least two magnet students who failed math 1 but are still at Chamblee in the magnet program.

When Dr. Brown broke down the SATs, Chamblee's non-magnet students had, if I recall correctly, some of the lowest scores in the system.

themommy said...

DECA was funded by Bill Gate's foundation and came with stipulations. (ie first generation).

However, DCSS blew it and I think the funding is now gone.

One of the criteria for the next superintendent needs to be a proven track record of bringing in private monies to their school system. And perhaps a relationship with the Gates foundation.

See this latest tidbit about Fulton:

Anonymous said...

I don't think the AJC figures of $49,000,000 for Central office personnel are correct. I think $71,000,000 is more accurate. Actually, if we add 20% benefits, then $85,000,000 is even more accurate.

Go to the Georgia DOE website to view the certified administration and support personnel numbers for DCSS. The figures on this page are for DCSS personnel who hold teaching certificates but do not teach. The latest figures are for DCSS school year 2008-2009. Please see the weblink below.

Administration: $49,000,000
DCSS has 534 administration personnel with teaching certificates who average $91,296 each which is about $49,000,000.

Support: $62,000,000
DCSS has 939 support personnel with teaching certificates who average $64,653 each which is about $62,000,000.

Subtract the Assistant Principals and Principals salary: $36,000,000
DCSS has 420+ Principals and Assistant Principals who make a combined total of $36,000,000 (state Salary and Travel audit 2009)

$49,000,000 + $62,000,000 minus $36,000,000 = $75,000,000 for Central Office personnel. Add 20% in benefits, and the figure is $85,000,000 in Central Office salary and benefits.

Anonymous said...

I hate to rain on the parade, I've just never have been a fan of Georgia (a low ranking state by most measures) creating its own test and then saying isn't it wonderful our students are doing well. Scores went up 16 points, on average, when the science test reflected the new curriculum. Every school that had science scores in both '07 and '08 went up. That is nothing short of a back room sleight of hand, it's hard to say what the exact cause was and without an independent test, it's hard to say that students in GA are more proficient in science now than students 5 years ago.

My guess - the test is easier, or scored differently.

I'm all for comparing Cross Keys to Chamblee (nice results!) but I want to know if my kid going to school in Georgia is going to be able to compete with kids from New York, California, Japan, and Sweden.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:16 PM

Because there's a big difference - your "average" magnet student has A's and B's - so they all pass the GHSGT. So you might have to do some math to get an estimate.

A = # of juniors in Magnet
B = # of Juniors total
A+B = Total number that took the test
C = Total Percent Passing
X = Percent passing of the non-=magnet
Assume 100% of group A passes.
You already know the pass rate from the chart.
Use this formula:

(A*100)+(B*X) = C*(A+B)

Again, that's an estimate based on the assumption that 100% of Magnet students passing the test, which in my personal experience is generally true. I don't remember any magnet students failing GHSGT when I was teaching, but there was a lot of crying the day that test results came out.

Someone please check my math, because that wasn't my subject ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think because the scores of the non-magnet students are dismal

Another "dirty little DCSS secret".

Anonymous said...

Just another thought to add for comparing scores -- and my knowledge base here is Lakeside and I'm assuming that some of this happens in Chamblee non magnet, Cross Keys and other places with similar student bodies -- LHS began it's class of 2010's freshman year wtih approximately 525 students (I know that the blog has argued these numbers before and they are somewhat hard to pin down because of when the count is taken but my child was in this class and I was paying attention and shocked because we left Henderson with 2 full teams of 125 each and 2 half teams for about another 125 so I could not figure out where the other kids came from)-- turns out many of them where "froshmores" and never made it out of freshman year. A number left for private. A number of prvates came in for LHS. By the time my son left in 11th Grade (in gifted classes with a 3.7) he dropped the class from a 304 to 303-- where did the other kids go? One overdosed on heorine (no one wants to look into these issues). One graduated as part of the class of 2009. Another 50 or so shifted private as did he during their tenure there. Many fell out along the way. Some may still be part of the "froshmore" pool. They graduated -- 271 (I think that was the number on Saturday) -- so between mid-way junior year and end of senior year another 32 some odd kids left the class.... So, who really took the graduation test? Those who survived to get to junior and senior year.
Another anecdote ... a neighbor with a Finish exchange student with weak English who was here for a year and barely passing (she didn't need to be passing clases), actually passed the graduation test. So what's really up?

Anonymous said...

Arabia is not all magnet. They have roughly 300 kids in the entire magnet program out of 1200 in the student pop.

The rest are kids from all over the county. AND...they even took kids from Lithonia/MLK/Stephenson when the enrollment figures werent shaping up to where the school would be filled.

Know your facts before you bash a school. I get tired of people bashing schools like Arabia and the hard work these kids and teachers did to get those scores up.

Cerebration said...

??? Who bashed Arabia? I didn't see any "bashing" of students at Arabia or the hard work they do. Really though, if kids are coming from all over the county - this is more or less a magnet - although Arabia is technically called a "Choice" school. Students do have to apply, which involves an essay, teacher recs and about a 3.0 gpa as well as uniforms. So - Arabia is certainly much more of a magnet than Lakeside or Cross Keys or Dunwoody. No special application or grade requirements at these schools. We were just trying to make for more balanced comparisons - when you hand-pick even a portion of students, this will certainly tip the grading scale in your favor. We take our hats off to the regular old everyday schools who take on whoever lives in the zone (or gets a NCLB or other special transfer) - and does the best they can with everyone.

Cerebration said...

Anon 5:45 PM - do you mean the "Gateway to College"? I could be wrong - but I think that was the Bill Gates program - which is easily confused with the DeKalb Early College Academy... But maybe I'm wrong - let me know.

Anonymous said...

Arabia is a choice program, where every student has to opt in. Not only that, it has pretty stringent expectations of parents thus insuring an involved parent base.

No one is bashing Arabia, but the facts need to be out there to understand the scores in context.

Arabia Mountain is 98 percent African American and nearly 50 percent free and reduced lunch. Their success begs the question why can't DCSS have successful majority African American and poor schools that have to educate all comers?

Many of the theme schools are very successful, much more so than the feeder schools that send the students. Again, why can't DCSS replicate these schools?

Is that the most motivated families in DCSS have opted out of schools like Lithonia, Towers, McNair? While it is great to shout from the rafters about the successes of schools like DSA and Arabia Mountain, that doesn't help the overwhelming majority of students stuck in dismal situations across DCSS.

Paula Caldarella said...

We take our hats off to the regular old everyday schools who take on whoever lives in the zone (or gets a NCLB or other special transfer) - and does the best they can with everyone.

Could not have said it better, Cere...

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 12:25a "I'm all for comparing Cross Keys to Chamblee (nice results!) but I want to know if my kid going to school in Georgia is going to be able to compete with kids from New York, California, Japan, and Sweden."

Well, yes. The discussion about the graduation test results in DeKalb is just one benchmark. It happens to be the one that is used to dismiss schools as "succeeding" or "failing" in our County at the moment. So, my narrow interest is pointing out how well our "traditional" high schools are doing in our area.

Tests like the SAT that are taken across the Country are a better indicator of how we are doing in Georgia and in DeKalb. We're not doing so great, are we? Point taken. That is a much bigger issue that equity in County resources and fiscal discipline.

Anonymous said...

The SAT is not now, nor was it ever intended to be, a test of achievement. It was never designed to be used to compare schools, teachers or programs.
Granted, this has become the popular use of the SAT, but lets not contribute to this disinformation.

"After years of describing the SAT as a "common yardstick," the test-makers have now flip-flopped, claiming "it is a myth that a test will provide a unitary, unequivocal yardstick for ranking on merit." The SAT has always favored students who can afford coaching over those who cannot, students from wealthy suburban schools over those from poor urban school systems, and males over females."

Here are some articles on the SAT for your reading pleasure.:

There are lots more, including several studies published by ETS themselves.

Please do not judge, compare or punish teachers, schools, children or anyone else according to SAT scores.
Thank you.

Dekalbparent said...

Yes, DECA is connected with the Gates Foundation. I would be interested in how DeKalb blew it and lost the grant. I wonder how this affects DECA? Would it also possibly change the first-generation/family income restrictions if they are no longer using Gates money?

DECA was established in 2006, is a School
of Choice and the DeKalb County School
System’s only Early College program. In
conjunction with The Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Georgia Perimeter College,
and other contributing partners, our
students complete two years of high school
education (9th and 10th grade) in our
building and their last two years (11th and
12th grade) as full-time students at Georgia
Perimeter College—tuition is paid at
100%. Upon completion of the four years,
students will receive their high school diploma
and up to 60 credit hours towards an
Associate’s Degree.


The brochure is at:

Kim Gokce said...

Anon: "The SAT has always favored students who can afford coaching over those who cannot, students from wealthy suburban schools over those from poor urban school systems, and males over females.""

My question back to you, Anon, is: What doesn't favor those populations?

I don't say that SAT should be used to damn anybody. It's one metric that is used around the country. What other one is used in Georgia schools that you'd prefer?

Anonymous said...

Dekalbparent ~

Please check your facts before you use inflammatory language for effect. DCSS did not "blow it" and lose the grant. The grant ran grants do. There is another Early College grant that the district is pursuing through the state, but they will not know if they received it until September or October.

Cerebration said...

Well, there is one called Gateway to College and I've heard really good things about the program... ask your counselor if you think you know someone interested.

Dekalbparent said...

@Anon 7:40. I did not say DeKalb "blew it". Check the thread before you jump on me or anyone else.

I was quoting an earlier poster - themommy May 23, 5:45pm - who rightly identified DECA as being a Gates Foundation-funded project. I was asking if anyone knew how it was DeKalb lost the funding.

In future, I will remember to use quotation marks, and cite the source, date and time for your benefit.

For everyone else, I continue treat this as a conversation, and we can all use conversational shortcuts, assuming everyone else is following along...

Anonymous said...

Kim -
NAEP, ITBS, those might be better measures. CRCT are a horrible test, only used in GA, so they can't be compared - this is by design - again, educators in a low-ranking state making their own test, then creating artificial cutoff points, same as with the GHSGT. SAT is a misused measure, shouldn't be used. ITBS might not be used in DeKalb. I think NAEP is designed for this sort of thing - comparing districts and states. Good luck finding data!

Anonymous said...

ITBS or another nationally normed test would be so much better than the CRCT. The CRCT tells us nothing. Even teachers aren't sure what the results mean, because the bar is set so low.

The test is read to the first graders, so it does not measure a child's reading ability, only his listening and comprehension ability. Ask a first grade teacher and they'll tell you that they have a child that can barely read, yet received meets expectation on the CRCT. Makes no sense to me.

CRCT is a very poor measure of anything and should go.

Anonymous said...

There is one common denominator in every test that our children take. That is reading skill. Every test requires a student to read. If we want our children to do well on these tests, from the CRCT to the SAT, they need to be excellent readers. It isn't just classroom instruction, it is actual reading activity that builds reading skill. You have to read to be a good reader.

I haven't done the research, but I would suggest that if you surveyed students, those who received top SAT scores did significantly more recreational reading than those students who received lower scores.

Anonymous said...

When looking at test scores we need to have a critical eye. For example, on the EOCT's the cutoff for Biology's "passing" was a 45%. That's one heck of a curve.

Anonymous said...

For example, on the EOCT's the cutoff for Biology's "passing" was a 45%. That's one heck of a curve.

Not sure where you got your information, but according to the GADOE website, it's a 400, which equates to a '70'.

Anonymous said...

I calculated the 45% correct by looking at the number of questions scored (68) and number of questions correct (31). The student that got this score "met expectations" with a 70.

Anonymous said...

"I don't say that SAT should be used to damn anybody. It's one metric that is used around the country. What other one is used in Georgia schools that you'd prefer?"

My point is that SAT scores are mis used.

Unfortunately they are often used to damn schools, teachers and entire states (how often have you read about Georgia's SAT scores being low and thus an indicator of problems with education in the state? Every year, right?)

In fact most of our current test frenzy is a mis use/ mis understanding of the tests themselves and the statistics the scores generate.

2 books to suggest on the topic of mis use of statistics, data and testing:
Setting the Record Straight: Responses to Misconceptions About Public Education in the U.S
Reading Educational Research: How to Avoid Getting Statistically Snookered
Both by Gerald Bracey.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 12:07, DECA does not really get to handpick. It takes all comers that meet the original mandate of the school which is Title 1 (lowincome) first generation, historically underrepresented in college. DeKalb dropped the ball because it just wanted the program as an ornament. DECA only received Gates money for a few years and then was dropped into the districts lap. No one apparently took this into account thus DECA has lost points and through other attrition will lose @ half its staff. DECA was proposed under the Brown administration if I'm not mistaken. No one under CLEW's admin or the school board for that matter really knew what the heck it was. It has been successful to some extent but is hindered by being a choice school. Place DECA in an underattended school like McNair or Clarkston and you can a) save the program. b) eliminate bussing costs c) help the attendance at the home school. It makes too much sense. Being in the Mountain Industrial Coplex gives DECA no flexibility to retain students who are not socially ready for a full college load thus also hurting DECA's numbers.

@ DeKalb Parent 3:22
I don't think DECA has to live up to the original mandate since it no longer receives Gatesmoney. If people want a DECA to be replicated they need to speak up because the board has no clue.

The scores at DECA are impressive because DECA has great teachers. With that being said the GHSGT and the EOCTs are a joke. There is not a speck of higher order thinking on those tests just straight recall. For example, if I can remember Jackie Robinson had something to do with integration and baseball I'll probably get that answer correct on the test. Now if you ask that student to describe segregation and the impact of World War II to increased demands for integration you'd draw a blank in many cases. Yes, we should commend those schools with good scores, but take it in the full context of the joke of standardized testing in America.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:23

How do you know the EOCT and the GHSGT are jokes?
Have you read them? How did you manage that? Teachers are not permitted to look at them and parents are not offered access, either.
If you did read one, which one? There are 5 GHSGT (Writing, Eng. Math, SS and Sci.) and even more EOCT's (Phy Sci. Econ, Bio., Math 1, Math 2, American Lit, etc...)
Were they all a joke?

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 8:23

As a teacher I know my students. I know I prepared them well but also know that when little Johnny gets an EXCEEDS on the EOCT by getting 54 of 68 correct thats a 79%. However, when I enter the Grade Conversion given to me by the state its a 91. Even better example little Johnny MEETS the standards with a 70 on the Grade Conversion a scale score of 400. According to the state scores I received he got 37 questions out of 68 correct. That meets the standard? To me that what constitutes the joke. Over 80% of high school students "pass" the Literature EOCTs. Try coming into a classroom and just listen to students read. The tests are dumbed down. Look on the AJC archives when they did a study on how many students pass classes but fail the EOCTs. The fact that most students don't pass certain tests like US History is an indictment on how we teach history in the US. All you need to do in most cases is look at the zip code of the school and you already know which schools scored well and which did not unless you have a few great teachers manking things happen in those low income schools. Heck, my students even said the test was a joke (those that were doing well in the class that is).

Anonymous said...

So you have not read them.
OK, got it.
Just a rant.
Thanks for your insight.
You have it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

The GaDOE use teachers to create field test items for the EOCT, CRCT, and the Graduation tests all the time, so there's no secret to the "type" of test questions students are exposed to. Furthermore, there are several test prep books designed to help teachers prepare students for the "types" of questions on those tests.
I really hope this "blog" has not gotten out of control and has turned into a vigilante mob of "Housewives" with nothing else to do besides wield false accusations and foster inuendos about DeKalb Public School educators under the disguise of concerned citizens.

I've read rants about salaries and job duties from people who clearly have no clue about what is involved in the education of children. Yeah you've obviously gone to school, perhaps attended an institution of higher learning, heck yyou may even credit yourself with teaching your own child his ABC's or how to read, but until you've done that very deed successfully and consistently (20 years or more)with children that are not your own who you must have the patience of Job with, who are you to decide what a fair wage is ( and no I'm not speaking of publicized salary charts). Who are you to decide how much the time I spend away from my own children is worth, or the values assigned to the dedication I show when I work through illness because I care about the success of my students even though I can't get the oh so very "concerned" parents to take some of their personal time to come in for conferences.
so as you can see I am very disgusted at the nerve of you active bloggers to list names , salaries, and such personal information just because you can.
I challenge you who are so morally upright, you who pass judgement on who deserves a job at DCSS and just what their salary should be to devulge your name and personal information in your responses, include your job description and recent performance evaluation and let us all decide your worth.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:13 PM

Wow! Did I miss something? What on Earth put that burr under your saddle?

I used to work for DCSS and continue to be a state employee. Anytime anyone wants to, they can look up my salary. That's the way it should be. BTW, teachers are not the only ones who work "overtime" without additional payment.

I also am a woman, a professional, a parent with more than 20 years as a school volunteer in DCSS, and a person who has contributed significantly to the schools my children attended.

So what is all this BS about vigilante housewives? I don't think anyone is saying teachers are overpaid.

However, we are all saying that there are way more central office people than needed and most of them are waaay overpaid. They should just get out of the way and let teachers do the jobs for which they were hired.

Cerebration said...

Excuse me while I put down my bon bons and reread this thread... that is, after my tennis match and martini lunch.

Dekalbparent said...

Aww cut anon 4:13 a break. The majority of comments regarding teachers on this blog have been sympathetic and supportive, but I have seen some along the lines of "be grateful you have a have summers get to leave at 3:00...that's a cushy kid had the dumbest teacher...".

The teacher is tired and discouraged - let's just let it go and get back to the business of cleaning up this system.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of DCSS, I think some areas of the county are cheating the taxpayers, teachers, and good students out of a "normal classroom". DCSS needs more alternative schools for children of any age. We pay taxes to get 40 minutes of instruction for our children per subject per day.

I don't see this anymore in the South area of the county. I tried to get parents involved and could not. I received help from grandparents mostly but the young parents were never concerned enough to come to school unless a cell phone was taken.

The principals and administration tried but the same children are cycled right back to them. Why isn't anyone listening to them?
Our children don't test well because most of the class instruction time is spent on watching problem children disrupt the classroom. Also, the teacher is taken out of the classroom to testify or attend a hearing.

I am scared. I am afraid. I could not leave my child in a school where they are ignored and not taught because of disruptive, cursing, and violent classmates. My child was attacked because he is smart and small for his size.

I transferred north to get a "normal classroom" setting for my child. I am not ashamed to say
I did it.

The South Dekalb Principal and Assistant Principals cannot permanently remove dangerous or medicated students from schools. These children are given police rides more than you can imagine.

I witnessed school staff and bus driver get cursed, threatened, attacked, victims of theft, and forced to spend the class period trying to handle a child out of control. Meanwhile, good students sit and watch the "drama." These bad children attack the neighborhoods, the police know them.

Some schools have more mentally ill and medicated children in the regular classroom than the school can handle.

I want the teachers to have what they deserve, a true teaching environment to teach in. I am going to ask SACs to send an anonymous survey to teachers and principals to get the truth. A principal cannot protect the school. The SROs are feed up.
Be aware next year will be "Hell".
The BOE cut the SROs and paras.

Sorry South Dekalb, I am afraid of your schools, the bad children run the schools.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:45 PM

Recalcitrant, defiant, incorrigible -- so true! And the children of these parents are just about as bad.

When I went to school my parents always said, "If you are in trouble at school, you are in more trouble at home." I said the same thing to my children. I tolerated no misbehavior or disrespect toward teachers. On the occasional time I did not agree with a teacher, I never let my children know. I spoke with the teacher privately. To my children I simply said, "This is real life. Life is not always fair. Deal with it."

Do not expect that SACS will help in any way. DCSS is majority black and SACS does not care a flip about majority black school systems. BTW, I am a white parent who is saying this.

Take a look at how quickly SACS removed accreditation from Warren County -- 3 schools, 800 students, 90% African American -- because the BOE did not use Roberts Rules of Order for their meetings. Meanwhile, students whose only hope of a better life depended on getting a college education and a scholarship to make that happen have been thrown under the bus. Without SACS accreditation -- talk about strong PR! -- these students cannot get the HOPE Scholarship and cannot even get accepted to most colleges.

Several times earlier I posted and reposted the experience to date with SACS in requesting -- actually, begging -- for help with all the wrongdoing in DCSS. I was asked not to post that again because I had "made my point."

But, I am referencing it again -- and may re-post it -- because the point is that we are on our own in DeKalb County. No help from SACS, no help from the GA Department of Education and no help from the Ga Board of Education.

Remember this when you vote. Kathy
Cox may be moving on, but Brad Bryant is still around, he is our Georgia Board of Education representative and he will be running for re-election.

Just say "No!" -- to Brad Bryant and to the DCSS BOE members who are up for re-election.

Anonymous said...

It's very very unlikely that anyone, anyone at all, will be re-elected from this regime. That's one thing I don't think we'll have to worry about. Unless, of course, there is no one to run for school board, or Brad Bryant's position, besides the incumbents. I pray that won't happen. Every single person up for re-election needs to have the good sense to step aside and not waste their time (and ours) running. Say good bye, current BOE, to the good life and go impose yourselves somewhere else. BTW, I assume you'll be taking your family member employees who don't pull their weight with you?

Hey, out there in blog land, we need some others to vote for ... anyone NEW will do. All anyone really has to do is promise to follow the money and make sure it goes to our teachers and students. Oh, and to not be a corrupt, dishonest, immoral person would be a plus. Nancy Jester, you have our vote.

Just out of curiosity, is anyone anyone out there going to vote for an incumbent? If so, please let us hear from you. I'd like to hear the other side. I really would.

Anonymous said...

Is there a county in Ga close
to DCSS size that we can learn
from and try to copy the policies,
processes and guidelines?

Any decent Board(s)?

Dekalbparent said...

Georgia isn't the only place NCLB and RTT is messing with... Got this from the Ed Week teacher blog:
une 08, 2010
When Half-Right Is Good Enough

A Brooklyn teacher hired to grade 4th-grade standardized tests in New York is blowing the whistle on lax scoring standards for awarding partial credit to students, according to the New York Post.

"They were giving credit for blatantly wrong things," says the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous. "You feel like you're being forced to cheat."

The Post obtained images of the scoring guides that the teachers used to grade the standardized tests, and discovered that students were receiving partial credit for problems even if they left the answers blank but "showed" their work.

Examples in the 4th-grade scoring guide include:

* A kid who answers that a 2-foot-long skateboard is 48 inches long gets half-credit for adding 24 and 24 instead of the correct 12 plus 12.

* A miscalculation that 28 divided by 14 equals 4 instead of 2 is "partially correct" if the student uses the right method to verify the wrong answer.

* Setting up a division problem to find one-fifth of $400, but not solving the problem—and leaving the answer blank—gets half-credit.

The Post also reported that teachers scoring the exams joked about rewarding students with partial credit if they wrote their names correctly, or shared pencils with other students.

At least one teacher wasn't amused.

"The kids who really need the help are just being shuffled along to the next grade without the basic skills to have true success," said the Brooklyn teacher. "They are given a hollow success—that's the crime of it. The state DOE is doing a disservice to its children."

No Duh said...

Scares me to death. These are the kids who will be working in my nursing home and hospital one day, maybe even adjusting my IV drips, etc. 24 ml versus 48 ml -- oh what the heck, he turned the knob in the right direction...

Anonymous said...

Not the graduation test, but the AJC blog is talking about a big AP testing scandal at Southwest Dekalb. Any one here have anything to say about this?

Anonymous said...

Where in the AJC?

Anonymous said...

I had heard rumors that there was a problem with the AP tests, that the students broke the seal on the essays early and were discussing the questions.

Cerebration said...

We have no evidence of any kind of AP cheating at SW DeKalb or anywhere. These are strictly rumors.

Anonymous said...

Students went through the hallways in large numbers during the test. They asked teachers about the questions. Some teachers gave out information. Students used cell phones during the tests. Students used google on computers to get information during the test.

Anonymous said...

Happened at DHHS, too.

Anonymous said...

How was it handled at DHHS? How was it handled at SWD?

Anonymous said...

What would be the purpose of cheating on an AP exam?

Anonymous said...

Why not ask College Board about that? And then all of the other schools in the nation where the tests are given? This stuff is taken very seriously.

Anonymous said...

We heard that a SWD teacher gave a long report on what happened. Is it a coverup like so much else?

Anonymous said...

Wow,ajc has all of the crct data
summarized for Dekalb. It also
compares two years of testing.

Article title:
Higher CRCT failure rates should erase doubts about whether test sheet ... 06/10/2010

or on the ajc website
Just type CRCT in the search
window (upper right of
the ajc website), then sort by
date. It's the 3rd article.

Anonymous said...

Cheating with cell phones is rampant in the DCSS public schools. I would like to see the DCSS cell phone policy strictly enforced. Absolutely no cell phones in classrooms and phones shall be turned off during school hours. At the very least, every student should place their "turned off" cell phone in a basket or secure location when they enter the classroom.

Anonymous said...

But cellphone cheating on a national test? There are enough people who question these students' ability anyway. Why make their job any easier? How much of the success at SW Dekalb is now going to be questioned?

Anonymous said...


You seem comitted and honest. Maybe you could contact the principal at SWD and ask for information on the AP cheating?

Anonymous said...

If it is just a few rumors on this blog, the story will die. In fact, I think that we need to be very careful writing about any allegations of cheating, without direct evident.

If, however, there is more to it than that and someone with direct knowledge and evidence goes to the College Board than it won't go away. From last year:

A cheating scandal at one Southern California high school has prompted the College Board to invalidate the scores of 690 Advanced Placement exams. Now, hundreds of students from Trabuco Hills High School in Orange County are protesting the decision.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, nothing was done at DHHS. There is a lot of cheating on classroom tests done via text messaging - I heard one report that a student texted her boyfriend (a college student) any question she didn't know and he looked it up online and texted her the answer.

There seems to be an attitude among the kids of "oh well, nobody can/will stop it, so why should I make a fuss". It's discouraging.

Anonymous said...

Since cell phones and other communication devices are not allowed during an AP exam, didn't the proctor see those devices as he/she was monitoring the room as they are required?

Anonymous said...

Why would someone cheat on an AP exam? Money is a powerful motivator. Most schools have a cutoff score before they let you exempt a class due to the fact that you took it via AP. Some schools accept a 3 as college credit and some require a score of 4 or even a 5 on the exam (the subject is also a factor). My daughter had a friend who went to Emory with so many high scoring APs that she finished in 3 1/2 years thus saving herself over $20,000 in tuition and even more in living expenses.

Anonymous said...

Are people saying that cheating took place on the AP exams at Druid Hills and Southwest Dekalb? If so, has this been reported to teh College Board? This can be more damaging in some ways than the CRCT scandal, since it is a national test, like the SAT and others.

Cerebration said...

Well, it appears that the NEWSWEEK list of America's Best High Schools is out for 2010.

Maureen Downey tells us:

Newsweek picks the best high schools in the country based on advanced placement college-level courses and tests. Just over 1,600 schools— six percent of all the public schools in the U.S.– made the list. In the list of 1,600, there are 55 Georgia high schools, most from metro suburban systems.

Georgia is not represented in the top 20. Our first appearance is slot No. 79 and that is Cobb’s usual high scorer, Walton.

Here's how DeKalb schools did -

#248 - DeKalb School of the Arts
#295 - Chamblee Charter HS
#698 - Lakeside HS
#775 - Dunwoody HS
#1277 - Tucker HS

Anonymous said...

Let's change the list up a bit:

Traditional High Schools:

Lakeside - 698
Dunwoody - 775
Tucker - 1277

Schools that get to pick their students:

DSA - 248
Chamblee Charter - 295

Debora said...

I found it very odd that Lakeside's ranking dropped from 315 last year to 698 this year. Concerned that something had happened to limit students' access AP courses, I took a closer look at the numbers. I think there is a mistake.

Schools are ranked according to a "selection index." According to the FAQ, to calculate the index the Newsweek people "take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge (AICE) tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors graduating in May or June.

Lakeside's total number of AP tests given: "almost 900" according to an email from the head counselor to volunteers. (That is consistent with last year; in 2009 825 AP tests were taken according to the "AP Exams 2005-2009" document on the DCSS test scores page.)

Lakeside's number of seniors graduating: 271, according to the principal's graduation message. (Last year there were 282 graduates, according to the report card on the state DOE website.)

So if you assume that around 850 tests were given and there were 271 graduating seniors, the selection index should be a bit higher than last year and much higher than the 1.978 reported by Newsweek.

The index doesn't really measure "best schools," but it does provide a rough indicator of the availability of AP courses. If the number of students taking AP courses had really dropped precipitously from last year, I as a parent would be alarmed.

Cerebration said...

True Deborah. This ranking really basically ranks schools based on the opportunities to take AP courses. Period.

Also, Anon 11:30 PM, thanks for the supportive statement, but I'm not a reporter and thus I don't interview principals or anyone else. The AJC has an enormous, well-paid writing staff. If they investigate and find anything, we'll certainly share it here.

Until then, I will remind everyone that these statements about the AP misconduct are simply rumors. I can tell you for certain, there's no way anyone could cheat on an AP test at Lakeside - these kids are in total lock-down with a lot of supervision during AP testing. I would hope that is true at all schools.

Kim Gokce said...

All schools on this list have something to brag about. I am glad to see three of our "traditional high schools" made this list. That said, what a silly metric!

Using this simple ratio of Newsweek favors small schools over large, charter of non-charter, magnet over non-magnet, wealthy districts over non-wealthy, etc.

Simply PAYING for AP tests is an issue for high poverty schools, for example. Also, in cases like Walton (5% "poverty") there is a TON of private tutoring going on ... why does the public school get credit for this? Just saying ...

It is a mistake to use this list as the metric of "success" in public education. I think it simply makes it easier for realtors and home owners to raise listings. I hope no one confuses this as a list to use when selecting the proper education for your kid.

Also, did anyone else notice the article attached to the Newsweek piece?

Understanding Charter Schools

The Georgia schools in front of DCSS schools were those with enrollment north of 2,000 and even 3,000 in some cases. Seems treating kids "like a number" is good for college prep ... large schools do not necessarily kill education ... we need fewer high schools and more resources per student! Broken record, I know ...

Cerebration said...

This description of Lakeside is even weirder than the scores Deborah -

Lil wayne went to this school and 2 pac Shakur was killed here! Lakeside High School is a public high school in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia. The school has an Atlanta address (3801 Briarcliff Road). The school is a part of the DeKalb County School System. The principal is Joe Reed. Lakeside is a public school encompassing grades 9-12. It is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and the Georgia High School Accrediting Commission. In the Newsweek Magazine listing of the best 1,200 public high schools in the nation, Lakeside came in at 107, the highest in Georgia. In the May 23, 2006 edition of the list, which is based on the number of AP and IB tests taken as compared to the number of graduating seniors, Lakeside ranked 135, just below Riverwood High School in nearby Sandy Springs, which ranked 132. Local Hero, Mason Turner, recently graduated from Lakeside High School.

" 2 pac Shakur was killed here! "

??? - What are they talking about???

Here's what Wikipedia says -

Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. In 1994, he was shot five times and robbed in the lobby of a recording studio in New York City. Following the event, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the incident and did not warn him; the controversy helped spark the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry.
He was later convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison.[8][9][10]
After serving eleven months of his sentence, he was released from prison on an appeal financed by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange for Suge's assistance, Shakur agreed to release three albums for the Death Row label.

In September 1996, Shakur was shot again, only this time in a fatal drive-by shooting in the Las Vegas metropolitan area of Nevada. After being taken to the University Medical Center, he died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.[11]


Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana.[1] Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School.[2][3]

I guess Newsweek isn't fact-checking too well these days! Wonder is these scores are any good at all...

Anonymous said...

That data for Lakeside was most likely input by someone using the "Factual" option on the Newsweek site, which lets people enter make comments. I don't think that was data provided by Newsweek.

Anonymous said...

What good is the number of AP tests taken if there is widespread cheating going on? There have been murmurings in the AP community for some time about the scores at Southwest Dekalb. It is a well known secret in this community that one of the AP teachers there is ethically challenged. Nothing that happens in DCSS can surprise me anymore.

Anonymous said...

Having an ethically challenged teacher might cheat students out of a proper education, but it wouldn't have any effect on the integrity of the AP exam because the teacher should have no involvement with the administration of the exam.

Cerebration said...

Interesting, Anon 7:45 PM. -- Anyone can enter "facts" about schools in the rankings. So I guess Newsweek is now no more than a glorified blog too!

Paula Caldarella said...

Anon 0847 is correct. The AP Teacher has nothing to do with administering the exam - it is the proctor's responsiblity. The teacher cannot be the proctor.

If you have any proof of cheating, report it to the college board. It's as simple as that.

Cerebration said...

That's so true, Dunwoody Mom. Is it possible that someone is simply trying to discredit SW DeKalb? Don't believe everything you read on a blog - or even in Newsweek!

BTW - I've chatted with Jay Mathews about his Newsweek ranking methodology and I agree with him in theory that a good high school should give students as many opportunities as possible to practice at the level of 'rigor' they will get in college. That said, I'm not so sure the listing should be called "America's Best High Schools" - as I think that title would bring a lot more criteria to the table to be considered.

IMO - it's all just "marketing" to sell magazines.

Anonymous said...

Unless, of course, students speak to their teacher during the course of the exam.

Paula Caldarella said...

Agreed, Cere, "Best High Schools" is not a good title. I would like to see Newsweek make a change to that report.

Paula Caldarella said...

How would the students speak to their teachers? Cell phones are not allowed. In fact, when my daughter took her AP exam, all cellphones, electronic devices had to be placed into a basket that was "guarded" by the proctor.

Really, enough is enough. Unless you have proof, you are disparaging these children at SWD.

Anonymous said...

"Cell phones are not allowed." Sounds like someone has been drinking the koolaid. Last year Lewis talked about family during a cheating scandal. It is wrong to assume that what goes on at Dunwoody, Lakeside, Chamblee means much. Somebody needs to call for a full investigation. Probably won't happen.

Paula Caldarella said...

Cell phones are not allowed." Sounds like someone has been drinking the koolaid

Have you ever read the rules that apply to AP Testing? AGAIN, if you have proof of cheating, instead of continuing to post little hit and run accusations with no "meat" to them, contact the College Board. They are the ones that would do the investigation - not DCSS. Enough of this.

Anonymous said...

The issue would be the violation of College Board rules and the failure to act on such violations. In the first instance, this is the responsibility of the school administration. College Board must get its information from the administration. College Board probably has an interest in not tearing down Dekalb, because of the recognition it has been given. The broader AP community has its own concerns, as someone indicated earlier. All of this has been talked about behind the scenes for some time. Things like this are best dealt with openly and decisively, or they only get worse. As we all know, this is not the modus operandi here.

Anonymous said...

College Board must get its information from the administration

No, it does not.

If you observe any behavior that might lead to invalidation of grades, contact the Office of Testing Integrity as soon as possible.

Office of Testing Integrity
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Phone: (800) 353-8570 (toll-free in the United States and Canada)
or (609) 406-5427
Fax: (609) 406-9709

Anonymous said...

Looks like we may be headed for another big DCSS headline. Does it ever stop? I thought SW Dekalb had the good students? Does this mean that even they can't be controlled? No wonder people join the tea party. So much waste. So little accountability.

Anonymous said...

Folks did talk about the Dekalb issues during the reading in Kentucky. It really is a shame, because all of the test results from a school with this kind of problems are suspect. I agree with Dunwoody Mom about not spreading unsubstantiated rumors, and I know that College Board is looking into it. The appearance alone is bad enough.