Saturday, November 16, 2019
US flag

PARCC & homecoming anomalies at a top Md. H.S.

The homecoming court this weekend at one of Maryland’s best public high schools won’t include the typical king and queen, Bethesda Magazine reports.

At Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, “the homecoming court is never really a big deal,” the magazine quoted Ari Gutman, the student body president, as saying. “It’s not really instilled in our school culture. … We decided that instead of having the court, we would just not have it at all, so no one was left out,” he said, referring implicitly to students whose gender identity doesn’t match their birth sex.

The high school was formerly named the Number 1 high school in the state by US News & World Report. But other schools in Montgomery County are moving in a similar direction on the homecoming gender issue, like Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, where students announced last month they would use a gender-neutral homecoming court. Students could vote for two boys, two girls, a boy and a girl, transgender, or gender-non-binary students.

In other Walt Whitman High School-related news, results from the standardized tests known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, released by the Maryland State Department of Education on September 27, show that performance on the English 10 test for students at the high school dropped precipitously, compared to the school’s performance in 2015.

At the same time, students performed much better on the algebra 1 PARCC test this year than last, bringing the percentage of test-takers at the school who approached, met, or exceeded the standards being assessed to a rate right around the average for Montgomery County, which is about 10 percent higher than that for the state overall.

I would be remiss not to mention that both swings in the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards—up in algebra 1 from 2015 to 2016 and down in English 10 over the same period—are anomalies, which suggest a possible issue with the tests or the test-taking environment or settings. It frankly stretches credulity to the limit to believe that both

  • The PARCC tests are valid and reliable measures of math and English instruction, and
  • Testing conditions at Walt Whitman High School were essentially similar in 2015 and 2016.
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.