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LINCOLN CENTER: Take a closer look at data

Letter by Jose L. Landrie, Tacoma on June 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm with 2 Comments »
June 9, 2010 9:05 am

Re: “Learn from Lincoln Center success” (letter, 6-4).

I have always believed that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. I think it would be a mistake to make a rush to judgment in regard to the putative success of Lincoln Center.

Data can be easily manipulated to produce any outcome that the manipulator desire,s and discarding unfavorable data is one of the most obvious methods of data misuse. Since so much of Lincoln Center’s highly touted success in closing the achievement is based on students’ grade-point averages, I would ask if the students in Lincoln Center are graded using objective standards and on the same grading scale as the rest of the students at Lincoln High School.

If the school board is seriously considering expanding the Lincoln Center model, the board needs to scrutinize very carefully all available data and not rely solely on statistics produced by those most closely connected with the creation and implementation of Lincoln Center.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction should closely examine all documentation surrounding Lincoln Center before we jump to any conclusions. If Lincoln Center has, in fact, closed the achievement gap in the short space of two years, then it is deserving of expansion and emulation. But I remain unconvinced.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Mr Landrie makes a good point.

    There was an objective measurable assessment of educational effectiveness used across the board in all schools in Washington, it was called the WASL, however, when the results were so dismal, it was the test that was attacked and then discarded. The people most against the test were the teachers.

    We will need to see if the grades of the Lincoln Center students match their test scores and if these students show improvement over their test scores prior to joining the Lincoln Center.

  2. stanfordspeck says:

    (1) “I have always believed that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. I think it would be a mistake to make a rush to judgment in regard to the putative success of Lincoln Center.”

    COMMENT:
    You have said nothing other than repeating tired cliches: “too good to be true” and “rush to judgment”…. and your editorial that is supposed to be addressing data. Go on:

    (2) “Data can be easily manipulated to produce any outcome that the manipulator desire,s and discarding unfavorable data is one of the most obvious methods of data misuse. Since so much of Lincoln Center’s highly touted success in closing the achievement is based on students’ grade-point averages, I would ask if the students in Lincoln Center are graded using objective standards and on the same grading scale as the rest of the students at Lincoln High School.”

    COMMENT:
    Sure data can be manipulated…. That is hardly news. However, it is a straw dog argument to suggest that in Lincoln Center only the GPA is used as a determinate of success. How about data regarding attendance, unexcused absences, discipline, district and state assessments?

    (3) “If the school board is seriously considering expanding the Lincoln Center model, the board needs to scrutinize very carefully all available data and not rely solely on statistics produced by those most closely connected with the creation and implementation of Lincoln Center.”

    COMMENT:
    Correct…. Now would this be data that can be easily be manipulated (reference #2) or data from the OSPI test results or data from the district student record system? What data do you trust? The data that supports your prejudice that somehow there is a scam occurring at Lincoln HS from suspected grade inflation and nothing else?

    (4) ”The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction should closely examine all documentation surrounding Lincoln Center before we jump to any conclusions. If Lincoln Center has, in fact, closed the achievement gap in the short space of two years, then it is deserving of expansion and emulation. But I remain unconvinced.”

    COMMENT:
    Bingo…. Now you are talking! That is the purpose of data and research-based inquiry. Just for a short moment assume that you are not alone and others in the community support the notion that empirical data supporting the efficacy of an educational initiative deserves both praise and replication. I am convinced that you and I will then support their hard work. Rather than being “unconvinced” how about being “hopeful”.

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