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Great article about CDAT, and the scores are in!

posted May 21, 2012, 6:08 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated May 21, 2012, 6:09 AM ]
Suzie Boss has been a great mentor to project-based learning efforts in so many places, including Gwinnett and CDAT.  Well she was kind enough to write a really great article about what we're doing here, check it out:  http://www.edutopia.org/blog/project-based-learning-local-expertise-suzie-boss

Also, the "big scores" are in:  while we're waiting for other final numbers to arrive, our standardized results are a big indicator of how we are doing and they are here. 

For 9th grade:
In Math, we did very well, but may have done better.  After all of the averaging, we were at about the same level as the school.  On a positive note, students enjoyed the flexibility of learning we offered and prefer school this way.  This was particularly noted by the highest level students, that they preferred this environment.  In Language Arts, where we had some experience, we rocked!  We had a 58% Exceeds rate, a 0% Failure rate, just amazing!!  Our "Exceeds" rate was 40% higher than the 9th grade average, and the overall school Failure rate was approximately 10%.

For 10th grade:
This was our first year with Social Studies, first year with 10th graders, and we added quite a few students who had not participated in CDAT in their 9th grade.  10th graders take a test called the Gateway, one for Social Studies and one for Science.  They are essay-based, and holistically scored, so Language Arts is incorporated into both.  For both groups, Ms. Kirchner did a great job of comparing our CDAT kids to a comparable control group, and here are the results:  
Social Studies had a 14.5% fail rate compared to a 15.4% rate for the control group (that's good), but we did not match the Exceeds rate (control group 23%, compared to our 12.5%).  
In Science we did significantly better: 14.5% Fail rate compared to 30% for the control group, and 8.3% Exceeds rate compared to 5.8% for the control group.  This is more reassurance that our move to incorporating Science next year is the right decision.

What does this all mean?  (First, it means we might need a full-time statistician on staff at this point. ) It means we are doing something meaningful and effective.  While we might not have blown away the school in every category, we're seeing growth (75 incoming 9th graders) and offering an alternative learning environment that meets or beats the school-wide averages.  In short, we're giving our customers a good choice for learning, that not only covers the academic material, but also addresses the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration and creativity that are in high demand.  

So much thanks and credit go to our parents for taking a chance, and to our core academic teachers for taking the risk in our modern high-stakes test environment.  We've been allowed to try something new at Lanier High, and we're making the most of it.  Great job again CDAT students and teachers!!!
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