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August 31, 2007

West HS English 10: More from Pam Nash

As many of you know, I have been in touch with the District and West HS administration -- as well as with our BOE -- with a request for "before-and-after" data on the English elective choices of West's juniors and seniors. The reason for my request is that one of the primary reasons why English 10 was implemented was the concern that some groups of West students were not choosing to take challenging electives in their upper class years. Here are links to my earlier posts:

On August 29, I received the following email from Pam Nash:


Our Research and Evaluation staff reported today that the district does not keep course requests and course assignments beyond one year. Therefore, we cannot retrieve information that shows, historically, what English courses were chosen by whom over time.

We will be able to give you this year's information by the end of next week.


That same day, I wrote to Pam:

Are you saying you do not know what this year's seniors took last year, as
juniors? Or is their data still available (along with this year's juniors)?

Pam wrote back:

R&E says that they do not save an archive base of course requests. They do still have the Spring 2007 requests.

To which I replied today:

Hi, Pam. Thanks for the update on the data situation. It's somewhat good news. I think. Assuming that I understand what you're saying.

I think you're saying that we still have the senior English elective choices made by the current senior class, the last class to not have English 10, the last class to take English electives as sophomores.

I assume it also means that we still have the junior English elective choices made by the current 11th grade class.

By all means, don't let anyone destroy that data! It may be the only thing we have for a "before and after" comparison.

Or is it? My son pointed out to me that surely West must have complete transcripts for all current seniors. Right? (Maybe even the complete transcripts for several recently graduated classes, it occurs to me.) Doesn't that mean we have a listing of any and all courses that the current seniors have taken while at West? If so, that must mean we still have information about which junior year English electives the current seniors took. And that would obviously be the better comparison to the choices of the current junior class.

Something I really don't understand, Pam, is that if there was such concern about the English electives being taken by different groups of West students, where are the data that justify that concern?

I also do not understand why -- if English 10 was instituted largely to rectify that specific problem -- no effort was made to collect, save, organize and analyze the data that would tell us if the new core curriculum is having the desired effect?

In any event, I look forward to receiving any and all relevant data. At the very least, I hope there is a way to retrieve the current seniors' junior year elective choices, so that a comparison can be made with this year's juniors' elective choices.


It would be nice if one of our school board members would request these data analyses.

Posted by Laurie Frost at August 31, 2007 7:27 AM
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