Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The D.O.E Was Mistaken - Ari Makes Gifted & Talented Along With 2000 Others

When I received the results from Ari's gifted and Talented test, I knew something wasn't right. I read the score explanation over and over again, and no matter how many times I looked at the paper, the math didn't make sense.

He was in the 95th percentile for non-verbal and the 84th percentile for verbal.
According to the score explanation, the non-verbal accounts for 65 percent of the score, while the verbal only accounts for 35 percent.

Now, I'm certainly not a mathematician, but the score I came up with was over 90 percent, while the score they sent us was 89.

I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.

I emailed my best friend, Mint. She confirmed my sense that something was amiss. When she did the math, she calculated 91.5.

So, I wrote an email to gifted and talented as said the following:

I was just looking at Ari's score sheet and I'm just wondering about the results.

It says that the non-verbal accounts for 65 percent of his score and the verbal accounts for 35 percent of his score.

He scored in the 95th percentile for non-verbal and in the 84th percentile for verbal. If you average the two it's 89.5. However, if the non-verbal accounts for 65 percent of the score, would his total score be slightly higher?

I received a response with the most complicated mathematical jargon I'd seen. Mint and I were stumped.

Naturally, I  emailed my friend (and the smartest person I know) to help interpret it. His name is Saul and he's a pediatric infectious disease doctor, so he has to be smart, I thought. Also, I bet he knows math. 

He said:

His total percentile is not the average of the other percentiles—they recalculate the percentile again on the basis of this combined standardized score they generate but I guess don’t report on the sheet.

So I thought, it's over. He didn't get in. I was upset, and I wrote about it. 

Then something miraculous happened. 

I got a message from Saul:

Did you hear about the g and t testing screw up? A friend told me apparently Pearson who does the test scoring messed up and kids are getting reclassified--some who are not gifted are now gifted and some who only qualify for district testing are now qualified for citywides. Or so I've heard...?

Then I got a letter...it said:
Your child's score has increased based on this correction. Your child is now eligible to apply for district G&T programs.

I stared at it in disbelief. I read on, and it turns out that:

Upon receiving scores, two New York City parents contacted the Department of Education and questioned the formula used to calculate their child's results. 

I was one of the parents that contacted the D.O.E. The other parent, from my understanding of the situation, was a statistician, a word I can't even spell.

Because of this mistake, not only is Ari eligible for the Gifted and Talented program (as he should have been all along) but so are over 2000 other children.

I'm glad I said something.
I'm proud of myself for sticking up for what is right.

Even though it felt funny to challenge the result, I knew something wasn't right and I stood up for my son, and apparently over 2000 other children too!

When you believe something isn't right, say something. Speak your mind. You never know, you could help 2000 people. 

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