The story begins more than six decades earlier, but the first recent-inciting event was the abrupt death of the first person I loved more than myself in 2004, my wife. The phone call, yes, the phone call came just after dropping our seven-year-old autistic son off at day camp. And a little after 8 a.m. I became the single parent dad to an autistic son.
Elaine was always involved with the schools as a volunteer. And when available, I tagged along and did what I could do to support her. Unavailable was performing my assigned duty in the U.S. Army. But by the time Number-one-son was born, my military status was; U.S. Army, Infantryman, Retired.
The second inciting event occurred in 2005 when an elementary school principal asked if I would run for the school council. Wanting to be involved where I could, I ran and held a position on a school council, from the Fall of 2005, through the spring of 2014 consecutively in an Elementary, Middle and a High school. And held the chair position in Middle school and three-years in high school.
In Georgia, the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000 required a school council established at every public school by October 1, 2003. And two laws established and set the requirements for school councils:
(1) O.C.G.A. § 20-2-85 – Establishment of school councils
(2) O.C.G.A. § 20-2-85 – 86 – Requirements of school councils
Georgia O.C.G.A. § 20-2-85 – 86 – (k) listed six specific requirements required from its members:
(1) Maintain a school-wide perspective on issues;
(2) Regularly participate in council meetings;
(3) Participate in information and training programs;
(4) Act as a link between the school council and the community;
(5) Encourage the participation of parents and others within the school community; and
(6) Work to improve student achievement and performance
Items one through five were not impossible to accomplish. However, item six requires you to understand student achievement and performance. It was the scaled scores without an easily discernible meaning that prohibited understanding where we were, and any accomplishments. Thereby opening the door for education authorities to tell you what it meant. And when asked what it meant, they used vague statements like:
> Did not meet the standards,
> Meet the standards, or
> Exceeded the standards.
But they could not, or would not explain the assessment standards.
Not satisfied with a non-answer-answer, I studied the data and decoded the scaling. And in the process, I learned there are two basic kinds of standards.
One is the standards that explain (or maybe a better word specifies) what a student is supposed to learn in a discipline, in a logical or progressive order. And if you are a teacher, or someone who has a depth of knowledge about this kind of a standard, the explanation was untechnified to the best of my current ability.
Two, the scale scores to be shown as numerical-grades by The Afterclap, which are the test results; and the various standards showing what education authorities want you to believe is an appropriate measurement of student success.
At the Afterclap, everything is converted to a numerical-grade using what we believe is both the most common scale and the one best understood. Zero to one-hundred, where 70 to 100 is considered as basic to adequately understanding the material assessed in an academic environment. There will be no A, B, C, D, or F’s, nor will there be any 1, 2, 3, or 4’s.
Why the word, Afterclap?
I saw the word “afterclap” for the first time in a Haggard Hawks Facebook post, yet, it was the modern interpretations that were the most intriguing:
Collins dictionary noun, an unexpected aftereffect
Dictionary dot com noun, an unexpected repercussion
Merriam-Webster noun, an unexpected damaging or unsettling event following a supposedly closed affair
Based on continuing research, and the dictionary definitions, I derived the focus of this blog:
“The unexpected repercussions or consequences of the birth through high school graduation years, as measured by student assessments.”
While The Afterclap uses test outcomes, we acknowledge that assessments are not without flaws. And suspect there is no single perfect assessment for any group of students, including a test written by a teacher for students in their class. However, beyond the common issues of poorly worded questions, and questions that are not appropriate for many reasons; the primary concern at the Afterclap is the level of literacy skills, and the depth of cultural knowledge required of students to best demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter assessed.
If you decide to hang around for the next post, The Afterclap is going to explore the United States 2019’s Senior Cohort high school Class, SAT scores, followed with the state results. Where you will be shown results in a way, you are unlikely to have ever seen before, including results not normally reported by the media.
If you find this informative, different, or potentially interesting, follow. If you think I am an idiot, follow, to see how far down the rabbit hole I go. If you think anyone you know may be interested, for any of the previously stated reasons, share. Or not.
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