Oakland Unified to score … everyone

matrix 2

The above matrix of nine elementary and six middle schools — which underwent a pilot School Quality Review process last school year — is just a sample of the kinds of targets and scoring systems being put in place in Oakland Unified.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the OUSD board holds a special meeting to discuss this and other parts of its “Balanced Scorecard,” which sets goals for student achievement, attendance, discipline rates (racial disparities, in particular), effective teaching, teacher satisfaction, teacher retention — and, yes, for a balanced budget that maximizes teaching and learning with an equitable (read: not equal) base funding model for its schools.

It calls for increasing the graduation rate for each student subgroup (black, white, Asian, Latino, male, female, English learners, special education students) by 1 percent this year, as well as the overall rate.

Other goals include upping the number of students who graduate UC/CSU eligible, with A-G requirements (this is key, as OUSD’s current 9th and 10th-graders must complete A-G requirements to receive a high school diploma, as a result of a policy change promoted by student leaders and Ed Trust West in 2009); boosting the number of students who graduate from an academy or career pathway, and making it mandatory for 11th-graders to take the CSU’s Early Assessment Program test in English and math.

On average, just 14 percent of OUSD 11th graders who recently took the EAP test are deemed ready to tackle college-level English, and 6.7 percent in math, according to OUSD. That percentage could drop further once students are required to take it — now, roughly two-thirds of juniors take the assessment. Statewide, only 23 percent of students tested college-ready for English and 15 percent did so in math this spring.

Of course, no report on a so-called balanced scorecard would be complete without its share of buzz words, acronyms and catch phrases. I found a-plenty, especially in the parts about OUSD employees: human capital data system, Talent Acquisition Team, SQR, and “an integrated and aligned central‐ and site‐level investment tracking system,” to name a few.

What do you think about these ideas, in general, and the specific goals included in the draft? Are they the right goals — and are they aggressive enough?

You can find the full presentation here and catch Wednesday night’s discussion online by clicking on the video tab in the above link or here.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • livegreen

    Go for it!

    How about parents too?

  • makeitgoaway

    This …

    “On average, just 14 percent of OUSD 11th graders who recently took the EAP test are deemed ready to tackle college-level English, and 6.7 percent in math, according to OUSD. That percentage could drop further once students are required to take it — now, roughly two-thirds of juniors take the assessment. Statewide, only 23 percent of students tested college-ready for English and 15 percent did so in math this spring.”

    So based on an estimate that the 1/3 who don’t take it are in the lowest performing quartile, the actual percentage of students deemed ready to tackle college level English would be about 10% and math about 4%? That means you have about one classroom worth of students who might be college eligible at each high school, right?

  • Steven Weinberg

    Not really, #2. It is important to note that the EAP tests set an “aspirational” target, that is, they represent the skills that a committee of college leaders would like in-coming students to have. No group of entering college freshman have ever attained that level. Colleges accepts many students who do not score at the target every year. None of this is to say that attention should not be paid to improving these statistics, but we should not drawn unwarranted conclusions.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Steve Weinberg warned about drawning unwarranted conclusions on the EAP test scores. Makeitgoaway points out that statistics on EAP test scores is likely to drop when ALL students are required to take it in the 11th grade.

    The trouble with statistics is that they need to be used wisely. By that I mean put in context and association not be understood as causation.

    And, speaking of statistics what impact has making A-G policy change have on the graduation rate that Ed Trust West and Board selected student leaders successfully lobbied for and won?

    Jim Mordecai

  • Jim Mordecai

    I see the proposed balanced score card lacking tracking on the impact of socio-economic status of students and disaggregated student groups.

    Jim Mordecai

  • http://www.facebook.com/BridgetheChasm Charlie at Bridge the Chasm

    In any organization, especially in fixing a failing one, I think true progress is made when goals are simple and address the root cause of the most critical issues facing the organization.

    If there was a long-term goal in all of this, it would be to decrease the drop-out rate for African-American males to 15% or less by 2022. I believe a 1% change in any single year is a poor target because it cannot be distinguished for year-to-year fluctuations which do not represent an improvement.

    The short-term goals that will have the greatest effect on all the other issues listed are: By the end of second grade, EVERY student in OUSD, with special emphasis on African-American boys, (1) meet the Common Core standard in math 2.OA#2 “Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.” (2) meet the 2nd grade common core standard for Reading Standards:Foundational Skills #3 “Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words” and a related list of words which should be known/memorized.

    There are 4th graders and above who cannot add 8+7, there are high schoolers who identify ‘but’ as a word for which they do not know the definition.

    By focusing on achieving these specific short-term goals, objectives related to things like teacher competence, only continue if they positively effect the specific goal. Also, the relative importance of contemplated actions can be easily prioritized.

  • A coding error

    This has been prepared by Montes de Oca and associates, from Smith and friends, our very own data wizards with their super-vision. Wait and see for the political use of these figures in getting rid of whoever is not “aligned” to the beautiful plan. I am truly sorry for school identified as 15. Let me guess who may be getting the boot… (nobody in the central office, of course).

  • Livegreen

    With so many students unable to attain college, it is amazing that it’s the primary goal (read only goal) of OUSD for high school graduates, when it should b but one of the goals.

    College or nothing. Surprise surprise, for most students it ends up being nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BridgetheChasm Charlie at Bridge the Chasm


    I agree.

    The level of learning for so many in high school is so low, there isn’t much point in any goal for them. At some point the District’s goal(s) need to focus on a level of learning and let the kids decide where they want to go from there. Right now, so many drop out because they have virtually nothing in the way of education by the time they reach high school.

  • J.R.

    See everyone………

    These high paid administration acolytes are doing something important, gathering data(a whole lot of data, replete with new and catchy buzzwords) in order to come to a conclusion, and then construct a long drawn out plan of action. It’s kind of analogous to the prison guards and three strikes law(job security). The real core problems will never be addressed, we go round and round like decades past getting nowhere.

  • 1day at a time

    wonder what would happen if you switched all adults, except parents, at schools one and 15.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BridgetheChasm Charlie at Bridge the Chasm

    It’s interesting that every category had some schools with top scores (>4, dark gren) except “Quality Learning” where the highest score in any school was 3.4. How can Effective Leasership be a full level higher than Quality Lerning. What else is the Leadership doing?

  • OUSD Parent

    Do we know which middle schools participated in the study?

  • Doug Appel

    For those interested in the SQR process practiced by OUSD (including the list of schools), you can find the information at:


  • Calimama

    I’m willing to bet that #1 is Chabot. Beyond that, I have no idea.

  • 1day at a time

    Urban Promise Academy
    Learning Without Limits

  • Edgar Mendoza

    @ Charlie at the bridge chasm

    The leadership is schmoozing and flattering the regional executive officers. That must be worth some points right? Isn’t it something along the lines of nurturing community relations?
    BTW, according to the matching list, Montera must have had effective leadership, but didn’t the principal leave overnight this summer? Shame he did not want to stay for the party. Who doesn’t love it among leadership?

  • https://www.facebook.com/timothy.terry.397 Tim Terry

    The Tony Smith Administration is a known charter-school proponent. These people are typically data-driven education reformers who advocate using test-score and other data to rank traditional public schools and the teachers who work there. But it’s what they do with this data that scares me. Instead of assisting the schools, the trend across the country and what we have seen from this Administration is that they use it along with declining enrollment numbers to push for school closures. Washington DC schools superintendent just announced 20 more school closures at the end of the current school year. This is in addition to the 23 schools Michelle Rhee closed there. The plan is to rent the buildings to charter schools. DC already has 40% of its students in charter schools. In Oakland we have yet to see the vision for quality public education and strong community schools that we deserve.