Video: Is Austin Polytech Really Working?

According to PBS "Austin Polytech is the only CPS high school dedicated to teaching students manufacturing skills. Along with social studies and English, students here take three to four years of pre-engineering courses." OK, but what about the school's success rate -- are the kids staying in class, staying in school, and passing those NIMSs tests?  About that we aren't told very much, and that makes me a little bit crazy. (Chicago High School Prepares Students for Real-World Manufacturing Jobs)


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  • Anon is FOS. Austin Poly has had a new principal since the beginning of the school year.

    Russo, you ask, "is Austin Poly working.? You say that you "aren't told very much" and it's "making you crazy." Well, if it's indeed making you crazy, get off your ass and find out. It's a public school and not that hard to do.

  • Our friend Alexander is being a little coy here. I suspect Alexander looked up AUSTIN POLYTECHNICAL ACADEMY HS data for 2010 and saw what I just did. That only 2% of the school's juniors in 2010 tested at or above state standards on the PSAE's science section and only 11% in math. I do not know what kind of math skills a modern machinist needs to have, but of my friends who graduated from Lane Tech in the 1970s and who eventually ended up as machinists they all seemed to have high math skills, certainly better than mine.

    Rod Estvan

  • Regarding Syprios comment. Good idea, I just looked at the best data I know of for AUSTIN POLYTECHNICAL ACADEMY HS to answer Spyrios question. I got the science scores for these students when they were in 9th grade on the Explore. When the class tested for the 2010 PSAE were freshmen they had a mean Explore science score of 14.3 whereas the average for the CPS as a whole was 15.4.

    Explore establishes what it calls a benchmark score for science which is 20 for college readiness. Clearly the goal for these students to become machinists is not admission to a four year college. But the Explore interpretive data for a science score of 14.3 indicates that these students when freshmen did not have skills necessary to conduct any form of scientific investigation or conduct any evaluation of Models, make scientific inferences, and present experimental results.

    The citywide average for PSAE science scores in 2010 was that 26.1% of all students were at or above standards in science, so we can see that AUSTIN POLYTECHNICAL is dramatically lower than the city average in science with only 2% at or above standards, but the average freshman at the school for the 2010 testing cohort was not that far away from the city average on the science section of the Explore.

    I think it is reasonable to assume that the 2010 group of students tested on the PSAE science section showed no academic progress over the years they attended the school. This is a crude assessment because the cohort is not completely stable. The school had a 9.4% drop out rate and a 21.7% mobility rate (ISBE report card data). We do know that when the Explore was given to the freshmen there were 115 students tested and only 102 were tested in science in 2010. So the cohort declined by 11.3% and it could be possible that the weakest students were the ones that left the school. If that was the case then it would not be unfair to draw a conclusion that these students skills in science declined.

    This is the best answer that I can give Spyrios without having the student ID numbers of the Austin students so I can look at clear cohort data.

    Rod Estvan

  • "We have 25 kids with NIMS credentials. Now with an instructor we expect 80 kids will get one credential, and 60 kids will get the NIMS CNC credential." -- email from dan swinney via mike klonsky

    what do you think? change anyone's mind?

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