Tyler Graff

Tyler Graff is the incoming principal at the Claire Lilienthal alternative school in San Francisco Unified.

Previously, he was principal of Stevenson Elementary, a public school in Mountain View, where he kicked off a project-based learning initiative in 2012.

In project-based learning, students work on a complex problem or topic that often incorporates working as a team and involves a student presentation of work. At Graff’s school, the program started as a pilot and expanded each year.

Graff earned his bachelor’s degree and multiple subjects teaching credential from California State University, Chico.  He earned his master’s degree in school leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

In late June, EdSource asked Graff about what he learned working with teachers and students using this approach.

Why do you use project-based learning at your public elementary school?

Not only do student attitudes about learning improve as they engage in project-based learning, students retain the information they’re taught on a deeper level.  When done well, it helps students with the soft skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking that many colleges and employers are looking for.  Students are able to comprehend, apply, and retain the content knowledge taught while developing the 21st Century Skills that the Common Core Standards ask of teachers and students.

Give an example of a project that worked well at your school. What made it succeed? How did you know? 

Our second- and third-grade combination class took a deep look into local school board elections.  During the project, students interviewed the candidates, researched the topics the board would be voting on, wrote letters, created pamphlets, and registered voters. It was clear that the project was successful from talking with the students.  They were able to articulate their views on the issues and which candidates they would vote for and why.  Students learned a lot about interviewing and writing in addition to social studies components linked to our local community.  The writing and knowledge that was produced through the course of this project certainly met the curriculum standards, and our students became meaningfully engaged in their community.

How does project-based learning fit in with the priorities of Common Core?

Project-based learning and the Common Core are a natural fit.  At our school, this was one of the core ways we started to address the new standards.  What comes to mind first for me are close reading, application of knowledge, and critical thinking.  In project-based learning, students need to research, read, take notes, and synthesize information, exactly what the Common Core asks students to do.  In both cases, students need to think critically about and apply knowledge from their learning.  This happens in both language arts and mathematics.

What do schools and districts need to know before they start a project-based learning initiative and what’s a good entry point for projects and training?

Done well, project-based learning requires an extensive amount of professional development, time, and reflection.  This is not an initiative that you can purchase to turn a school around; it’s really a shift in the way content is presented.  That takes time.  In my experience, teachers tend to thrive with professional learning experiences that give the big picture first, then drill down in the details of how each element of the project works.  For instance, a group of teachers interested in implementing project-based learning might do a multi-day training looking at the entire scope and sequence of a project by experiencing one themselves.  From there, they’d spend time learning about how to create a culture of critique in the classroom, how to successfully facilitate group work, student presentations, and more.  Using a cycle of learning, implementing, and refining with each of these elements will lead to high-quality project-based learning.

What advice do you have for schools just starting out?

As we all know, the number one indicator of student success at the school site is the quality of the teacher.  With that said, it’s important that you find the funding and time to allow teachers to learn, experiment, struggle, and refine their practice.

I would caution any administrator not to move too quickly through this process.  Deeper learning takes time!  This is true for students in the classroom and adult learners.  At our elementary school, we decided to do a school-wide roll out (14 classrooms) of one project per year for the first three years.  It wasn’t until our third year that we started doing Exhibition Nights.  Depending on the staff culture, it might be smart to have a grade level or group of teachers pilot project-based learning for a year or two before moving to a whole scale approach.  Ultimately, each school and district is different.  Taking the needs of your staff into account before creating a strategic plan will ensure project-based learning initiatives will take root and thrive.

If you have any questions about how to implement project-based learning in your school or district, please reach out to me at tyler.graff@gmail.com.

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  1. Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

    Concerned Parent raises a good question. How to tell when projects are done well? Tyler Graff responds to such a question in this article saying it is obvious from demonstrations of students' understanding. My follow up question is do California schools have enough teachers per student to judge project work effectively? My general impression is that language arts teachers would like to assign more writing but don't because grading it in a … Read More

    Concerned Parent raises a good question. How to tell when projects are done well? Tyler Graff responds to such a question in this article saying it is obvious from demonstrations of students’ understanding. My follow up question is do California schools have enough teachers per student to judge project work effectively? My general impression is that language arts teachers would like to assign more writing but don’t because grading it in a meaningful way takes more time than is available. Is my impression matched by reality?

  2. Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

    Another thing about this article: Note the first paragraph: "Tyler Graff is the incoming principal at the Claire Lilienthal alternative school in San Francisco Unified." So this means that the school is out of the ordinary. This means, maybe that launching into project based learning with hands on this and that may be very engaging, but... Will there be math benchmarks on the reportcard? Will there be a firm curriculum map on math mandated and checked as the year … Read More

    Another thing about this article:

    Note the first paragraph:

    “Tyler Graff is the incoming principal at the Claire Lilienthal alternative school in San Francisco Unified.”

    So this means that the school is out of the ordinary. This means, maybe that launching into project based learning with hands on this and that may be very engaging, but…

    Will there be math benchmarks on the reportcard?

    Will there be a firm curriculum map on math mandated and checked as the year goes forward.

    Will math be taught when children fall behind or will the teachers not have remedial time to teach because of the
    additional burden of designing all things project based learning, and this can lead to teacher burnout and or
    a lack of covering all mandated California Common Core Standards.

    I earnestly hope that Mr. Graff does this, and I am just a parent and not associated with the company.

    Get IXL math for all children and ensure all children do this at home each night for homework.

    This is not a publicity thing, if not IXL some other math on line thing, but IXL has 10% of the world market I believe and is growing.

    I say, project based learning is good if used sparingly but if used with a hippy like, unfocused, all things good …”Oh, I’m Bad, No Worries, Just Work Together, Great, You learned by doing….” approach, then it is my opinion,

    our California is letting down all the children in math by welcoming in some new program in the younger years such as project based math.

    It is a real mess. Not good at all.

    To know if I am right, look at the SmarterBalance/CAASPP tests (not going to be used this year in terms of measuring school performance) or ask yourself, why is testing a sort of bad word with many who teach?

    Can you imagine if you went to college and got group grades and took no quizzes or had no individual work finals?

    IN college group grades account for say 40% of a grade or 30% of a grade,

    why is it that the madness exists to award grades with project based learning for elementary schools if.

    IF A SCHOOL REGRESSES IN THE BELIEF OF USE OF QUIZZES AND TESTS …say once a week or once every two weeks.

    IT IS MADNESS and will result in regressing of learning for most of all of California children, in my opinion.

  3. Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

    Can an Ed Source columnist please do an article on if project based learning (the way it is taught in most schools) is actually regressing the learning of math. I believe testing is being pulled (benchmarks at many or all schools) on report cards, and I believe that the Common Core math mandated standards are not being taught well or covered well at most schools and especially at the low income low preforming schools. Project … Read More

    Can an Ed Source columnist please do an article on if project based learning (the way it is taught in most schools) is actually regressing the learning of math. I believe testing is being pulled (benchmarks at many or all schools) on report cards, and I believe that the Common Core math mandated standards are not being taught well or covered well at most schools and especially at the low income low preforming schools.

    Project based learning may be a “feel good” thing, but wasn’t it suppose to be used in alternative high schools? You see, in the elementary setting, aren’t the children suppose to cover the concepts well and in great depth. This might be done in say 5% of project based learning at wealthy schools, but what about he middle of the road school.

    I say, math has been regressed and it is in a real bad way right now.

    To combat this terrible state of affairs, I suggest Ed Source look at IXL math on line program. I had to buy it for my child and it uses simple tests to grow the knowledge in my opinion.

    I say, project based learning is bad if used over 40-50% in grades 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

    California is ranked 42nd out of 50 states, so with the push for project based learning we are going to drop to maybe 45th, and the only reason why not even worse is lots of parents, the low income and the wealthy are very concerned with the lack of math education in year 2013-2014 and in the last year of 2014-2015, so we supplement, supplement, and we supplement as much as we possibly can during this

    math

    crisis

    time

    in

    California.

    I was a “Concerned Parent,” and now I am a “Very Concerned Parent.”

    I think if the Ed Source reporters were to go undercover and interview teachers who are assured their identies will remain private that the information spoken would be alarming.

    Can an Ed Source reporter do this please….

  4. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    My child was involved in PBL classrooms last year. He found the experience, as he related to me, very frustrating. The 2 core teachers integrated the project to include both science and social studies so that only one group for both cohort classes was needed. One teacher did an excellent job of directing the groups and the other did a terrible job. That teacher just left the kids to their own devices. As … Read More

    My child was involved in PBL classrooms last year. He found the experience, as he related to me, very frustrating. The 2 core teachers integrated the project to include both science and social studies so that only one group for both cohort classes was needed. One teacher did an excellent job of directing the groups and the other did a terrible job. That teacher just left the kids to their own devices. As such, it was a daily struggle for my son to work with one member of the group who failed to meaningfully participate. This required that the other members take up the slack. As the weeks went by the situation grew worse and became more and more frustrating. He ended up angry with his group, the one teacher and the experience in general. Whether it was a positive learning experience for him is questionable. My impression is that PBL can be an opportunity for kids to learn in a group setting or an opportunity for a teacher to slack off and leave kids to do the teacher’s job. I would not recommend this approach unless it is supervised by an effective practitioner like the gentleman in this article. But then again, a poor teacher is more likely to do poorly with any pedagogical approach.

  5. Concerned parent 1 year ago1 year ago

    As a parent, I believe project based learning must include individual testing to check for understanding on an individual student basis, otherwise parents will move their children to private or public charter schools that do not embrace project based learning. I am very upset that children in elementary schools are being experimented on with a flawed project based methodology of pedagogy in that the group grading is going on and vast teacher subjectivity in grade … Read More

    As a parent, I believe project based learning must include individual testing to check for understanding on an individual student basis, otherwise parents will move their children to private or public charter schools that do not embrace project based learning.

    I am very upset that children in elementary schools are being experimented on with a flawed project based methodology of pedagogy in that the group grading is going on and vast teacher subjectivity in grade inflation grades.

    This means that we , in c
    California, especially for low income, low performing children, need to bring back individual state testing such as the star test so that schools and teachers can be checking children for their individual understanding of subject matter and not blending grades I not a four or five student hodge Podgorica of a group grade on this or that.

    California is currently ranked forty second in learning outw of fifty states. California is regressing in teaching practices that are effective, and, floundering by avoidance of mandated testing to check the efficacy of learning in elementary schools.

    solution?.. Mandate no more than fifty percent of any project based teaching in any classroom, and do not trust the educational establishment at all.

    Concerned Parent

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Yo: Concerned Parent If you ever deice to check any actual research to try and back up some of your opinions (a painful process I expect) you will find that teachers' grades are more accurate assessments of student progress, as they actually reflect what students are doing in the classroom, than any test. Yes, CA is in the bottom decile in NAEP performance (what you were referring to), but so it also in the bottom decile … Read More

      Yo: Concerned Parent

      If you ever deice to check any actual research to try and back up some of your opinions (a painful process I expect) you will find that teachers’ grades are more accurate assessments of student progress, as they actually reflect what students are doing in the classroom, than any test. Yes, CA is in the bottom decile in NAEP performance (what you were referring to), but so it also in the bottom decile (bottom ten) in funding per child (though Prop 30 may have raised that a bit), class sizes, number of nurse, librarians and counselors. You cannot expect to be in the bottom ten in a number of significant indicators of investment in education and also expect the system to be high in performance.

      One other key area where CA is #1 is in the number of children living in poverty. That doesn’t help.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        I remember way back when I was doing my student teaching in Oakland. Three kids, members of varsity teams, were failing my classes. I was paid a visit by an administrator who told me in no uncertain terms that my student teaching relied upon succeeding in passing these kids, implying that whether they passed or not was a matter for me to ensure and that their effort wasn't of consequence. In the end I gave … Read More

        I remember way back when I was doing my student teaching in Oakland. Three kids, members of varsity teams, were failing my classes. I was paid a visit by an administrator who told me in no uncertain terms that my student teaching relied upon succeeding in passing these kids, implying that whether they passed or not was a matter for me to ensure and that their effort wasn’t of consequence. In the end I gave them the grade they deserved and called his bluff. My understanding was that admin changed the grade after the fact.

        Large data-based conclusions on grades will reflect an averaging effect. But any fool can see that teachers arrive at grades for many different reasons from curves to whims, even political and social prejudices. It may be something as simple and understandable as elevating the grade of a lessor student for effort and downgrading a better student for lack thereof – the grade being part of the lesson to take home. My son recently started with a math tutor who told me that he was shocked to earn my son missed an A by only 1 point when he was assessed at one to two years behind. I don’t know who you are trying to fool, Gary. Maybe yourself.

        • Concerned parent 1 year ago1 year ago

          Thanks Don, Gary seems, in my opinion to have opinions that are slanted to embrace the common teacher union propaganda. I say Gary is often wrong and Don, you bring up a valuable point...that of assessment. can parents band together to bring back assessments for math in all,schools? PBL practices do not assess well for elementary and middle schools and.. … Read More

          Thanks Don,

          Gary seems, in my opinion to have opinions that are slanted to embrace the common teacher union propaganda.

          I say Gary is often wrong and Don, you bring up a valuable point…that of assessment.

          can parents band together to bring back assessments for math in all,schools?

          PBL practices do not assess well for elementary and middle schools and..

          N
          O
          I
          T
          A
          L
          F
          N
          I

          E
          D
          A
          R
          G

          Is prevalent, and teachers who use pbl are doing grade inflation in elementary and middle schools but the parents are kept in the dark,,and the CDE has no oversight or Ed code written on this PBL method of experimental,teaching…

          This, of course created a chasam between those parents that can afford tutoring and those who cannot…

          And the poor children will not be able to getmamgood job in the future in California due to the lack of simple mandated math

          benchmarks…
          .
          .
          .
          Assessments…
          .
          .
          .
          And better teacher oversight

          .
          .
          .
          No one cares

      • Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

        You write "Yo" back to me and try to assume that I do not know that tests are valuable. I say, you are not accurate in your thoughts. We, as a state, are, in my opinion, doing an experiment on teaching children with a new roll out of common core and a new thinking of how teachers need to change all things to teach it. I say, our entire state of California is suffering from not doing … Read More

        You write “Yo” back to me and try to assume that I do not know that tests are valuable.

        I say, you are not accurate in your thoughts.

        We, as a state, are, in my opinion, doing an experiment on teaching children with a new roll out of common core and a new thinking of how teachers need to change all things to teach it.

        I say, our entire state of California is suffering from not doing enough checking on if students have mastered key concepts of math. To check for understanding, it is my opinion, we as a state must use simple tests.

        We cannot rely on group grades in esoteric ways to have teachers subjectively award or rather, give, inflated grades.

        That’s right, “Yo Ravani,” the grades are inflated in year 2013-2014 and even more in year 2014-2015, because the teachers are having, “Yo,” trouble in knowing how to check for understanding with the fuzzy math approaches in many math publishers materials.

        and, “Yo,” the old tride and true workbooks are now being not used so, in my opinion, the teachers are rudderless and …

        “Yo,” simple curriculum maps are not being used and sequence for math is lost often because many a school district have been too cheap to order in new Common Core math publications (or demand they be used with efficacy), due to a wishy washy

        Yo Adrian , kind of Rocky Balboa approach to all things,

        Good Fighter, but maybe not so swell at math.

        So next time you try to pick a fight with words with a parent, why not you do some research and ask around.

        Ding Ding,

        Round Over

        Parent wins by knockout.

        And, in all seriousness, it is my opinion, California has a severe issue with grade inflation due to group grading with project based learning, and a shying away from the use of the old tride and true tests and quizzes.

        Concerned Parent (With Strong Jab)

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          YO: So CA has "grade inflation?" Inflated from what to what? And "evidence" for your opinion is what? And teachers are giving grades "subjectively?" Teachers don't use states tests for grades. The grades are always subjective. They are based on what the teachers, in their credentialed and professional judgment, think they ought to be based on. As a matter of fact tests are also subjective. Read some of the posts on this site about setting "cut scores" for … Read More

          YO:

          So CA has “grade inflation?” Inflated from what to what? And “evidence” for your opinion is what?

          And teachers are giving grades “subjectively?” Teachers don’t use states tests for grades. The grades are always subjective. They are based on what the teachers, in their credentialed and professional judgment, think they ought to be based on.

          As a matter of fact tests are also subjective. Read some of the posts on this site about setting “cut scores” for SBAC. People do that. It’s subjective with an overlay of attempted objectivity. The questions and answers are written, triaged, and finally selected by people. Did you think that came from on high carved on stone tablets?

          And teachers are solely responsible for those grades. It is enshrined in Ed Code. A teacher’s grades can only be changed of there is evidence of: bribery, teacher’s inability to perform the professional task (typically illness), or transcription error. The latter means a teacher puts a “C” (for example) in their grade book (computer spread sheet) and it is misread or the wrong bubble is filled in and the student’s report card (or transcript) reads a “D.”

          You may well be a parent, but you are not a teacher.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            BTW: The “Yo” (the first time anyway) was just an accident. Somehow I dropped the “u.” Chill out, it’s healthier.

          • Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

            Parents are their child's most important teacher, not school teachers. I am for the STAR TEST or some kind of test for schools so we parents can know if a school is teaching well. Grades have been inflated and this is occurring because teachers are using more subjective methods of grading instead of the old fashioned quizzes and weekly tests in subjects such as math. I focus on math because it is an area of true regression of learning … Read More

            Parents are their child’s most important teacher, not school teachers.

            I am for the STAR TEST or some kind of test for schools so we parents can know if a school is teaching well.

            Grades have been inflated and this is occurring because teachers are using more subjective methods of grading

            instead of the old fashioned quizzes and weekly tests in subjects such as math.

            I focus on math because it is an area of true regression of learning in California, statewide.

            Teacher know this is occurring.

            Let us tie teacher reviews to SmarterBalance/CAASPP or to some other test.

            Teacher do not wish to be held accountable for growth in learning.

            IT is true madness to argue against the use of tests, old fashion tests.

            but, California is a radical place.

            over 3 billion pushed and poured into Common Core when other states are making changes to alter the methods of common core math teaching.

            In California, the global warming has harmed the thinking of many an educator who is afraid to use data or create it to

            pull away from subjective grades.

            If studies were done, those students deemed with the cutest smile might well receive a higher grade as they move through the grade levels in California.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Concerned: Ah, I understand now. "If studies were done," they would confirm your views. But the studies are not done. How inconvenient. You say teachers are not using "old fashioned quizzes and weekly tests." Who says they're not? More studies not done? And as for the subjective nature of it all, who do you think made up the weekly quizzes and tests? Space aliens? Most teachers I am aware of made up (just like quizzes and tests) a … Read More

              Concerned:

              Ah, I understand now. “If studies were done,” they would confirm your views. But the studies are not done. How inconvenient.

              You say teachers are not using “old fashioned quizzes and weekly tests.” Who says they’re not? More studies not done? And as for the subjective nature of it all, who do you think made up the weekly quizzes and tests? Space aliens?

              Most teachers I am aware of made up (just like quizzes and tests) a scoring rubric with criteria expected for project based learning. These criteria were explained to students as they began the project and reminded of them frequently. Then, at the end, the teacher could use the rubric to create a grade (as all classroom grades are created) based on the criteria. This way it made sense to the students and no one is caught by surprise. The rubric and criteria process can be quite formal and involved or more casual and simple. The latter is likely more appropriate for lower grades.

              Again, you make unfounded claims about “grade inflation” and yet make no effort to explain what that means or what evidence is available to back up the claim. So, one more time, inflated from what to what? And based on what evidence?

              And “parents are a student’s most important teacher.” I won’t argue with that.

              BTW, have you considered home schooling?

            • Concerned parent 1 year ago1 year ago

              Dear Mr. ravioli, PBL learning is OK if used for say 25% of the school year. science projects are a form of project based learning, been done for years. What is going on now ,in my opinion, is criminal in that some project based schools do not use textbooks,or workbooks and the teacher flounders and precious learning for the childmismlostmovermamyear. Thus, to combat lost in space teachers, parent must demand accountability testing. Tests must be a part of learning , … Read More

              Dear Mr. ravioli,

              PBL learning is OK if used for say 25% of the school year.

              science projects are a form of project based learning, been done for years.

              What is going on now ,in my opinion, is criminal in that some project based schools do not use textbooks,or workbooks and the teacher flounders and precious learning for the childmismlostmovermamyear.

              Thus, to combat lost in space teachers, parent must demand accountability testing.

              Tests must be a part of learning , individual,tests free of cheating.

              Quizzes too.

              Pbl is bad when in elementary schools if done with group work and rubrics over 25% of the year.

              The schools belong to the parents so listen to us and stop being so closed minded.

              Testing , individual testing is data.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Concerned: "Mr. Ravioli"…Really? Haven't heard that one since about 3rd grade. Kind of frames the "discussion." So PBL should not be used more than "25% of the time." This is getting tiresome. What do you base that on? Same with your assertions about group learning. PBLs can often be considered authentic or holistic assessments in themselves. They are likely to give a more accurate and nuanced picture of student learning. Right along with teacher made quizzes and teacher … Read More

              Concerned:

              “Mr. Ravioli”…Really? Haven’t heard that one since about 3rd grade. Kind of frames the “discussion.”

              So PBL should not be used more than “25% of the time.” This is getting tiresome. What do you base that on? Same with your assertions about group learning.

              PBLs can often be considered authentic or holistic assessments in themselves. They are likely to give a more accurate and nuanced picture of student learning. Right along with teacher made quizzes and teacher made tests. They are much more aligned with content students are getting in class as opposed to a test conceived by a publishing house a thousand miles away.

              Actually the schools are “owned” by the citizens of the community, who are duly and democratically represented by the local Board. They have a place on every agenda for parents and members of the community to present their views. They, by law, have various committees where parents have a seat at the table. Get active! School boards, operating under statute, give direction to management who give direction to employees. Parents are not directly in that “chain of command.” If you want to be convince enough of your neighbors to vote for you for the Board or get an administrative credential (along with a recommend 7 to 8 years in the classroom first). I’d start planning immediately.

              And, it might be added, that parents are no more citizens and taxpayers than are local school employees.

              BTW: You likely have public hospital nearby. Are you tempted to march down there and tell the surgeons that they should use surgical staples only 25% of the time and old fashioned stitches the remainder? Or, as I might guess, do you leave it up to the professionals? Of course, we do now have the Vaxxer crowd who do question the professionals and put the entire community at risk, so maybe that’s not a timely metaphor. Or maybe it is?

              I know of no schools that are “PBL schools,” and to the extent they don’t use textbooks it may be that the last set of texts in CA were often not very good (particularly in reading) and had far too many workbooks and worksheets. Another thing is CA has for years been too underfunded for districts to frequently upgrade texts and then there’s the fact that publishing companies have not yet caught up with Common Core.

            • Concerned parent 1 year ago1 year ago

              there are elementary schools that dive into a head on collision in my opinion with the teachers experimenting on howmtomteach pbl the vast majority of the day, week, months, and year,mand this ARTICLE ,YES THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT SUCH A SCHOOL THAT IS THROWING THE HAT INTO THE RING TO PBL EACH DAY ...yes or no, And it is in my opinion an experiment ,and all experiments need to test data, but if grades are … Read More

              there are elementary schools that dive into a head on collision in my opinion with the teachers experimenting on howmtomteach pbl the vast majority of the day, week, months, and year,mand this ARTICLE ,YES THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT SUCH A SCHOOL THAT IS THROWING THE HAT INTO THE RING TO PBL EACH DAY …yes or no,

              And it is in my opinion an experiment ,and all experiments need to test data, but if grades are group then this is a fuzzy PBL method,

              And math regresses real real bad

              Ask around…

              Gather data

              And workbooks, those tools of the teacher trade are not being followed so vast issues with regression of math going on now year 2015 and

              This is true, ask teachers privately….

              I ask lots,of teachers to post on my views.

              Math is regressing in skills for the majority of California.

              Let Testing prove I am wrong

  6. Thom Markham 1 year ago1 year ago

    To readers of the comments below: I just took the time to read the comments from the critics of PBL--that it's a 'fad', a 'failure', and is unfair to hardworking students. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, as Tyler points out, PBL has to be done well. If not, it can fail, and badly. So if you're interested in PBL, do it right and enjoy the breakthrough results you can get in student … Read More

    To readers of the comments below: I just took the time to read the comments from the critics of PBL–that it’s a ‘fad’, a ‘failure’, and is unfair to hardworking students. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, as Tyler points out, PBL has to be done well. If not, it can fail, and badly. So if you’re interested in PBL, do it right and enjoy the breakthrough results you can get in student performance and engagement.

    Replies

    • Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

      Yes! Yes! Yes! Project based learning is a fad if it is used more than say 30% in a year. It is bad for teachers to use group grades in elementary schools and in middle schools for more than 30% of the time. Alternative high schools can do what they wish. I am sick of the push for people to like project based learning. We in California need desperately to get the State Board of Education to mandate some kind … Read More

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

      Project based learning is a fad if it is used more than say 30% in a year.

      It is bad for teachers to use group grades in elementary schools and in middle schools for more than 30% of the time.

      Alternative high schools can do what they wish.

      I am sick of the push for people to like project based learning.

      We in California need desperately to get the State Board of Education to mandate some kind of testing so parents and children will not be left in the dark with regard to knowing how well they do in all subjects.

      Testing is good.

      We really need it.

      Do project based things but individually test all children.

      Who can be against this, I ask?

    • Concerned Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

      You say,

      PBL is wonderful if done well.

      I say,

      To know if PBL is done well, we must individually test all children

      Also, let us be very specific. PBL is fine for high school, usually alternative high schools.

      PBL is bad for elementary if done more than 30%

      bad for jr high if students lack remedial help in math and other subjects

      let us refine our definition of the grade level of pbl and

      let us ensure testing is done individually so that

      sweet smiles are not given plus marks.

  7. Thom Markham 1 year ago1 year ago

    One of the best comments I’ve seen on PBL. PBL is not a ‘quick fix’ but a process that unfolds as students and teachers go deeper.

    Replies

    • Steven Nelson 1 year ago1 year ago

      I’ve seen this guy’s work as a school board member. During this PBL exercise, he was also able to help raise the Bubble Test (CST = API) results of his school from a comparitive-schools one star to four stars. (let me use the new post-CST jargon). And he used some of the youngest teaching staff in the District (check the school ave. teacher salary vs. distirct average)

      SFUSD is getting a good, young school administrator.

  8. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    The new UC admissions policy at present is 9% statewide path and 9% ELC path, not 4% ELC. That is expected to change sooner as UC cannot accommodate that many students.

  9. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    Re UC CA policy of admitting the top 4% from any high school: "The 4%ers have higher college grades on average than students in the traditional group…" "The 4% policy actually did identify students with hidden academic potential…" "Irrespective of college grades the 4%ers turned out to be more chive in civic and cultural event in their universities and university towns..." "…the 4%ers were more likely to head to graduate programs after getting BAs…" Flacks, Richard (2004) "Learning and Academic … Read More

    Re UC CA policy of admitting the top 4% from any high school:

    “The 4%ers have higher college grades on average than students in the traditional group…”

    “The 4% policy actually did identify students with hidden academic potential…”

    “Irrespective of college grades the 4%ers turned out to be more chive in civic and cultural event in their universities and university towns…”

    “…the 4%ers were more likely to head to graduate programs after getting BAs…”

    Flacks, Richard (2004) “Learning and Academic Engagement in the Multiversity:…”

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Basically, the Flack study on the UC system merely confirms what we know about success in college: teacher given grades and the resulting class standing count much more that either SAT or ACT results.

    • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

      To be fair even the report authors state that it is too early to answer Floyd's question. From the same study referenced aboveboard: "These findings support the view that high school performance is an excellent predictor of college success, and that efforts to recruit students from the full range of California high schools may help us fashion student bodies that are more socially diverse and more academically engaged than is possible when admissions criteria are … Read More

      To be fair even the report authors state that it is too early to answer Floyd’s question. From the same study referenced aboveboard:

      “These findings support the view that high school performance is an excellent predictor of college success, and that efforts to recruit students from the full range of California high schools may help us fashion student bodies that are more socially diverse and more academically engaged than is possible when admissions criteria are based only on grades and test scores. Our data analysis so far, however, must be considered pre- liminary—we need to examine how ELC students from low performing high schools have fared at UC in order to more fully assess this approach.”

      • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

        Good point, Paul. Here is a study that is more recent. Rather than focus on the 4% group it looks as HS GPA as a predictor of college success. As such, it recommends against a reliance on the traditional ACT and SAT. It actually concludes that the test scores have a "slight but statically significant" advantage in predicting freshman grades, but that 70% of college success is due to factors that are "unknown." So, for this … Read More

        Good point, Paul.

        Here is a study that is more recent. Rather than focus on the 4% group it looks as HS GPA as a predictor of college success. As such, it recommends against a reliance on the traditional ACT and SAT. It actually concludes that the test scores have a “slight but statically significant” advantage in predicting freshman grades, but that 70% of college success is due to factors that are “unknown.” So, for this study, the tests are fractionally better for the 30% that is known and predictable. For the freshman year! But, not for much else. It is from 2007, a bit more recent. It’s been a while since I poked around in this area, but I do not have any indications the assertions of the two studies, the 2004 or 2007, have changed in any significant way. UC admittance is becoming more and more chancy for any but the wealthy and completion is even more at risk. For financial reasons and not academic one. As of late, CA students have less and less of an “instate” advantage. It appears that the UC leadership is often saying “look over here” at the number of kids who have to take a one semester remedial course, don’t look over there at our tuition policies, our out of state preference policies, our exorbitantly paid executives policy, and our even more exorbitantly paid football coaches.

        VALIDITY OF HIGH-SCHOOL GRADES IN PREDICTING STUDENT SUCCESS BEYOND THE FRESHMAN YEAR: High-School Record vs. Standardized Tests as
        Indicators of Four-Year College Outcomes*
        Saul Geiser
        Center for Studies in Higher Education University of California, Berkeley
        Maria Veronica Santelices
        Graduate School of Education University of California, Berkeley
        Copyright 2007 Saul Geiser and Maria Veronica Santelices, all rights reserved.
        ABSTRACT
        High-school grades are often viewed as an unreliable criterion for college admissions, owing to differences in grading standards across high schools, while standardized tests are seen as methodologically rigorous, providing a more uniform and valid yardstick for assessing student ability and achievement. The present study challenges that conventional view. The study finds that high-school grade point average (HSGPA) is consistently the best predictor not only of freshman grades in college, the outcome indicator most often employed in predictive-validity studies, but of four-year college outcomes as well…
        Because freshman grades provide only a short-term indicator of college performance, the present study tracked four-year college outcomes, including cumulative college grades and graduation, for the same sample in order to examine the relative contribution of high-school record and standardized tests in predicting longer- term college performance. Key findings are: (1) HSGPA is consistently the strongest predictor of four-year college outcomes for all academic disciplines, campuses and freshman cohorts in the UC sample; (2) surprisingly, the predictive weight associated with HSGPA increases after the freshman year, accounting for a greater proportion of variance in cumulative fourth-year than first-year college grades; and (3) as an admissions criterion, HSGPA has less adverse impact than standardized tests on disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          Gary, what would you say in a unique case such as Lowell High School in San Francisco. Let's say the average GPA in public middle school is 3.00. To get into Lowell, you need 3.8-3.9 academically, depending on test scores. With a 4.00, you can fall to the 86-89 percentile range and with a B in 7th Grade, 90-93, with 2 or 1 B in the first half of 8th Grade, 94-96, … Read More

          Gary, what would you say in a unique case such as Lowell High School in San Francisco. Let’s say the average GPA in public middle school is 3.00. To get into Lowell, you need 3.8-3.9 academically, depending on test scores. With a 4.00, you can fall to the 86-89 percentile range and with a B in 7th Grade, 90-93, with 2 or 1 B in the first half of 8th Grade, 94-96, similar to the chart for SAT/GPA for the UC System. This represents the top 15% or so of middle school students as many go from private schools to Lowell, 29% at last count. Let’s say the average who don’t go to Lowell is 2.8, as the top students nearly all go to Lowell. In high school, their average GPA is 3.00. Lowell students also have an average of 3.00. A student at Lowell with a 3.00 would probably have close to a 4.00 at another high school, and most believe the GPA at Lowell runs up to a point lower, meaning a 2.5 would be a 3.5, a 2.9 would be a 3.9, and 3.5 GPAs probably a 4.00. You’re taking grades of poeple who failed to make it into the top school vs. those who did.

          It is similar to the CBA vs. NBA, a dominant CBA player will be at the bottom of the NBA.

          DO you think an exception should be made for Lowell? My argument is colleges should track the average GPA at their school, so Cal should find out if their average GPA is 3.00 and the average admitted from Lowell High School gets a 3.6 at Cal, and the average from Mission High School a 2.6 at Cal, then they should adjust it until it is an accurate predictor and make it easier for Lowell kids to get in. If this isn’t the case, they should not.

          This would make it fair between high schools. Obviously SAT Scores and extracurriculars are also factors, but if the average is above average from a certain school, more should be accepted from that school, and if the average is below average, they should demand more from applicants from said school. This would make it completely fair.

          • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

            Doesn’t seem like there’s a clear win for any politician to push that focused of a change. I wonder if our statewide information system for California education is working well enough and is sophisticated enough to even do that type of analysis. I’d rather see California expand access for all as we attract all colors of dreamers.

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) isn't intended to be fair in the context of what you consider fair, Floyd - that is, whom so ever has the highest grades and test scores combined. It is a program designed to increase access to the UC system for students from lower performing schools and that has to happen at the expense of higher performing students such as those from Lowell or any other high performing school. … Read More

            Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) isn’t intended to be fair in the context of what you consider fair, Floyd – that is, whom so ever has the highest grades and test scores combined. It is a program designed to increase access to the UC system for students from lower performing schools and that has to happen at the expense of higher performing students such as those from Lowell or any other high performing school. This system was developed as an alternative to outlawed race-based admissions, quotas under Affirmative Action. The idea is to look at applicants for ELC admission in terms of their performance relative to the opportunities they are afforded at any given school. Each eligible ELC school has a benchmarked GPA to determine the top 12% who are eligible to apply, (as opposed to the 9% who are guaranteed admission at a UC campus). But every rising senior mut maintain a 3.0 or above, even if that 3.0 might only be a 2.0 elsewhere. Students should not be held responsible for the quality, financing or the climate of their schools. There are structural impediments to learning and achieving which do not make the college competition a level playing field.

            One among several problems with Gary’s contention about the supremacy of GPAs is the fact that, while some students do poorly on tests and better on grades for whatever reasons, e.g.test phobia, poor preparation, etc, other students do better on tests than on grades because some they are totally bored by the crappy teachers they are stuck with.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Affirmative Action is illegal in California. This should be changed. Those who show they worked hard should advance. They should consider San Francisco as if it is one school in that case. Everyone has a chance to go to Lowell and Lowell is 44% free and reduced lunch. It's not all rich people by a long shot. If a kid in SF wants to argue they are in the … Read More

              Affirmative Action is illegal in California. This should be changed. Those who show they worked hard should advance. They should consider San Francisco as if it is one school in that case. Everyone has a chance to go to Lowell and Lowell is 44% free and reduced lunch. It’s not all rich people by a long shot. If a kid in SF wants to argue they are in the top 9%, they should be diligent enough to get the grades to get into Lowell and be willing to challenge themselves in high school. Kids not at Lowell either didn’t work that hard in high school, are more into arts than school, aren’t that smart, or intentionally wanted to not be challenged in high school and wanted to take it easy. They are not top 9% kids in character, brains, effort or ability. They can go to State or a UC if they really earn it but it shouldn’t be easier for them to get into a UC as they are not a disadvantaged subgroup they are a group that worked less hard or didn’t choose a challenge. This is an outrage

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Also, grades alone judging kids gives teachers dictator-like power. I have had teachers have a problem with my kids or me personally and seen that bias them. Also, there is a contingent who dislike Lowell, and if you mention it, they try to convince you Lowell is no better than another school, and then that if you don't agree they dislike you. You can ask what does it take to get an … Read More

              Also, grades alone judging kids gives teachers dictator-like power. I have had teachers have a problem with my kids or me personally and seen that bias them. Also, there is a contingent who dislike Lowell, and if you mention it, they try to convince you Lowell is no better than another school, and then that if you don’t agree they dislike you. You can ask what does it take to get an A, tutoring, hard work, I’ll help my kid do anything, and they’ll say in my opinion, they’re a B student, even if they are in the top 3% statewide on English and Math. They won’t merely tell you they think that but your child can work hard or find a solution. They will tell you you’re wrong for trying to find a solution and should just accept it. Not all teachers are like this, but some are. I think tests are far more accurate. I love AP Tests. They should have a test in each subject at the end of high school and levels published, and you can’t get the top jobs not requiring a degree without a decent score on this like an 85, not just the passing 70. This will put pressure on kids not just to pass a test to please a teacher short term but to learn in a way they actually remember the material, long-term. We need tests which serve as morally neutral barometers of human goodness/ability/diligence. These are more accurate.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Floyd, you seem to be saying the opposite of what you believe when you say Affirmative Action should be legal. If you support Affirmative Action than you support a double standard college admissions process that admits some students of color at a lower standard than others. Try to say what you mean and mean what you say. To claim only students from one particular school have character is, an expression of disrespect and derision to … Read More

              Floyd, you seem to be saying the opposite of what you believe when you say Affirmative Action should be legal. If you support Affirmative Action than you support a double standard college admissions process that admits some students of color at a lower standard than others. Try to say what you mean and mean what you say.

              To claim only students from one particular school have character is, an expression of disrespect and derision to all hard-working involved students everywhere. The values and character displayed in your comment are what you should reconsider. I’m not for quotas, but I am for giving students at every high school an opportunity to go to UC.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Don, I am not saying only kids at Lowell work hard. I am saying on average, they work far harder, which is why they got in. The goal should be to judge how hard kids work and reward those who work the hardest, know the most, and have the most skills. Some of that is genetic but most is based on how hard you work. If you treat a 3.5 GPA … Read More

              Don, I am not saying only kids at Lowell work hard. I am saying on average, they work far harder, which is why they got in. The goal should be to judge how hard kids work and reward those who work the hardest, know the most, and have the most skills. Some of that is genetic but most is based on how hard you work. If you treat a 3.5 GPA from Lowell the same as a 3.5 GPA at Washington the same, you are not going to be equally rewarding kids based on effort. A 2.5 at Lowell is about as hard as a 3.5 at Washington. Ideally affirmative action would exist but be only a tiebreaker or slight difference and be based on income rather than race.

    • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

      Why do they say “irrespective of college grades”? I think that is the most important test to see if they appreciate the opportunity, work hard and prove they are worthy of bumping someone else. You have to have a tangible measure to see if it is accurate. The idea is they are disadvantaged but will do better in college once they get an opportunity, but it needs to be proven with facts. I have doubts.

  10. Jonathan Raymond 1 year ago1 year ago

    Love this quote! ” it’s important that you find the funding and time to allow teachers to learn, experiment, struggle, and refine their practice.”

  11. David Loertscher 1 year ago1 year ago

    One of the best things you can do for PBL is to draw upon the expertise of a teacher librarian to coteach alongside the classroom teacher. This is particular important when the children are engaging in inquiry and are reaching out into the world of information and technology. In a recent piece of research I did, the combination of these two persons raises the percentage of learners who meet or exceed adult exceptions substantially. There … Read More

    One of the best things you can do for PBL is to draw upon the expertise of a teacher librarian to coteach alongside the classroom teacher. This is particular important when the children are engaging in inquiry and are reaching out into the world of information and technology. In a recent piece of research I did, the combination of these two persons raises the percentage of learners who meet or exceed adult exceptions substantially. There are a number of teacher librarians in the San Francisco school district who know how to coteach. I hope you are fortunate enough to have one of these experts on your staff. It will make a huge difference.

  12. Dave 1 year ago1 year ago

    Project Based education is neither new nor a fad; rather a pedagogical vehicle to enable students to succeed with rigorous academics which are correlated to real-world applications. It is learning via doing and best accomplished across academic disciplines. In the non-academic world a job requires the application of ELA and Math skills at higher levels of application and communication. Project based learning in its best application incorporates these modalities of learning, performance, with … Read More

    Project Based education is neither new nor a fad; rather a pedagogical vehicle to enable students to succeed with rigorous academics which are correlated to real-world applications. It is learning via doing and best accomplished across academic disciplines. In the non-academic world a job requires the application of ELA and Math skills at higher levels of application and communication. Project based learning in its best application incorporates these modalities of learning, performance, with measurable outcomes. It is the essence of how our academic subjects where designed and discovered. There was a need, typically business or merchant related although it includes philosophical and analytical questions from observed phenomenon, and people of the time, as is true for today, came up with model such as geometry, algebra and codified language to solve the problem or explain the situation. PBL guides students to creatively solve problems and learn the academic essentials in the process. Multiple State academic standards are covered at the same time over several weeks with repetition and deeper learning throughout the year rather than one chapter at a time.

  13. Teacher 1 year ago1 year ago

    Project based learning is a fad, and a failure at that.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      And upon what, exactly, do you base that conclusion?

      • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

        In Project Based Learning you take a diligent, moral kid who studies 3-5 hours a night and cares about their education and a total irresponsible goofball who watches TV, doesn't open a book, and makes sarcastic comments during class, and you put them in the same group on the same project and they get the same grade. And teachers are instructed to try to create as mixed groups as possible. Your grade can … Read More

        In Project Based Learning you take a diligent, moral kid who studies 3-5 hours a night and cares about their education and a total irresponsible goofball who watches TV, doesn’t open a book, and makes sarcastic comments during class, and you put them in the same group on the same project and they get the same grade. And teachers are instructed to try to create as mixed groups as possible. Your grade can be based on luck. My kids have had a hard time with this. We need to credit kids who work hard and not credit those who don’t. We need to differentiate, not combine. The achievement gap is based largely on what kids do outside of school time. This forgives the kids who don’t study hard and punishes those who do. It’s a terrible fad. Kids don’t feel pressure to work harder but that they can be bailed out. This is why standardized testing is a better judge of human character than grades.

        • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

          Not all projects have to be done in groups. See the experience of the student profiled in the other article today. I think you are pointing out the potential weaknesses of group learning. But some might argue that is an opportunity to learn about real life challenges. Will teachers guide students through the challenges of working in groups? I do have first hand experience with teachers who don’t give all project members the same grade.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Students in low-income schools are more likely to be given an “A” for work that would receive a “C” in a more affluent school, according to “Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Between Groups: Lessons from Schools and Districts on the Performance Frontier,” an Education Trust study released last November. From America's Wire: "Educators cite these causes for the disparity in performance: Lowered expectations for students of color Growing income inequality and lack of resources in low-income school districts Unequal access … Read More

          Students in low-income schools are more likely to be given an “A” for work that would receive a “C” in a more affluent school, according to “Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Between Groups: Lessons from Schools and Districts on the Performance Frontier,” an Education Trust study released last November.

          From America’s Wire:

          “Educators cite these causes for the disparity in performance:
          Lowered expectations for students of color
          Growing income inequality and lack of resources in low-income school districts
          Unequal access to experienced teachers
          An increased number of “out of field” teachers instructing minority students in subjects outside their area of expertise
          Unconscious bias” by teachers and administrators.
          These factors, experts say, produce an opportunity gap for students of color.
          “A 12th-grade education in a more affluent neighborhood is not the same as the education in a less affluent neighborhood,” says Dominique Apollon, research director of the Applied Research Center, a national nonprofit with offices in New York, Chicago and Oakland, Calif. “Top students in low-income schools don’t have the opportunity to be pushed further and further.”
          Wilkins adds that “school is their best chance of escaping horrible circumstances. To cut them some slack in school is not the appropriate response to racism and poverty in American culture. It is a response that ends up being deadly to the students.””

          I agree with the structural issues discussed above. However, there’s no discussion of effort, culture or respect for education. It ignores the fact that some cultures do better DESPITE poverty. Will better teachers and higher expectations alone increase academic output of poor blacks without lifestyle change? Will better doctors and higher expectations improve one’s health without lifestyle change?

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            This is why letting in the top 4% to UC is unfair. You have to look at the individual and how hard their high school was. You need a drastic change in fundamental attitudes towards studying, a change towards the groups who are thriving. Tests are more accurate than grades. There are a lot of kids who get As and then do terrible in college. There was a valedictorian from DC … Read More

            This is why letting in the top 4% to UC is unfair. You have to look at the individual and how hard their high school was. You need a drastic change in fundamental attitudes towards studying, a change towards the groups who are thriving. Tests are more accurate than grades. There are a lot of kids who get As and then do terrible in college. There was a valedictorian from DC who flunked out of Harvard. Test scores are far more accurate judges of ability, effort and human character than are grades.

            • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

              Or one could look at the UC admissions policy as incentive to attend more ecomically diverse schools.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              In San Francisco, we have Lowell, which is 44% free and reduced lunch yet has very rich children there, 29% from private schools. Lowell is way harder. The point is to have a magnet school with the best. Do we want to discourage top students from going to Lowell? Is this really fair?

            • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

              There are a lot of corner cases like that in education policy. Districts delay math acceleration because the writers of Common Core say earlier math acceleration is bad for students. Definitely not true for all students. LCFF concentration funding is parceled out by district even though schools in some districts far exceed the concentration threshold. These types of policies can make public education come across as an uncaring machine. Perhaps … Read More

              There are a lot of corner cases like that in education policy. Districts delay math acceleration because the writers of Common Core say earlier math acceleration is bad for students. Definitely not true for all students. LCFF concentration funding is parceled out by district even though schools in some districts far exceed the concentration threshold. These types of policies can make public education come across as an uncaring machine. Perhaps an appropriate description given the level of funding and structure of public education, at least in California.

        • Steven Nelson 1 year ago1 year ago

          There is an easy was to differentiate peer work value in upper grades. Poll the group members in secret. They will gladly report who did the most work/contributed most to value. B project? Some A contributors / C and D? Kids will do pretty well, self reporting. A D contributor will be just fine getting a C or D.

          Trick from my former High School teaching days

      • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

        Today’s other article on PBL explains how it can be failure. One example mentioned was the California mission project as completed by many California 4th graders. But it seems hard to refute the best principles of learning. I mean if you want to learn to write then it’s a very good idea to write. Or whatever else it is students need to master.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          I'm not sure that the 4% rule is unfair, Floyd. While it represents an effort on the part of UC to get around Prop 209, having been enshrined by several failed challenges, consider it from a student perspective. Many students don't have any choice as to which schools they attend and it is clear that going to a particular school could reduce the chance of competing successfully against students from higher performing schools and … Read More

          I’m not sure that the 4% rule is unfair, Floyd. While it represents an effort on the part of UC to get around Prop 209, having been enshrined by several failed challenges, consider it from a student perspective. Many students don’t have any choice as to which schools they attend and it is clear that going to a particular school could reduce the chance of competing successfully against students from higher performing schools and districts. Some students may not have access to tutoring or other means to make up the difference. At least this way, while not perfect, students from any school can attain to be in the top 4% and get into a UC. And remember, not all UCs are created equal either. Berkeley and LA will still be getting the cream of the crop. In the end students who can’t cut it at a UC will be replaced by those that can.

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            4% is fair but 9% is not. In SF, however, if they don’t go to Lowell they aren’t in the top 4% of SF or in the rare cases in which they are, they shy away from challenge, something colleges claim to oppose. In Texas it’s 10%, way too high. They should make exceptions for cities with magnet schools with selective admissions.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              The other pathway, “statewide”, also chooses from the top 9%. Most students from the school you are talking about probably part of that 9%, though I’m only guessing. They can’t make exceptions for particular schools.