• 19 June 2024
Crunching the Numbers: Rethinking How We Measure Student Growth

Crunching the Numbers: Rethinking How We Measure Student Growth

Jan 08, 2018

New research shows that wealthy school districts don’t necessarily do as much heavy lifting as poorer districts in improving their students’ academic performance.

We’ve been going about evaluating which public schools have performed better all wrong, suggests a new study by Stanford Professor Sean Reardon.

Reardon analysed data from around 45 million students in grades 3 – 8 across 11,000 school districts nationwide and concluded that students in “many relatively high-poverty school districts,” like the Chicago School District, “appear to be learning at a faster rate than kids in other, less poor districts.”

Chicago students’ better performance is mirrored by other high-poverty districts including Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. The New York Times drew up a handy visualisation of Reardon’s findings for school districts across the U.S.

The Times also conveys a warning from the Chicago Teachers Union; despite what the data suggests, “standardized tests don’t measure the richness of a curriculum, or whether students have access to librarians and college counselors.” Reardon’s research and conclusions are not without controversy, and the professor seems to echo the CTU’s concern as well. Measuring school quality by test scores alone, he cautions, “ignores the powerful role that family background plays in shaping opportunity.”

Add to the equation whether students have access to quality, affordable tutoring, and policy wonks have more to ponder when it comes to what offering that access could mean for students in poorer school districts.

banner image from https://www.the74million.org/analysisyes-national-media-poor-schools-with-big-challenges-chicago-sometimes-work-wonders/

Analysis: Yes, National Media, Poor Schools With Big Challenges Sometimes Work Wonders https://www.the74million.org/analysisyes-national-media-poor-schools-with-big-challenges-chicago-sometimes-work-wonders/

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