Thursday, December 04, 2014
Comparing Two Similar Schools With Different Academic Outcomes.
In my previous post where I compared the Queens high school's racial composition with the "college readiness scores" and found that schools with a high concentration of black students had, on the average, the lowest "college readiness scores". As expected, I had some real push-back publishing the data. Included in this push-back was a popular and well-respected blogger who told me that I didn't account for the dumping of a large percentage of "high needs students" that made these schools low preforming. He further stated that I was using the same methods that the Bloomberg administration did by dumping "high needs students" in these struggling schools to justify their closing. Therefore, to prove that's not the case, I decided to look at two similar small schools with nearly identical SAT scores and who had single digit Asian/White populations, to see if there was dumping of "high needs students" and did it result in one school having much lower "college readiness scores" than the other.
The two schools selected was the Civic Leadership Academy (24Q293) that has a 78% Hispanic student body and the Humanities & Arts Magnet High School (29Q498) with a 80% Black student body. The three parameters I used came from the 2013-14 High School Quality Report and were the percentage of English Language Learners, Special Education students, and Free Lunch, used as a marker for poverty. The table below compares the two schools.
School.............................ELL...........Sp Ed..........Free Lunch
Humanities & Arts.................3%............20%.............58%
When one looks at the three parameters, you would think that the higher "college readiness scores" would be found with the school; with the lower percentages of the three categories. Wrong! The Civic Leadership Academy had a "college readiness score" of 28% while the Humanities & Arts Magnet school had a dismal 5% "college readiness score".
Since the SAT scores were nearly identical at 1208 at Civic leadership and 1209 at Humanities & Arts. What accounted for the different "college readiness scores" between the two schools? The answer is the educational culture of the different student population of the two schools. At the Civic Leadership Academy, the student body comes from families and communitioes that apparently value education while the student body at Humanities & Arts Magnet School come from families and communities that apparently don't seem to value education the same way.
One thing is obvious, the poor "college readiness scores" at Humanities & Arts were not due to the dumping of "high needs students" into the school but is caused by other factors. I don't pretend to know the answer but if one looks at the social-economic factors like family and community impacts on the academic outcomes of the child, it will go a long way in identifying the problems associated with poor student academic achievement.