Having examined Lynchburg’s SOL performance broken out be race and economic disadvantage, I thought I’d take a look at Richmond.
First the baseline: Here are the statewide averages for the reading tests.
It is no surprise that Virginia’s Asian students outperform the white students who in turn outperform the black students, nor that, within each racial group, the economically disadvantaged students underperform their more affluent peers.
The question for the day, however, is Richmond’s performance in each of these categories. Here, to start, are the Richmond pass rates on the reading tests.
To simplify the comparison, let’s take the ratio of the Richmond to the State pass rates for each group.
There are several notable features in this pattern of underperformance:
- Only Richmond’s white students who are not economically disadvantaged managed to equal (actually, to slightly exceed) the state average pass rate for their peer group;
- Richmond’s Asian students did not outperform; and
- Although well below the state average for their peer group, Richmond’s economically disadvantaged black students outperformed Richmond’s economically disadvantaged white students, relative to their peer group, and outperformed those of Richmond’s black students who are not economically disadvantaged.
The outperformance of the economically disadvantaged black students comes as a surprise. Everything else being equal, the more affluent students would perform better. Perhaps the Richmond data reflect an overclassification of students as “economically disadvantaged.” We know that Richmond overclassified students as “disabled” in order to improve its scores. The same approach to economic disadvantage would allow Richmond to collect more Title I money.
Whatever the reason, the numbers here certainly are anomalous.
Turning to the math tests:
- All groups are underperforming the state average pass rates for their peer groups;
- Richmond’s Asian students again are not outperforming, albeit they are doing better here than on the reading tests;
- Relative to their respective peer groups, Richmond’s black students who are economically disadvantaged again outperform both those who are not so disadvantaged as well as the white, economically disadvantaged students.
To compare the reading and math data, let’s subtract the Richmond/State performance for reading from that for math:
Except for one group, the math score ratio is higher than the reading. That is, Richmond’s reading instruction is batting only .167 when compared to Richmond’s (already inferior) math instruction. And, for sure, there is a larger problem with the reading instruction for our economically disadvantaged Asian students.
The Bottom Line: Richmond’s math instruction is bad and its reading instruction is even worse. But, then, we already knew that.