Don’t Blame the Kids, Chapter MMXIX

The previous post shows (yet again) that lack of money does not explain Richmond’s awful SOL pass rates.

That post, however, left open the question whether Richmond’s relatively large population of economically disadvantaged (“ED”) students might explain Richmond’s poor performance, at least in part.  The VDOE database has the pass rate data to answer that question.

Let’s start by looking at the division average reading pass rates for both the ED and Not ED groups as functions of the division expenditure in excess of the Required Local Expenditure.

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The least squares line fitted to the Not ED pass rates shows an increase of 1.15% for a 100% increase in the excess expenditure but the correlation is close to vanishingly small.  The line fitted to the ED pass rates in fact shows a decrease of 3.3% per hundred but still with a correlation that would not support a conclusion anywhere except, perhaps, in a sociology thesis.

These data are consistent with the earlier analysis that showed no benefit to ED or Not ED pass rates from increased per student day school expenditures, increased instructional salaries, or increased per student number of instructional positions.

In the Not ED data, Richmond is the larger diamond with the gold fill at a pass rate of 74.3%, fourth worst in the state.  The Richmond ED rate, the larger circle with, again, the gold fill is 51.7%, second worst in Virginia.   In the previous post, Richmond’s overall SOL pass rate was 58.9%, third worst.

In short, large ED population or not, Richmond is doing a terrible job of teaching all its students.

For reference, the peer cities are in red fill, from the left Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton.  Charles City is green; Lynchburg, blue.

Eight of the ten highest-priced divisions beat the state reading average for Not ED students (green fill in the table below); four beat the ED average.

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Of the ten lowest excess divisions, six beat the average for Not ED students while nine beat the ED average.

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As to the divisions of interest, here are their pass rates expressed as differences from the averages of the division pass rates.

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The data for the other subjects are consistent with the conclusion that Richmond’s school are ineffective, for both ED and Not ED students.

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Notice that I had to expand the axis to capture Richmond’s tied-for-worst ED writing pass rate.

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The next time RPS starts (well, continues) to whine about needing more money for instruction, please be sure to ask them exactly what that money would buy, given that more money in other divisions doesn’t seem to buy anything but more taxes.