Where Are the Data

As a further look at the performance and underperformance of Richmond’s elementary schools, here is the range of 2015 pass rates on the reading tests.

image

Here we see Carver and Fairfield Court outperforming (we’ll deal with Munford below) while Woodville underperforms at an unconscionable level.  In the meantime, the charter school, Patrick Henry, is in the middle of the pack.

The math scores paint a similar picture except that Cary joins the outperformers and Patrick Henry sinks to the bottom third.

image

The Fall membership data from VDOE tell us that Munford, the green point, is blessed with a large population of more affluent kids while the other leaders, blue with Carver to the left, are not. 

image

Woodville, with 79% economically disadvantaged students, is the orange point.

Here is the same graph for the math tests.  Cary joins the leaders as the left-hand blue point.

image

For sure, the economic status of the students does not explain these data.

Here is the dataset.

School Name

% ED

Reading

Math

Bellevue Elementary

61%

64%

73%

Blackwell Elementary

53%

53%

66%

Broad Rock Elementary

70%

81%

83%

Chimborazo Elementary

68%

50%

57%

E.S.H. Greene Elementary

73%

55%

71%

Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary

68%

63%

68%

Fairfield Court Elementary

84%

88%

90%

G.H. Reid Elementary

65%

49%

51%

George Mason Elementary

81%

43%

61%

George W. Carver Elementary

71%

98%

97%

Ginter Park Elementary

58%

63%

79%

J.B. Fisher Elementary

42%

83%

90%

J.E.B. Stuart Elementary

69%

72%

80%

J.L. Francis Elementary

68%

59%

69%

John B. Cary Elementary

69%

72%

93%

Linwood Holton Elementary

29%

74%

69%

Mary Munford Elementary

11%

90%

91%

Miles Jones Elementary

70%

61%

70%

Oak Grove/Bellemeade Elementary

75%

41%

56%

Overby-Sheppard Elementary

68%

48%

62%

Patrick Henry School Of Science And Arts

31%

67%

65%

Southampton Elementary

54%

73%

75%

Swansboro Elementary

69%

52%

51%

Westover Hills Elementary

64%

53%

68%

William Fox Elementary

16%

85%

82%

Woodville Elementary

79%

29%

30%

The data do raise some questions:

  • Where is VDOE?  Where is their study that explains the over- and under- and mediocre-performance of these schools?  What are they doing to transmit that information to the other schools?
  • Carver and Fairfield and Cary (in math) are doing something right (or cheating extravagantly); what is it and why are the other schools not doing it?
  • Patrick Henry has absorbed a lot of money and energy but is not getting results.  What is wrong there?
  • Where are the Woodville parents?  Why are they not at the School Board every meeting to demand that RPS stop abusing their kids?
  • Where is VCU?  To date, their major “contributions” have been a study to validate the VGLA that, upon examination, is a whitewash and the hiring of Richmond’s failed Superintendent as an Associate Professor in “Educational Leadership.”  Perhaps they could do something constructive for a change.

A Tale of Two Schools

The Wall Street Journal this morning (Paywall!  If this link does not work, try Google and “tale of two schools one building”) has a tale of a charter and public school sharing a building and challenging student populations in New York.  The success of the charter, if real, is astounding.

All of which raises the question why our own Patrick Henry is not doing better.

image

image

And, for that matter, what are Carver and Fairfield Court doing to achieve such excellent results?

 

Note added later in the day: Jim Bacon makes the point that the mediocre performance at PH is not an argument against charter schools: “The idea of charter schools is to foster experimentation. Not all experiments succeed. But you don’t know if a new approach will work until you try it. The good thing about charter schools is that if they fail and lose support, they will shut down. Conventional public schools are a monopoly.”

I’ll concede that, but real value is there only if somebody investigates and finds out why PH is not doing better.  Given the generally lousy state of RPS, the PH experiment should be charmed.

Yet another interesting issue is the superb results coming from Carver and Fairfield.  Either there is something VERY good going on there (with two of the most challenging populations in the City) or they have perfected cheating on the SOLs.  I wonder whether an independent look at those schools might teach RPS a thing or two.

Disbursements vs. Economic Disadvantage

Cleaning up the files from the examination (here also) of SOL performance vs. disbursements and percentage of economically disadvantaged students, I noticed that there’s room to look for another correlation: disbursements vs. economic disadvantage.

Recalling that the disbursements here are 2014 data (2015 data won’t be out until they are almost stale), and do not include facilities, debt, and contingency, the result is:

image

The fitted line suggests that a 10% increase in the population of economically disadvantaged students is associated with an increased disbursement of $311 per student, but the R2 of 4.7% suggests a very weak correlation.  Richmond is the gold square.

At first glance, it appears that the high-priced divisions might be increasing the slope.  Removing the divisions >$15,000 (Arlington, Highland, Greensville, Alexandria, Surry, Falls Church, Bath, Sussex, and Charlottesville) gives this:

image

The slope decreases only slightly to $276 per 10% and the R2 doubles. 

For sure, some divisions with large numbers of economically disadvantaged students are not spending much money on their schools.  But Richmond is not one of those divisions.

Here are the data:

Division Name

%ED

$/ADM

Reading

Math

Accomack County

59%

 $10,486

71.5%

74.5%

Albemarle County

28%

 $12,478

79.8%

77.3%

Alexandria City

57%

 $18,151

70.8%

68.8%

Alleghany County

54%

 $11,109

74.5%

72.5%

Amelia County

41%

 $10,117

73.0%

74.8%

Amherst County

56%

 $10,739

77.2%

78.1%

Appomattox County

46%

 $  8,964

81.8%

77.6%

Arlington County

34%

 $20,028

86.3%

87.4%

Augusta County

37%

 $  9,554

75.3%

81.3%

Bath County

46%

 $17,376

82.4%

79.7%

Bedford County

40%

 $  9,560

80.3%

74.8%

Bland County

38%

 $10,475

79.2%

72.3%

Botetourt County

23%

 $10,644

88.5%

89.4%

Bristol City

67%

 $11,416

77.4%

81.4%

Brunswick County

73%

 $11,466

68.7%

57.5%

Buchanan County

64%

 $11,406

73.9%

73.0%

Buckingham County

65%

 $11,421

70.3%

77.8%

Buena Vista City

48%

 $  9,963

65.8%

54.2%

Campbell County

44%

 $  9,643

78.6%

79.2%

Caroline County

50%

 $  9,379

72.5%

68.8%

Carroll County

57%

 $10,745

79.8%

77.7%

Charles City County

59%

 $13,849

69.8%

64.2%

Charlotte County

61%

 $11,983

77.8%

82.0%

Charlottesville City

57%

 $16,503

77.3%

76.6%

Chesapeake City

37%

 $10,885

81.0%

85.0%

Chesterfield County

30%

 $  8,972

81.7%

81.8%

Clarke County

20%

 $10,617

78.0%

78.5%

Colonial Beach

67%

 $11,558

77.3%

71.0%

Colonial Heights City

46%

 $12,552

81.9%

82.7%

Covington City

44%

 $11,554

76.2%

77.2%

Craig County

50%

 $10,484

84.4%

87.5%

Culpeper County

46%

 $  9,633

75.7%

81.8%

Cumberland County

72%

 $11,315

62.2%

60.8%

Danville City

76%

 $11,214

65.8%

64.8%

Dickenson County

57%

 $11,095

75.6%

74.5%

Dinwiddie County

46%

 $  9,596

74.7%

69.5%

Essex County

70%

 $10,661

69.9%

67.0%

Fairfax County

26%

 $14,118

85.1%

83.5%

Falls Church City

7%

 $17,488

91.6%

89.8%

Fauquier County

24%

 $11,976

80.5%

79.8%

Floyd County

45%

 $  9,704

80.6%

80.1%

Fluvanna County

31%

 $  9,592

79.7%

81.9%

Franklin City

70%

 $13,846

70.0%

70.1%

Franklin County

43%

 $11,028

83.1%

80.0%

Frederick County

34%

 $10,619

74.9%

76.0%

Fredericksburg City

50%

 $12,989

76.2%

75.3%

Galax City

64%

 $10,629

78.7%

81.4%

Giles County

42%

 $  9,652

80.1%

81.3%

Gloucester County

39%

 $  9,965

83.2%

80.8%

Goochland County

26%

 $11,289

86.3%

83.8%

Grayson County

56%

 $12,340

76.8%

77.8%

Greene County

43%

 $  7,392

71.1%

77.9%

Greensville County

62%

 $18,232

63.5%

65.9%

Halifax County

58%

 $10,624

69.7%

70.7%

Hampton City

50%

 $10,724

72.5%

73.9%

Hanover County

15%

 $  9,309

85.5%

87.3%

Harrisonburg City

71%

 $12,222

67.0%

76.2%

Henrico County

40%

 $  9,405

76.8%

76.8%

Henry County

65%

 $10,041

74.3%

76.3%

Highland County

69%

 $19,685

80.4%

85.7%

Hopewell City

77%

 $11,085

64.8%

71.9%

Isle of Wight County

36%

 $  9,985

81.7%

85.0%

King and Queen County

60%

 $13,384

78.7%

78.0%

King George County

33%

 $  8,681

83.0%

77.5%

King William County

37%

 $10,087

79.6%

80.4%

Lancaster County

60%

 $12,496

65.6%

67.4%

Lee County

61%

 $10,722

78.0%

78.2%

Lexington City

13%

 $  9,114

83.5%

87.5%

Loudoun County

16%

 $12,552

87.0%

85.1%

Louisa County

44%

 $11,730

77.8%

80.6%

Lunenburg County

70%

 $10,254

71.8%

64.5%

Lynchburg City

57%

 $11,422

67.0%

64.1%

Madison County

40%

 $10,467

72.0%

75.8%

Manassas City

53%

 $12,934

71.9%

78.4%

Manassas Park City

60%

 $10,720

71.2%

75.7%

Martinsville City

77%

 $11,646

62.2%

58.5%

Mathews County

42%

 $10,905

78.6%

75.2%

Mecklenburg County

58%

 $  9,648

73.1%

74.1%

Middlesex County

48%

 $10,657

82.6%

85.8%

Montgomery County

37%

 $10,415

83.2%

82.1%

Nelson County

52%

 $13,042

75.0%

78.3%

New Kent County

19%

 $  9,337

84.5%

86.0%

Newport News City

63%

 $11,163

68.2%

71.0%

Norfolk City

66%

 $11,716

67.2%

72.2%

Northampton County

79%

 $13,107

65.4%

73.5%

Northumberland County

59%

 $11,645

75.4%

79.7%

Norton City

68%

 $  9,491

81.5%

78.5%

Nottoway County

63%

 $10,241

68.3%

71.1%

Orange County

39%

 $  9,750

80.3%

76.2%

Page County

50%

 $10,015

74.0%

75.9%

Patrick County

54%

 $  9,292

78.2%

82.6%

Petersburg City

60%

 $11,740

58.1%

57.0%

Pittsylvania County

53%

 $  9,064

79.3%

82.0%

Poquoson City

17%

 $  9,618

89.5%

86.6%

Portsmouth City

66%

 $10,767

72.3%

72.6%

Powhatan County

20%

 $10,094

83.1%

80.5%

Prince Edward County

63%

 $11,623

65.7%

69.7%

Prince George County

45%

 $  9,636

81.0%

79.7%

Prince William County

43%

 $10,490

80.9%

80.3%

Pulaski County

53%

 $10,314

77.2%

79.9%

Radford City

48%

 $  9,789

77.2%

70.9%

Rappahannock County

34%

 $13,869

75.9%

80.6%

Richmond City

63%

 $14,089

58.8%

62.1%

Richmond County

52%

 $11,049

78.9%

83.1%

Roanoke City

76%

 $12,447

72.0%

78.0%

Roanoke County

26%

 $  9,699

87.6%

88.2%

Rockbridge County

44%

 $10,712

77.4%

81.4%

Rockingham County

40%

 $10,478

81.5%

87.0%

Russell County

55%

 $  9,637

84.3%

76.9%

Salem City

26%

 $11,156

85.5%

87.6%

Scott County

54%

 $  9,428

83.8%

86.8%

Shenandoah County

47%

 $10,040

71.8%

76.3%

Smyth County

56%

 $  9,958

77.8%

74.1%

Southampton County

48%

 $10,353

77.4%

85.4%

Spotsylvania County

40%

 $10,153

78.4%

79.5%

Stafford County

22%

 $10,020

82.7%

84.4%

Staunton City

51%

 $11,683

74.4%

72.6%

Suffolk City

48%

 $  9,848

73.7%

75.2%

Surry County

65%

 $18,047

74.4%

80.5%

Sussex County

70%

 $16,842

72.4%

75.0%

Tazewell County

50%

 $  9,287

83.9%

84.0%

Virginia Beach City

39%

 $10,807

83.3%

83.7%

Warren County

45%

 $  9,390

77.6%

75.9%

Washington County

52%

 $10,579

84.1%

85.1%

Waynesboro City

63%

 $10,995

71.2%

68.8%

West Point

33%

 $11,127

93.8%

95.1%

Westmoreland County

61%

 $11,198

69.9%

75.5%

Williamsburg-James City County

30%

 $  5,931

83.6%

85.4%

Winchester City

52%

 $12,424

71.6%

73.6%

Wise County

57%

 $10,191

86.8%

92.7%

Wythe County

47%

 $  9,683

79.1%

76.3%

York County

19%

 $10,070

87.8%

89.0%

Dropout and Graduation Datasets

James Weigand of Lynchburg points out that I haven’t posted the complete dropout and graduation datasets.  Let’s see if I can fix that.

At the threshold, recall that the data for Richmond and some other divisions are inflated by inclusion of results from the Governor’s schools.  With that caveat, here, first, are the divisions with the lowest 2015 cohort dropout rates.

Division DO Rate
Charles City County 0
Falls Church City 0
King and Queen County 0
Clarke County 0.6
Page County 0.7
Radford City 0.8
Poquoson City 1
Orange County 1.1
New Kent County 1.2
West Point 1.6
Williamsburg-James City County 1.6
   
State 5.2

And here are those with the highest.

Division DO Rate
Hopewell City 13.3
Brunswick County 11.9
Richmond City 11.8
Alexandria City 11.6
Dickenson County 11.5
Fredericksburg City 11.5
Nottoway County 10.9
Roanoke City 10.3
Franklin City 10.1
Covington City 10
   
State 5.2

VDOE posts its inflated On-Time Graduation Index in the cohort reports.  I’ve calculated the Federal Graduation Indicator, which counts only standard diplomas, from the raw cohort data.  Here, first, are the divisions with the highest rates.

Division FGI
West Point 98.4
Falls Church City 97.6
Page County 96.0
Greene County 95.7
Norton City 94.8
Loudoun County 94.0
Clarke County 94.0
Poquoson City 93.8
York County 93.0
King George County 92.8
   
State 86.7

And here is the other end of the list.

Division FGI
Petersburg City 59.5
Covington City 70.0
Richmond City 70.6
Dinwiddie County 71.7
Danville City 74.2
Alexandria City 74.6
Sussex County 74.7
Lee County 75.1
Tazewell County 75.7
Franklin City 75.9
   
State 86.7

Finally, here is the complete list, alphabetical by division.  Highland County is absent because the numbers were too small to report.

Division DO Rate FGI
Accomack County 6.4 85.6
Albemarle County 2.3 91.6
Alexandria City 11.6 74.6
Alleghany County 5.6 83.1
Amelia County 6.2 86.2
Amherst County 4.6 83.7
Appomattox County 3.8 90.8
Arlington County 4.2 88.3
Augusta County 4.7 88.1
Bath County 2.2 78.3
Bedford County 5 84.9
Bland County 3.7 88.9
Botetourt County 2.2 92.3
Bristol City 3.6 78.4
Brunswick County 11.9 76.3
Buchanan County 4.1 86.2
Buckingham County 3.9 87.0
Buena Vista City 8.4 78.9
Campbell County 3.7 85.3
Caroline County 6.2 78.4
Carroll County 7.9 86.0
Charles City County 0 86.0
Charlotte County 5.1 81.5
Charlottesville City 9.5 78.0
Chesapeake City 3.2 87.9
Chesterfield County 6 88.8
Clarke County 0.6 94.0
Colonial Beach 7 90.7
Colonial Heights City 5.6 85.0
Covington City 10 70.0
Craig County 7.1 85.7
Culpeper County 4.7 87.7
Cumberland County 8.1 90.1
Danville City 9.9 74.2
Dickenson County 11.5 78.8
Dinwiddie County 7.4 71.7
Essex County 4.2 83.1
Fairfax County 5.6 89.8
Falls Church City 0 97.6
Fauquier County 2.2 89.5
Floyd County 4.4 90.4
Fluvanna County 3.3 89.2
Franklin City 10.1 75.9
Franklin County 5.9 83.4
Frederick County 3.5 89.8
Fredericksburg City 11.5 79.1
Galax City 2.9 87.4
Giles County 5.6 83.6
Gloucester County 3.6 90.8
Goochland County 3.7 92.5
Grayson County 7.9 81.6
Greene County 2.4 95.7
Greensville County 5.3 80.6
Halifax County 6.2 78.8
Hampton City 5.1 82.6
Hanover County 3.4 91.8
Harrisonburg City 3.8 85.7
Henrico County 5.4 85.3
Henry County 5.7 84.0
Hopewell City 13.3 76.5
Isle of Wight County 2.5 89.1
King and Queen County 0 89.1
King George County 2.2 92.8
King William County 3.7 84.0
Lancaster County 4.9 80.5
Lee County 8.7 75.1
Loudoun County 2.2 94.0
Louisa County 7 89.6
Lunenburg County 6.7 81.0
Lynchburg City 7.1 77.4
Madison County 2.7 89.7
Manassas City 7.9 82.2
Manassas Park City 8.7 85.0
Martinsville City 7 76.4
Mathews County 2.6 86.0
Mecklenburg County 4 87.3
Middlesex County 4.3 92.6
Montgomery County 7 85.2
Nelson County 6.3 78.3
New Kent County 1.2 90.6
Newport News City 2.8 86.4
Norfolk City 5.8 76.9
Northampton County 9.3 76.3
Northumberland County 1.8 90.8
Norton City 1.7 94.8
Nottoway County 10.9 78.7
Orange County 1.1 86.8
Page County 0.7 96.0
Patrick County 5.6 85.9
Petersburg City 8.3 59.5
Pittsylvania County 6.4 87.7
Poquoson City 1 93.8
Portsmouth City 4.8 81.4
Powhatan County 3.5 90.9
Prince Edward County 9.7 80.0
Prince George County 9.2 82.6
Prince William County 5.9 87.7
Pulaski County 4.9 79.8
Radford City 0.8 86.8
Rappahannock County 2.7 90.4
Richmond City 11.8 70.6
Richmond County 3.7 90.2
Roanoke City 10.3 77.3
Roanoke County 3.1 91.4
Rockbridge County 5.6 87.3
Rockingham County 4.6 88.6
Russell County 4.7 88.2
Salem City 2.6 91.3
Scott County 3 90.0
Shenandoah County 2 90.6
Smyth County 4.7 89.0
Southampton County 5.7 83.0
Spotsylvania County 4.7 88.4
Stafford County 4.4 91.0
Staunton City 3.7 91.0
Suffolk City 9.5 83.4
Surry County 3.8 82.1
Sussex County 4.8 74.7
Tazewell County 7.6 75.7
Virginia Beach City 5.3 86.6
Warren County 2.6 87.9
Washington County 3.1 90.2
Waynesboro City 7.8 77.2
West Point 1.6 98.4
Westmoreland County 6.6 80.2
Williamsburg-James City County 1.6 89.5
Winchester City 2.1 87.5
Wise County 5.9 86.3
Wythe County 5.4 87.8
York County 3.6 93.0
     
State 5.2 86.7

Double Bogus

We have seen that Richmond’s federal graduation indicator (known in these pages as the “actual” graduation rate to distinguish it from VDOE’s inflated “on-time” rate) continues to be dismal.

image

And we know that even the “actual” rate misreports the real Richmond rate because data for the students at the Appomattox and Maggie Walker Governor’s Schools are reported for the high schools in their home districts, not at the Governor’s Schools.

We can get some insight into the magnitude of this deception by looking at the School Report Cards on the VDOE Web site.  For example,the Report Card for TJ tells us that TJ had a “Governor’s School enrollment” of 126.  The cohort report tells us that the school had 206 Advanced and Standard diplomates in a cohort of 252 students, for an “actual” graduation rate of 81.7%. 

VDOE does not refine the Governor’s School data further.  As a worst case, let’s assume that all 126 were full-time at one of the Governor’s Schools (after all, they do say Governor’s school “enrollment”), that a quarter of them (31) were in the graduating class, and that all of those earned a Standard or Advanced diploma.  That leaves 175 “actual” TJ graduates in the cohort, for a graduation rate of 69.4%.  If we assume only that the 31 received one of the five diplomas the VDOE counts toward the on-time rate, the on-time rate drops from 90.9% to 78.6%.

Upon applying the same assumptions to adjust the other Richmond high schools’ rates, we see the following:

image

image

Notes: VDOE reports the Governor’s School enrollment at Open High as “<,” meaning fewer than ten.  For lack of a better number, the graphs above use zero for that datum.  Hat tip and a huge TY to Jim Bacon for reminding me that only about a quarter of a high school students are seniors(!).

Granted this is a worst case analysis.  Nonetheless, until VDOE (which shall here be known as the State Department of Data Suppression and Manipulation) comes clean about the Governor’s School data, I won’t feel at all uncertain about whether the second graph there is very close to being an accurate picture of the dismal performance of Richmond’s public high schools.

Graduation and Not

VDOE posted the 2015 4-year cohort graduation data yesterday.  Their press release burbled on about the increase of the On-Time rate to over 90%. 

As we shall see, the On-Time rate is a fiction, created by VDOE to inflate the rate.  But first, some background.

  • The Standard Diploma requires twenty-two “standard credits” and six “verified credits” in specified subjects.  
  • The Advanced Studies Diploma requires twenty-four standard and nine verified credits. 

These are the only diplomas recognized by the Feds for calculation of the federal graduation indicator.  VDOE counts three further diplomas toward its inflated “On-Time” graduation rate:

  • The Modified Standard Diploma is available to students “who have a disability and are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a Standard Diploma.”  This diploma is being phased out in favor of “credit accommodations” that will allow students who would have pursued a Modified Standard Diploma to earn a Standard Diploma.  Those of us who have watched the wholesale institutional cheating via the VGLA may be forgiven for thinking that these accommodations will be a fertile field for schools and divisions to game the system.
  • The Special Diploma, now known by the new euphemism “Applied Studies Diploma,” “is available to students with disabilities who complete the requirements of their Individualized Education Program (IEP) and who do not meet the requirements of for other diplomas.”
  • The General Achievement Diploma “is intended for individuals who are at least 18 years of age and not enrolled in public school or not otherwise meeting the compulsory school attendance requirements set forth in the Code of Virginia.”

I have commented elsewhere on Richmond’s abuse of the process for identifying and testing kids with disabilities.

This year, the 4-year cohort On-Time rate for Virginia was 90.5%.  The federal graduation indicator, known here as the “actual” graduation rate, was 86.7%. 

In some divisions, notably Richmond, the difference was larger than the statewide 3.8%:

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Richmond’s actual rate is lowered because of the extraordinary numbers of Modified Standard and Special diplomas.

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Note also the relative paucity of Advanced diplomas in Richmond.

As we see here, both the actual and bogus Richmond rates were considerably lower than the corresponding state rates.  This continues an established trend:

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Something like half of the students who do not receive a 4-year diploma of any sort drop out.  (Others hang on and drop out later or graduate in 5 or 6 years).

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It does not take much imagination to conclude that some of the Richmond cohort’s 167 dropouts might turn into people one would prefer to not meet in a dark alley.

The VDOE data also allow a (limited, as we shall see) look at the graduation and dropout rates per school. 

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None of the mainstream high schools has an actual graduation rate as high as the state average, albeit TJ managed to beat the state On-Time rate.

There are no data for Maggie Walker here because it is not a Richmond Public School.  There are no data for Walker elsewhere because VDOE cooks the books, as with the SOL scores, by assigning the Walker students’ data to the public high schools in those students home districts.  Thus, the true graduation rates of the mainstream high schools, both actual and on-time, are even lower than reported.

Finally, here are the cohort dropout rates by school.

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Preliminary Graduation Data

VDOE is out today with a press release bragging on the increased On-Time graduation rate

The VDOE Web site was down today until suppertime; I will not have time to analyze the data until tomorrow.  Until then, here are some early data (“Actual” rate refers to the advanced+standard diploma rate; “on-time” includes counts of those diplomas plus the modified standard, special, and general achievement  diplomas):

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If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Something Easier

VDOE adopted the SGP in 2001 to have a performance measure that is not dependent on the economic status of the student.  The SGP turned out to be too useful: It allowed the identification of the truly lousy teachers, e.g., the statewide 2014 distributions by teacher

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juxtaposed with the 6th grade reading distribution for Richmond teachers

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Notice: twenty of twenty-one below the state average.  Beyond that, how would you like to have your kid in the hands of that teacher whose students performed in the 13th percentile?

So VDOE is abandoning the SGP for a new measure, the “Progress Table.”  Their “reason”:

SGPs must be calculated each year, and the calculations cannot be prepared until all statewide data are available. This requirement has resulted in growth information not being available to school districts until the early fall of the next school year.

But VDOE designed the SGP process knowing that the summer testing would delay the results until Fall.  On this evidence we must conclude that either

  1. They are stupid, or
  2. They are lying.

And we know they are not stupid.

We can speculate about the reasons for this mendacious change of course.  My own guess is political pressure from the teachers.

For sure, VDOE is under other pressure for having illuminated poor performance.  Following the precipitous drop in SOL scores with the new math test in 2012 and the new reading test in 2013,

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the accreditation numbers plunged, despite VDOE’s elaborate manipulation of the data.

This year the General Assembly responded by passing identical bills from both the House and Senate:

The Board of Education shall promulgate regulations establishing additional accreditation ratings that recognize the progress of schools that do not meet accreditation benchmarks but have significantly improved their pass rates, are within specified ranges of benchmarks, or have demonstrated significant growth for the majority of their students. The Board shall implement such regulations no later than the 2016-2017 school year.

Consonant with these mandates, the new Progress Table process provides a mechanism to reward improved SOL scores and neglect declining scores.

In the current calculation of the accreditation pass rate, a passing student counts as “one passer” in the numerator of the pass rate. In order to account for students working toward demonstrating proficiency, partial credit could be awarded for sub-level growth.

Note, partial credit for sub-level growth but no penalty for sub-level decline!

As Omar Cranky wrote earlier:

The moving target moves; and having moved,

Moves on:  nor all thy piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to give an honest answer

Nor all thy tears wash away the bureaucrats’ obfuscation.

But, until they take away the SOL database, we’ll have the ability to calculate real progress by subject and grade for each division and school.  Stay tuned for an example.

How About Those Salaries?

As a further look at the effect of expenditures on performance, here are the 2015 division average reading pass rates v. the 2015 division average budgeted teacher salaries (the actual 2015 salary data won’t be available until around the first of the year).  Data for Accomack are missing for lack of a report to VDOE.

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Richmond is the gold square; the blue circle is the statewide division average.

The fitted curve suggests that an additional $10,000 average salary is associated with a 2% increase in the pass rate but the R2 tells us that the two variables are essentially uncorrelated.

The math data paint a similar picture.

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Of course, we know that increasing economic disadvantage of the student population is associated with lower pass rates.  We can account for the average effect by using the correlation between pass rate and economic disadvantage to normalize the pass rates, i.e., express the pass rates as percentages of the economic disadvantage trendline rates.   That produces these graphs:

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Again, only minuscule correlations.  And the fitted curves, to the extent they mean anything, say “no benefit from the higher salaries.”

So it seems that the divisions that pay their teachers more do not get better SOL performance; they merely pay more for the performance they get.

Finally, here for two of my faithful readers (maybe the only two) are the last two graphs showing the results for Charles City (purple circle) and Lynchburg (red circle).

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Data are posted here.

Ranking Richmond

Jim Weigand sent along his analysis of the history of Richmond’s statewide rank among the 132 divisions on his five-subject SOL pass rate average.  Here are the data.  The black line is the lowest possible rank: 132d out of 132 divisions.

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EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION: An “A” to the reader who can tell me how to get Excel 2010 to reverse the Ordinate, as here, but get the hash marks to go to the bottom, rather than stay at the top, as here.