Pass Rates and Economic Disadvantage

For a further look into Pass Advanced/Pass Proficient data, I turn to the Richmond and Virginia data for students who are, and are not, Economically Disadvantaged (“ED”). 

Let’s start with the reading data.

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The little box upper right tells us we’re looking at third grade reading data.  The three groups are the total pass rates, the Pass Proficient rates, and the Pass Advanced rates.  Within each of the three groups, the dark blue bar is the state pass rate on the test in question for students who are not ED; the lighter blue is the state rate for students who are ED.  The gold bar is Richmond students not ED and the yellow bar is Richmond students who are classified as ED.

It hardly is a surprise to see the ED students scoring lower than their non-ED peers, both at the state and Richmond levels.  What is troublesome, but hardly a surprise, is that Richmond’s students, both ED and not, are underperforming their statewide peer groups, with the exception here of Richmond’s non-ED Pass Advanced rate.  Unfortunately, the small numbers in the Advanced group cannot overcome the 9% gap in the Proficient group.

The fourth and fifth grade data paint much the same picture, except that our fifth grade non-ED students match the pass rate of their statewide peer group and our Pass Advanced rates all are lower than the comparable state rates..

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The middle schools paint a different, more disturbing picture.  Both at the Proficient and Advanced level, the kids that in some cases performed at or near the state averages in elementary school, suddenly look to be as dumb as rocks.

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Of course, it’s not the kids; it’s the schools.  They are failing to teach both our ED and non-ED kids.

The seventh and eighth grade data are similarly dismal.

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The End of Course data are less awful, probably because our high schools are quite proficient at getting the weaker students to drop out.

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Turning to the math data, we see more of the same, except that the elementary schools jostle about near the state averages for Pass Proficient.

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The middle schools again are a disaster.

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The EOC data show near-state performance for the non-ED students at the Proficient level; elsewhere, not so much.

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Bottom line: We’ve all heard Richmond’s tired excuses that seek to blame the kids for our awful pass rates.  Indeed, Richmond has a lot of economically disadvantaged students and that surely lowers the overall pass rates.  The data emphasize, however, that Richmond’s pass rates are vastly lower than the % ED would predict.  The present data tell us again that, with a few, modest exceptions, Richmond’s schools, particularly the middle schools, are failing to competently educate both our ED and our non-ED populations.

Your tax dollars at “work.”