Super Southwest Scores

The estimable Jim Bacon reports on the recent success of schools in Southwest Virginia. The schools there collaborated in an initiative that now has spread to encompass 41 divisions. A map of those divisions is here. (Click on the map to identify a division of interest.)

The VDOE Web pages have some data on the results. The graphs below are for the original area, “Region 7.”

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The recent improvements in Region 7 SOL pass rates have been remarkable.

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The numbers beneath those averages are even more remarkable.

To start, these schools have large proportions of what the state calls “economically disadvantaged” (here “ED”) students. Statewide, ED students pass the SOL tests at lower averages than their more affluent (“Not ED”) peers: in 2019, 21.97 points lower in reading, 16.79 points in math.

Region 7 has a lot of ED students. For example, on the reading tests:

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Note: There is an anomaly in these numbers. Washington County goes from 62.3% ED in 2018 to 99.1% in 2019. This looks like a data error; I have asked VDOE about it. The 2019 average with Washington Co. excluded would be 56.0%. For now, it would be wise to ignore the Washington Co. numbers and to discount that 61% some.

The recent improvements in the Region 7 SOL averages are driven by improvements in the ED pass rates (that were better than the State averages even before the CIP collaboration).

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At the risk of cluttering those graphs, here they are again with the SOL averages included.

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Of course, the progress in the region has not been homogeneous. Here, to risk a spaghetti graph, are the Not ED reading data. (Excel runs out of colors, thus the duplicates. But, really, there are too many data in this graph.)

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The yellow line running across the bottom is Buchanan Co. The blue pair at the top in recent years are Radford and Wise Co. The light green line that plunges from near the top in 2018 to dead last in 2019 is Washington Co., with 2019 probably a bad datum.

The ED data show everybody but Pulaski beating the state average.

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That green winner in 2019 is Washington County (again probably a data problem).

For the record, the math data:

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The Bacon post will tell you how they did this.