The Superintendents of School Districts 65 and 202 and 65 announced the focus of the 2017 Joint Achievement Research Report during a joint meeting of the school boards on Feb. 13. The research departments of the two Districts will investigate these questions:
• “What variables (e.g. courses taken, grades received, discipline referrals and placement) of black and Hispanic/Latino students’ middle school experiences predict high school success?
• “What variables (e.g., courses taken, grades received, discipline referrals and placement) of Black and Hispanic/Latino students’ high school experiences predict college success?
• “How do the course enrollments, placement, school-driven learning experiences, academic supports and access in our schools differ by gender among each racial/ethnic group?”
“The analysis by race/ethnicity and gender will allow both Districts to look at potential barriers to success at a deeper level, particularly for underrepresented subgroups such as black males and Hispanic/Latino males,” stated the Report from Peter Godard, District 65 Chief Officer of Research, Accountability, and Data; and Carrie Levy, District 202 Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment.
In 2014, the School Boards of Districts 65 and 202 agreed they would like to find a way “to better understand students’ academic performance across the Districts.” The annual Superintendents’ Joint Achievement Report was developed to collaboratively look at student achievement and/or the evaluation of a specific program in areas of interest to both Districts.
The previous two reports addressed the questions, “From kindergarten through grade 12, how many students are on track for college and career-readiness in reading?” and “What is the academic and non-academic history of students entering high school below the 40th percentile on the MAP reading assessment, what courses do they take in high school, and what are their academic outcomes in high school and beyond?” The reports are available on the Districts’ websites.
The process of creating the reports led the Superintendents to conclude “that further collaboration around data analysis would allow better identification of policy and academic interventions needed to best meet students’ needs. With this end in mind, the Districts jointly pursued a research partnership with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University and grant funding to support the partnership.”
“Before-and after-school activities have potential,” said District 65 Board President Candace Chow. “Do we know how outside programs affect trajectory?”
Gretchen Livingston, District 202 Board members, said that she has “been a proponent to tracking extra-curriculars, but that’s hard for us; it relies heavily on self-reporting. The closest we have gotten is GPAs of athletes.”
“It would be great to track activities and look at the dose affect, but it’s all about setting the data framework,” said Pete Bavis, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at District 202.
Ms. Livingston asked if perhaps this was an issue for Cradle to Career. “That’s something to think about with our partners, how we could do that,” said Dr. Paul Goren, District 65 Superintendent.
The 2017 report will be presented at a joint meeting of the School Boards this fall.