White students at School District 65 are scoring, on average, 3.84 grade levels above the national average. Hispanic students are scoring at about the national average, and Black students are scoring 0.85 grade levels below the national average.

But, District 65 Hispanic students and Black students, on average, are learning at a faster pace than District 65 White students and at a faster pace than the national average. Hispanic students learn 23% more in each grade than the national average.

These are some of the findings made by the Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) at Stanford University using data in version 4.0 of the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA). The SEDA data are based on the standardized accountability tests in math and reading administered by each state to all public-school students in grades 3–8 in each school year between 2008–09 and 2017–18. The archive includes data from about 430 million standardized tests in math and reading language arts.

EOP has built an interactive online tool that anyone can use to view three measures of educational opportunity for each school district in the nation. The three measures are average test scores, learning rates, and trends in test scores. The interactive tool enables people to compare any public school district’s performance on the three measures to any other public school district or to all public school districts in the nation, taking into account socioeconomic factors.  

Interested parties may also generate a pdf of the data for a selected public school district.  A pdf of a report generated for School District 65 is available here.

Average test scores

District 65 “provides higher than average educational opportunities,” says EOP.  District 65’s average test scores are 1.62 grade level(s) above the national average. The District’s average test scores are 0.23 grade levels higher than those of school districts with similar socioeconomic status.

The data shows that White students are scoring 3.84 grade levels above the national average; Hispanic students are scoring 0.05 grade levels below the national average; and Black students are scoring 0.85 grade levels below the national average.

A high percentage of Black and Hispanic students at School District 65 are from low-income households, measured by free- and reduced-fee lunch status. EOP reports that low-income students at District 65 are scoring 0.75 grade levels below the national average.

A chart, prepared by the RoundTable, illustrating these data is below.

“Average scores are influenced by opportunities to learn at home, in neighborhoods, in child-care, preschool, and after-school programs, from peers and friends, and in schools,” says EOC. “Because of all these influences, average test scores are not a good way to assess how much children learn in schools. But they are a good way to assess the average set of educational opportunities available to children in a community. Where average scores are low, students have fewer opportunities to learn. Schools are better evaluated using learning rates, which measure how much student scores improve while they are in school.”

Learning Rates

District 65 “provides roughly average educational opportunities while children are in school,” says EOC.  “Students learn 9% more each grade than the U.S. average. Socioeconomic status is above the national average. Learning rates are 0.01% lower than those of districts with similar socioeconomic status.”

The data show:

  • White students learn 2% less each grade than the national average.
  • Hispanic students learn 23% more each grade than the national average.
  • Black students learn 5% more each grade than the national average.
  • Low-income students learn 11% more each grade than the national average.

A chart, prepared by the RoundTable, illustrating these data is below.

“Learning rates measure how much students’ scores improve each year while they are in school,” says EOC. “This is a better way to assess what children learn in schools than average test scores, which are heavily influenced by factors outside of school. To understand the distinction, think of a hospital: We wouldn’t assess a hospital based on the health of its patients; rather, we’d judge it on how much the health of patients improves as a result of their time in the hospital. Similarly, we shouldn’t evaluate a school based on the average scores of its students, but rather by how much their test scores improve while in school.”

Trends in test scores

District 65 “shows declining educational opportunity,” says EOC. “Test scores decreased an average of 0.03 grade levels each year from 2009-2018. Socioeconomic status is above the national average. Average scores have decreased by 0.07 grade levels less than those of districts with similar socioeconomic status.”

The data show:

  • White students’ scores decreased an average of 0.13 grade levels each year from 2009-2018.
  • Hispanic students’ scores increased an average of 0.01 grade levels each year from 2009-2018.
  • Black students’ scores decreased an average of 0.06 grade levels each year from 2009-2018.
  • Low-Income students’ scores decreased an average of 0.02 grade levels each year from 2009-2018.

A chart, prepared by the RoundTable, illustrating these data is below.

“Average student test scores are influenced by home environments, early childhood experiences, community resources, and schools,” says EOC. “The trend (or change) in average student test scores from one year to the next indicates whether educational opportunities are improving or declining in a community. Where the trend is positive, students’ opportunities to learn are improving. Opportunities may improve over time because of changes in school quality or because of changes in family resources, home environments, early childhood experiences, and/or community resources.”

Comparison to Other School Districts in the Nation

EOC’s interactive tool also generates charts showing how White students, Black students, and Hispanic students at School District 65 are performing in relation to other White students, Black students, and Hispanic students who attend other school districts in the nation, taking into account socioeconomic status. Anyone may make a comparison to selected school districts or to all school districts in the nation.

White Students

When average test scores are used as the measure, White students in District 65 rank the second highest amongst all school districts in the nation. District 65 White students’ average test scores (the reddish dot) are compared to the average test scores of White students in all other public school districts in the nation in the chart below.

The other two measures used by EOC to measure educational opportunity tell a different story. When the rate of growth of White students in District 65 is compared to that of White students in all other school districts in the nation, White students at District 65 rank below the vast majority of other school districts serving White students, and toward the bottom among school districts with a similar socioeconomic status.

For trends of test scores, White students at District 65 rank below all other school districts in the nation serving White students with similar socioeconomic status, and fall toward the bottom of all other districts in the nation serving White students.

To view interactive charts showing District 65 White students’ average test scores, learning rate, and trend in test scores compared to all school districts in the nation, click here for average test scores, here for learning rate, and here for trend in test scores. The redish dot in the charts represents White students in District 65.

Black students

The average test scores of Black students in District 65 are higher than the average test scores of Black students in the vast majority of all other school districts in the nation, and higher than most school districts serving Black students with a similar socioeconomic status. There are relatively few school districts in the nation where Black students have an average test score higher than the national average. The average test scores of District 65’s Black students are represented by the reddish dot in the chart below.

The learning rate of Black students in District 65 is higher than the national average and higher than the learning rate of Black students in the vast majority of other school districts in the nation.

The trend in test scores of Black students at District 65 is below the national average and below that of the vast majority of school districts in the nation that serve Black students.

To view interactive charts showing District 65 Black students’ average test scores, learning rate, and trend in test scores compared to all school districts in the nation, click here for average test scores, here for learning rate, and here for trend in test scores. The redish dot in the charts represents Black students in District 65.

Hispanic students

The average test scores of Hispanic students in District 65 are higher than the vast majority of all other school districts in the nation serving Hispanic students. The average test scores of District 65’s Hispanic students are represented by the red dot in the chart below.

The rate of learning of Hispanic students in District 65 is higher than that of the vast majority of school districts in the nation serving Hispanic students.

The trend in test scores, though, while above the national average, appears below that of a majority of school districts in the nation that serve Hispanic students.

To view interactive charts showing District 65 HIspanic students’ average test scores, learning rate, and trend in test scores compared to all school districts in the nation, click here for average test scores, here for learning rate, and here for trend in test scores. The redish dot in the charts represents Hispanic students in District 65.

 EOP’s interactive online tool is available here.

 

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