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Test Score Gaps in New York State Schools: What Do Fourth and Eighth Grade Results Show?. Leanna Stiefel and Amy Ellen Schwartz Faculty, Wagner Graduate School and Colin Chellman Research Associate, Institute for Education and Social Policy New York University

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test score gaps in new york state schools what do fourth and eighth grade results show

Test Score Gaps in New York State Schools: What Do Fourth and Eighth Grade Results Show?

Leanna Stiefel and Amy Ellen Schwartz

Faculty, Wagner Graduate School

and

Colin Chellman

Research Associate, Institute for Education and Social Policy

New York University

Education Finance Research Consortium

September 26, 2003

introduction
Introduction
  • Test scores differ by:
    • race
    • gender
    • income
  • Many hypotheses about why:
    • academic preparation
    • bias in test questions
    • testing environment
    • teacher expectations
  • Research constrained by data
slide3

Introduction, cont’d.

  • “No Child Left Behind”
    • New data reporting requirements
    • NYS ahead of most, releasing ’00-’01 data
    • We use NYS 4th and 8th grade ELA and Math
  • We analyze school level gaps in performance between groups
outline
Outline
  • Statewide Test Score Gaps
  • The Race Gap
    • Racial Makeup of State Schools
    • Gaps and School Characteristics by Racial Makeup
    • Gaps in Schools That Are Integrated
    • Relationships between Gaps and School/District Characteristics
  • The Income Gap
  • The Gender Gap
the necessary the required and the boring data and number of schools
The Necessary, the Required and the Boring:Data and Number of Schools
  • New York State Education Department (SED) for academic year 2000-01 by School:
    • School Report Card data (SRC) data
    • Institutional Master File (IMF) data
    • State of Learning/Chapter 655 and Fiscal Profile data
the necessary the required and the boring data and number of schools cont d
The Necessary, the Required and the Boring:Data and Number of Schools, cont’d.
  • Number of Schools in Analyses
    • 2262 “Elementary Schools” – schools with 4th grades
    • 1074 “Middle Schools” – schools with 8th grades
      • 207 schools are in both groups
        • i.e., they have both 4th and 8th grades
    • Schools must
      • have more than 5 students tested
      • cannot have > 40% IEP
slide7

Higher % fourth graders pass

  • White students outperform nonwhite students
  • Advantaged students outperform disadvantaged
  • Females outperform males in English; Math, mixed results
school gaps by race ethnicity
School Gaps by Race/Ethnicity
  • New York State has segregated schools
    • Predominantly white schools: more than 5 white students and 5 or fewer non-white students
    • Mixed: more than 5 white and 5 non-white students
    • Predominantly non-white schools: 5 or fewer white students and more than 5 non-white students
  • Statewide test score gaps reflect differences in scores across segregated schools and differences within integrated ones
slide10

Racial Mix of New York State Schools

  • Elementary Schools:
    • 34% are predominantly white (26% of students)
    • 25% are predominantly non-white (23% of students)
  • Middle Schools:
    • 34% are white (19% of students)
    • 17% are nonwhite (14% of students)
slide11

Elementary School Pass Rates and Gaps by Racial Mix of Schools

  • Difference in non-white pass rates between segregated and mixed schools
    • White performance similar in segregated and mixed schools
    • Non-white performance is lower in segregated schools
elementary school pass rates and gaps by racial mix of schools cont d
Elementary School Pass Rates and Gaps by Racial Mix of Schools, cont’d.
  • Thus:
    • Larger disparity exists between segregated schools than within mixed schools
    • Segregation poses some challenges for reducing statewide gaps
slide13

District Characteristics by Racial Mix of Elementary Schools

  • Non-white schools in NYC
  • White schools in rural and upstate suburbs
  • Mixed schools in Big 4, upstate small cities, anddownstate suburbs
slide14

District Characteristics by Racial Mix of Elementary Schools, cont’d.

  • White schools are in districts with 95% students white
  • Nonwhite schools in districts with 16% students white
slide15

District Characteristics by Racial Mix of Elementary Schools, cont’d.

  • Biggest differences between segregated white schools and segregated non-white schools
    • Segregated white schools mostly “advantaged” districts, except lowest per pupil income and lowest per pupil spending
slide16

School Characteristics by Racial Mix of Elementary Schools

  • Predominantly non-white schools are:
    • Largest
    • Highest percentages of students in poverty
    • Highest percentages of English Language Learners
are any schools beating the odds
Are Any Schools “Beating the Odds”?
  • Yes
  • Let’s look at the racially mixed schools
    • 1034 Elementary Schools
    • 527 Middle Schools
  • Look at both ELA and math exam results
    • “Small:” Differences in white/non-white pass rates + or – 5 percentage points (inclusive) from zero.
slide18

Schools That “Beat the Odds”

  • Around 18% of elementary and 14% of middle schools are “beating the odds” with non-traditional or small gaps
slide19

Location of Schools by Gap Category

  • Elementary schools that beat the odds are disproportionately in New York City and downstate suburbs (over 85% of the 77 small gap schools)
  • Middle schools (not shown) that beat the odds are disproportionately in New York City, downstate suburbs and rural areas (over 90% of the 32 small gap middle schools)
slide20

Elementary School Characteristics by Gap Category

  • Non-traditional gap schools:
    • are disproportionately poor;
    • educate a larger share of children in special education;
    • educate a larger share of children in ELL programs; and,
    • Are disproportionately non-white, with high shares of Asians and Hispanics.
  • Traditional gap schools are disproportionately poor and non-white (particularly black students).
slide21

Fourth Grade Racial/Ethnic ELA Pass Rates by Racial Mix of School

  • Pass rate in predominantly non-white schools is lower than in mixed schools
  • In mixed schools, gaps are:
    • largest for black students;
    • large for Hispanic and American Indian students; and,
    • nonexistent for Asian students.
when a school is beating the odds do all race groups do better or just one or two
When a school is “beating the odds”, do all race groups do better, or just one or two?
  • In general, schools with white/nonwhite gaps that are non-traditional or small are unlikely to be associated with a subgroup rate that is traditional.
slide23

Hispanic example:

( 14 + 69)* 100 = 8.5%

(1034 – 55)

  • Comparable numbers for the other subgroups:
    • blacks 10.1%, Asians 3.8%, and American Indians 12.7%.
is the size of the gap related to any school or district characteristics
Is the size of the gap related to any school or district characteristics?
  • To start to analyze this question, we use linear relationships between gap size and characteristics. 
  • The following graphs do not prove or disprove causation – but they are informative.
conclusions on race ethnicity gaps
Conclusions on Race/Ethnicity Gaps
  • School segregation presents challenges for undoing statewide gaps – some schools can’t report subgroup scores due to segregation
  • There is a sizable number of schools that have small or non-traditional gaps (from 14 to 18%)
conclusions on race ethnicity gaps cont d
Conclusions on Race/Ethnicity Gaps, cont’d.
  • Schools with small or non-traditional gaps are not equally distributed across the state
    • 85% of small gap elementary schools are in New York City and downstate suburbs
    • 90% of small gap middle schools are in New York City, downstate suburbs and rural areas
  • The only real “simple” relationship between the size of the gap and school or district characteristics is that:
    • Higher pass rates by minorities are associated with lower gaps
the income gap
The Income Gap
  • The advantaged perform better than the disadvantaged in both ELA and Math, and across grades.
the income gap cont d
The Income Gap, cont’d.
  • New York State schools show some income segregation, but it is not as profound as racial segregation.
    • Predominantly Advantaged: more than 5 advantaged students and 5 or fewer disadvantaged students.
    • Mixed: more than 5 advantaged and 5 disadvantaged students.
    • Predominantly Disadvantaged: 5 or fewer advantaged students and more than 5 disadvantaged students.
slide40

Income Mix of New York State Schools

  • Elementary Schools:
    • 16% are predominantly advantaged (13% of students)
    • 12% are predominantly disadvantaged (11% of students)
  • Middle Schools:
    • 13% are advantaged (10% of students)
    • 8% are disadvantaged (4% of students)
slide41

Elementary School Pass Rates and Gaps by Income Mix of Schools

  • Pass rates differ between income segregated and mixed schools
    • Segregated schools have higher pass rates for advantaged students and lower for disadvantaged students.
elementary school pass rates and gaps by income mix of schools cont d
Elementary School Pass Rates and Gaps by Income Mix of Schools, cont’d.
  • Thus, as with race:
    • Larger disparity exists between income segregated schools than within mixed schools
slide43

District Characteristics by Income Mix of Elementary Schools

  • Disadvantaged schools in NYC and Big 4
  • Advantaged schools in suburbs
slide44

District Characteristics by Income Mix of Elementary Schools, cont’d.

  • Advantaged schools in districts average 88% students white
  • Disadvantaged schools in districts average 20% students white
slide45

District Characteristics by Income Mix of Elementary Schools, cont’d.

  • Biggest differences between income segregated schools:
    • Predominantly advantaged schools have highest district per pupil spending
    • Predominantly disadvantaged schools do not have lowest per pupil spending.
slide46

School Characteristics by Income Mix of Elementary Schools

  • Predominantly disadvantaged schools are, on average:
    • Largest
    • Highest percentages of special education and English Language Learners
    • Highest percentages of students in poverty
are any schools beating the odds47
Are Any Schools “Beating the Odds”?
  • Yes
  • Let’s look at the mixed schools by income
    • 1629 Elementary Schools
    • 846 Middle Schools
  • Look separately at ELA and math exam results
    • “Small:” Differences in advantaged/ disadvantaged pass rates + or – 5 percentage points (inclusive) from zero.
slide48

Schools That “Beat the Odds”

  • 4th grade:
    • Substantial fraction have small or non-traditional gaps:
      • 20% for ELA and 29% for Math. Lower % for 8th grade.
    • Majority, between 70% and 80% of schools, have traditional gaps
slide49

Location of Schools by Income Gap Category, ELA

  • Schools that “beat the odds:” disproportionately in New York City and downstate small cities.
  • Schools with traditional gaps: disproportionately in rural areas and upstate small cities.
slide50

Elementary School Characteristics by Income Gap Category, ELA

  • Traditional gap schools:
    • are smaller;
    • have lower poverty rates; and,
    • have lower ELL rates.
  • These schools generally
    • educate a less challenged group of students
    • do very well by their advantaged students
    • do least well by their disadvantaged students
is the size of the gap related to any school or district characteristics51
Is the size of the gap related to any school or district characteristics?
  • As with race, we use linear relationships between gap size and characteristics. 
  • The following graphs do not prove or disprove causation – but they are informative.
conclusions on income gaps
Conclusions on Income Gaps
  • On average, in New York State, advantaged students do better than disadvantaged students.
    • Again, larger disparity between segregated schools than integrated.
  • Income segregation is not as profound as racial segregation.
  • Segregated schools have higher pass rates for the advantaged but lower for the disadvantaged.
  • Disadvantaged schools are larger and have higher percentage of students in special education and ELL.
conclusions on income gaps cont d
Conclusions on Income Gaps, cont’d.
  • A significant number of schools have comparable performance between income groups
    • 20% for ELA and 29% for Math. Lower % for 8th grade.
  • Schools that “beat the odds” are not equally distributed across the state:
    • Disproportionately more in NYC, downstate small cities.
  • Traditional gap schools are smaller, educate a less challenged group of students, and do least well by their disadvantaged students.
  • Several variables related to income gaps:
    • subgroup pass rates;
    • school poverty; and,
    • ELL percentages.
school gaps by gender
School Gaps by Gender
  • Females outperform males in English; Math, mixed results across grades.
slide61

Gender Mix of New York State Schools

  • New York State has very few single-sex schools.
    • Predominantly Female: more than 5 female students and 5 or fewer male students.
    • Mixed: more than 5 female and 5 male students.
    • Predominantly Male: fewer than 5 female students and more than 5 male students.
slide62

Elementary School Pass Rates and Gaps

  • Different gender gap between 4th and 8th grades:
    • Math: Almost no gap in 4th grade; boys do better than girls in 8th.
    • ELA: Girls do better in both grades; gap is larger in 8th grade.
  • For consistency: Negative gaps will be called “Non-traditional” and positive gaps “Traditional.”
slide64

School Characteristics by Gender Gap Category, Elementary Schools

  • Note lower rates of poverty, special education, and ELL.
  • Schools with small gaps show above average performance for both groups.
slide65

School Characteristics by Gender Gap Category, Middle Schools

  • Note higher rates of poverty, special education, and ELL.
  • Schools with small gaps show below average performance for both groups.
conclusions on gender gaps
Conclusions on Gender Gaps
  • Segregation by gender is negligible.
  • Many schools have small gaps.
  • No Math gap in 4th grade
    • larger and positive in 8th grade.
  • ELA gender gap in favor of females is clearly evident in 4th grade
    • even larger in 8th grade.
  • Schools with small gaps…
    • in 4th grade show above average performance for both males and females.
    • in 8th grade, show below average performance for both.
wrap up
Wrap-up
  • Racial segregation is considerable; income segregation less profound, but still considerable.
    • A considerable number of schools cannot report subgroup performance due to segregation.
  • Income segregated schools have higher pass rates for the advantaged but lower for the disadvantaged.
    • Disadvantaged schools are larger and have higher percentages of special education and ELL students.
    • Traditional income gap schools are smaller and educate a less challenged group of students, and do least well by their disadvantaged students.
wrap up cont d
Wrap-up, cont’d.
  • A sizeable number of schools have small or non-traditional gaps, especially between genders.
  • Schools with small or non-traditional gaps are not distributed equally across the state.
    • disproportionately in NYC and downstate districts (for income, race, and gender)
  • The wide ELA gender gap against boys in 8th grade is of particular concern.
    • Also of concern: schools small gaps in 8th grade show below average performance for both females and males.