Dispelling the Myths: Focus Schools. Understanding Common Concerns about the Focus School Metric August 2012. Focus Schools. What are they? How are they determined? How do Focus Schools compare to Non-Focus schools? What happens once a school is named?
Understanding Common Concerns about the Focus School Metric
What are they?
How are they determined?
How do Focus Schools compare to Non-Focus schools?
What happens once a school is named?
How does a school exit Focus School status?
Schools with the largest achievement gaps.
Achievement gap is defined as the difference between the average scale score for the top 30% of students and the bottom 30% of students.
This methodology is an improvement over using a solely demographic-based gap methodology because it targets achievementgaps.
Is the bottom 30% subgroup in Focus schools actually high-performing?
Is the bottom 30% subgroup in Focus schools higher than the top 30% subgroup in non-Focus schools?
Is the top 30% subgroup in focus schools higher-performing than non-focus schools?
Across all subject areas and E/MS and high school, the bottom 30% subgroup consistently had average achievement z-score below zero, and most of them are between -0.5 and -1.5.
Have not detected any significant patterns yet
Continuing to analyze the data
Because metric compares top 30 percent of kids to bottom 30 percent of kids in the school, it’s unlikely the gap is being driven exclusively by one group or type of kids.
Hypothesis: Schools with a range of student economic disadvantage are more likely to be Focus schools, because the higher income kids are all in the top 30% and the low income kids are all in the bottom 30%
This would make the metric a proxy for socioeconomic gap, not achievement gap
See “Focus Schools Facts and Figures” on www.mi.gov/focusschools for more detail on these graphics
Call 877-560-8378, option 6 to speak with a member of the Evaluation Research and Accountability Unit