Achievement gap creeps back up in 2010
The central theme of last week's story on the Fenty-Rhee education record was that sobering caveats lurked under the rosy numbers cited by the administration on the campaign trail. Drill deeper on test scores, enrollment, graduation rates, facilities and special education, and a more complicated narrative emerges.
Add the achievement gap to that list. After two years of progress, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's effort to shrink the vast achievement gap separating white and African American students in D.C. public schools has stalled, according to an analysis of 2010 DC CAS scores.
Earlier this week, Rhee released data showing that the black-white gap narrowed--significantly in some cases--between 2007 and 2010.The most significant improvement was in secondary schools, where the spread in math achievement shrank more than more 18 percentage points -- from 70 percent to 51.4 percent.
But a look at the year-to-year results shows that after narrowing between 2007 and 2009, progress slowed markedly this year. The gap in secondary reading proficiency, for example, closed by 15 points -- from 67.2 percent to 52.2 percent -- between 2007 and 2010. But nearly all of that improvement came between 2007 and 2009. This past school year, the gap closed by less than a percentage point.
Proficiency gaps in the elementary grades narrowed more modestly across the three-year span. The black-white gap in elementary math achievement closed by 2.5 points between 2007 and 2010. But between 2009 and 2010, it grew by 4.3 percentage points. In elementary schools, the three-year stretch shows the divide in reading closing by 1.7 points. But that includes a widening of 3.5 points in 2009-10. It means that the 2010 elementary reading gap is almost exactly where it was in 2007.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, Rhee spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway said the school system used the three-year time frame because that is how long the Fenty administration's reform effort has been underway. She also cautioned against forming broad judgments on the basis of a single year's data.
"Change does not happen overnight," Calloway said. "Any one single data point -- or change in a single data point over one year -- is not sufficient to make overall conclusions about progress on this goal. To only consider one year, would not accurately portray what has happened during this administration."
More to come on this later this evening, when the full story goes online. For an excellent analysis, see Guy Brandenburg's blog.
Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at washingtonpost.com/dc- schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed. Bookmark it!
August 24, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
Categories: D.C. Mayor's Race , Michelle Rhee , Test scores
Save & Share: Previous: Race to Top win a big score for Fenty-Rhee camp
Next: A tale of two gaps
Posted by: edlharris | August 26, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: edlharris | August 26, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: stevendphoto | August 26, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: berniehorn | August 27, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AGAAIA | August 27, 2010 4:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AGAAIA | August 27, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: efavorite | August 27, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 27, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 27, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: efavorite | August 27, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: efavorite | August 27, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sheilahgill | August 27, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: efavorite | August 27, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AGAAIA | August 27, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: goldgirl96 | August 27, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: efavorite | August 27, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse