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year in review
December 21, 2016
Beyond the three Rs: Schools sharpen focus on social and emotional learning in 2016
Colorado educators are increasingly focusing on social and emotional skills to help improve student achievement and outcomes.
October 26, 2016
To even the playing field for low-income kids, start with these brain-based skills
Lagging skills among poor children are at the heart of the achievement gap, but not the ones you might think, says a nationally recognized early childhood researcher.
September 28, 2016
Study: Students in New York City’s Pre-K for All program show learning gains
New studies of the city's universal pre-K program show students gained measurable academic skills.
August 24, 2016
Another year of low ACT scores for black and Hispanic students prompts calls for change
Since 2007, black students have scored several points lower, on average, than every other ethnic group in the state, according to state data.
August 2, 2016
Race and education in Nashville: Author Ansley Erickson on the hidden policy choices that sustain inequality
Ansley Erickson's book details the desegregation and subsequent resegregation of Nashville’s public schools, tracing today’s educational inequalities to their roots.
July 13, 2016
50 years ago, one report introduced Americans to the black-white achievement gap. Here’s what we’ve learned since.
A Harvard education professor explains how far we've come in answering some of the most important questions in education in the wake of the famous Coleman report.
A tale of two cities
March 22, 2016
Achievement gap is narrowing in Memphis, growing in Nashville, study says
Memphis is making headway, while Nashville is struggling, in closing the achievement gap between students from low-income families and their more advantaged peers.
March 2, 2016
Tennessee coalition organizes to advocate for students of color
A new education advocacy coalition emerges from a meeting of 100 educators and civil rights leaders from across Tennessee in Nashville.
State of Education in Tennessee
January 27, 2016
SCORE report: Steady on TNReady, thumbs up to revised standards, target the achievement gap
An influential education research and advocacy group lists top priorities to improve the state of K-12 education in Tennessee.
December 1, 2015
Report on black students finds ‘jaw-dropping’ gap between graduation rate and college readiness in Tennessee
A new report on opportunities for the nation’s African-American students lists Tennessee among the top five states for graduating its black students, but among…
Bridging the Culture Gap
July 22, 2015
Teacher training programs strive to bridge culture, racial gaps in the classroom
Teacher prep programs are increasingly focusing on cultural competency, especially race relations in the wake of nine black people killed in a church in Charleston, S.C.
June 25, 2015
Five things to know about Tennessee’s 2015 test scores, out today
What this year's scores, the last for the multiple-choice tests known as TCAP, could mean — and what they won't say.
getting to graduation
December 18, 2014
City’s June graduation rate jumps nearly three points, outpacing state
New York City’s four-year June graduation rate jumped nearly three points to 64.2 percent this year -- the largest uptick in several years -- while its share of dropouts fell and the achievement gap between different student groups narrowed.
August 14, 2014
From 2014: City scores on state tests jump slightly as schools adjust to Common Core
One year after scores plummeted following the state’s adoption of Common Core-aligned tests, city students outpaced the rest of New York in both math and English.
July 21, 2014
NYC signs onto Obama’s push to give young minority men a lift
New York City is among 60 of the nation’s largest urban school districts that are pledging to help President Barack Obama push an initiative to…
February 11, 2014
Colorado ranks ninth for high scores on AP exams
Colorado ranked ninth in the country for the number of students scoring highly enough on Advanced Placement exams to be eligible for college credit,…
January 23, 2014
Find your school’s 2013 graduation rate
Colorado's on-time graduation rate continued its slow increase this year. To find out how your school fared, search our database.
August 9, 2013
2013's test score takeaways, starting with what didn't change
The new tests did nothing to displace old inequities, and charter school performance ranged just as widely as other schools' performance.
July 17, 2012
Bloomberg credits boosts in test results to new school initiatives
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, and Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky walked reporters through a powerpoint presentation on the city's latest test score results. This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg enjoyed what could be his last opportunity to point to clear gains on city test data. The state is overhauling its testing program next year, and year-to-year comparisons favored by Bloomberg's test analysts will soon become futile. Until then, city officials are championing the small gains almost every group of students made on this year's state tests, calling the scores a sign that some fledgling school initiatives are already working. Breaking the test results down by race, grade level and students with disabilities, each group saw gains of one to four percentage points for the numbers of students scoring proficient on the literacy and math exams. But students of color are still performing well below their white peers, and the number of English Language Learners scoring proficient in literacy actually dropped by 1.8 percentage points. "There is still a gap, and it is unacceptable, inexcusable and it is our responsibility to rectify it," Bloomberg told reporters this afternoon. He speculated that the ELL scores dropped because the city has begun declassifying greater numbers of ELL students who have become proficient in English.
February 17, 2012
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
'SMASH: Make a Musical' comes to Denver school - Teacher evaluation rules now law - Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies say - Contest would focus on teacher quality -Denver turnaround schools show "unreal" improvement in students' math scores - Jeffco school cuts not as bad as feared - A+ group: Denver Plan needs overhaul.
December 9, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
It starts by making education a national mission - Urban schools improve, but test score gaps remain - New calculation: Math in preschool - Does class size matter? - Task force to examine 4-day week impact - Charter school enrollment surges in Colorado and nationwide.
August 4, 2011
DOE dealt large portion of funds to narrow achievement gap
One of the largest pots of money in the city's new initiative to aid black and Latino young men is going to the Department of Education. Of the initiative's $127 million price tag, $24 million will be used to study and develop the best practices of city high schools that have best prepared male minority students for college and work. Billionaire philanthropist George Soros will foot the bill for the three-year program, called the Expanded Success Initiative. The funding will allow the Department of Education to hire a team of research consultants to study 40 high schools with a track record of bridging the achievement gap for black and Latino male students. Josh Thomases, the DOE's deputy chief academic officer charged with coordinating the program, said the city had not yet identified the schools that would be studied. “We’re looking for schools with a high concentration of black and Latino boys, with high poverty and Title I funding, but with an evidence of success,” Thomases said. “We’re agnostic to what kind of school it is,” he added. “We’re looking at the schools that have had success graduating black and Latino boys at a high school level and expanding it to other schools." Thomases, citing a study published by Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) last year, said that he would look particularly close at small high schools in New York City, which have shown higher rates of graduation and credit accumulation.
April 28, 2011
Forget Core Knowledge or Montessori, Denver school focuses on 'wellness'
A Colorado non-profit is betting a focus on health and wellness can help close the academic achievement gap.
February 11, 2011
Racial gap persists for city's specialized high schools
Today's the day that guidance counselors distribute envelopes to eighth graders with news of whether and which of the city's top-tier high schools opened the door for them. But for minority students, the news continues to be grim. Combined, white and Asian students account for 70 percent of the students admitted to elite schools like Stuyvesant, the Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School. Hispanic students make up 6 percent of those admitted and black students 5 percent. The remainder, 18 percent, come from private or parochial schools and racial data for them was not available. Despite repeated statements of concern from city officials about the tiny number of minority students earning entry to top high schools, the numbers have only declined in the last three years. In 2009, 744 black and Hispanic students earned seats at specialized high schools. This year, 642 made it in. Meanwhile, the number of minority students sitting for the exams has increased. Black and Hispanic students now make up a greater percentage of test takers than they did in 2009.
August 27, 2010
Modest gains for some city students on college-entrance exam
New data on the increasingly popular ACT college-entrance exam show that city students' scores have risen to meet the national average, but the gains are spotty. Since 2005, the average city student's score has crept from 19.9 to 21.4 — a modest gain, but one that carries weight on an exam that's only 36 points in total. The bulk of the progress has come from the city's Asian and white students, while black students' scores have risen slightly. Hispanic students' average scores have shown little change, dropping by a third of a point.
August 6, 2010
The top and bottom 15 middle schools by test scores
Schools that screen come out on top and schools that take neighborhood students fall to the bottom of our next rankings installment, which tackles middle schools. A few charter schools are also in the mix — both on the top and bottom lists. Unlike our elementary school list, we included charter schools in these rankings. To generate the rankings, we averaged the percentage of students who scored proficient across all the tested grade levels. (We excluded schools that don't include grades six, seven, and eight.) In response to reader requests, we also listed the borough of the school in parentheses after each one. The results contain very few surprises. All of the schools on the top-scoring lists except the two charter schools have a selective admissions process. Students must score high on standardized tests and sometimes pass in-person interviews in order to get into schools like Anderson, NEST+m, and Mark Twain Middle School — all of which rank high on these lists.
July 14, 2009
Report: The state's "achievement gap" is narrowing, very slowly
PHOTO: Nell GluckmanA graph using data from the Nation's Report Card shows the achievement gap of fourth graders on a national math exam. A new report throws some cold water on optimism about the state's black-white achievement gap, finding that while the gap is narrowing, it's no different from the national average. The findings were part of a report by the National Center for Education Statistics that examined racial achievement gaps for math and reading across the country. Relying on data culled from the National Assessment of Education Progress exam — also known as the Nation's Report Card — from the early 1990s to 2007, the report zeros in on the scores of the nation's fourth and eighth graders. On a national level, the study found that the reading achievement gap has slowly narrowed, but the math gap has not budged. Students' scores have increased in both areas, but black students' scores need to go up faster than whites' scores in order for the gap to close. "I think New York fits in," said Stuart Kerachsky, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, on a conference call with reporters this morning. "Its gap is not significantly different from the average gap and it didn't change in a significant way."
June 1, 2009
New state math scores reflect "measured gains," officials say
A slide from the state's test score PowerPoint presentation The results of the 2009 state math test are in, and state officials are welcoming them as a sign of overall, if modest, improvement. More students across the state in grades 3-8 met the proficiency standards than in the previous four years, with 86.4 percent of them scoring proficient, compared to 80.7 percent last year and just 65 percent in 2006, when the state instituted a new math curriculum. In New York City, the percentage of students that met the state's proficiency standard jumped to 81.8 percent this year from 74.3 percent in 2008. Unlike with this year's reading test scores, the math test scores showed similar increases in the percentage of students testing as proficient or better and the scale scores that students posted. Statewide, scale scores, which are considered the most statistically useful way to evaluate test score gains, rose by six points in 2009. New York City slightly edged out the rest of the state, with an 8-point scale score gain.
May 7, 2009
State officials herald "moderate" progress on English test
A screenshot (including a caption) from today's online press conference about state test scores, featuring State Education Commissioner Richard Mills and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. More students across New York State scored proficient on the state reading and writing test this year than ever before, and gains by black and Hispanic students drove the improvements. The difference between white and black students' average scores is now at 18 points, down from 28 in 2006. More students in New York City scored proficient, too; proficiency rose 18 percentage points to 69 percent from 51 percent in 2006. According to the city Department of Education, the difference between the percentage of black and Hispanic children who scored proficient on the test and the percentage of white students who did now stands at 22 percentage points, down from more than 29 three years ago. State school leaders described the gains across New York as "moderate" because much of the increases were driven by a greater proportion of children just squeaking past the proficiency cutoff, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills explained during a press conference this morning. The difference comes from looking at the actual scale scores students received, rather than the percentage of students deemed proficient. Scale scores are considered the most statistically useful way to evaluate test score gains. (Aaron Pallas has written about this on GothamSchools.) Mills explained the distinction by providing three ways to look at this year's sixth-grade scores. The first is by looking purely at what proportion of students in the grade tested at basic proficiency. According to that metric, 81 percent of this year's sixth-graders met proficiency, compared to 60.4 percent of sixth-graders in 2006, the first year of a new statewide curriculum and testing program. Looking at proficiency over time, 69 percent of children in 3rd grade in 2006 met standards; those are the same children who posted an 81 percent proficiency rating as sixth-graders this year. But the scale scores of that same cohort of children actually dropped slightly over the same period, from 669 to 667.
February 12, 2009
Feds correct Klein on how to talk about the achievement gap
A statistic that Joel Klein, Al Sharpton, and Mort Zuckerman have all recently employed to bemoan the racial achievement gap appears to be wrong. Here's the statistic, as Klein and Sharpton recently summarized in the Wall Street Journal (and Mort Zuckerman used it here): "today the average 12th-grade black or Hispanic student has the reading, writing and math skills of an eighth-grade white student." The problem isn't the principle behind the claim; America definitely has a racial achievement gap. The problem, according to an official at the National Center for Education Statistics, is in the specific way that Klein et al describe the gap. The best available measure we have to compare all American kids is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the NAEP test. But the NAEP test, which is given only to a sample of students across the country, not to every child, does not permit the kind of detailed comparison Klein's statistic would demand, Arnold Goldstein, the NCES official, said. "It would be great if we could. It's kind of frustrating not to be able to make these sorts of statements," said Goldstein, who is program director for design, analysis, and reporting at NCES's assessment division. "But that’s a limitation of the data." I contacted the Department of Education several times for comment but got no response this week. UPDATE: A spokesman, Andrew Jacob, wrote to say that Klein got the statistic from "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning," a book by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom.
February 5, 2009
More blacks, Latinos took AP exams, but more failed them, too
Both the mayor and the chancellor have now issued statements boasting about gains on Advanced Placement exams, the rigorous tests that are considered a good indicator of whether students are prepared for college. But the picture is more complex than they suggest, and if anything the evidence adds to concerns raised yesterday about college preparedness, particularly among black and Hispanic students. More students are definitely taking the exams than were in 2002, whether you look at the sheer numbers — a total of 23,600 students took the tests in 2008, up from less than 17,000 in 2002 — or at proportions — in 2008, about 23% of eleventh- and twelfth-graders took AP exams, up from 21% in 2002.* But, as I suggested yesterday, the increased participation has led to a lower pass rate:
November 11, 2008
Graph illustrates demographic shift at specialized high schools
Graph by ##http://eduwonkette.org##Eduwonkette##. Sociologist Jennifer Jennings (who blogs as Eduwonkette) graphed a change in demographics at the city’s eight specialized high schools,…
August 18, 2008
Is early reading instruction key to closing the black-white achievement gap?
Focus on the early years, says Stern. <em>Photo by ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2458666314/##woodleywonderworks##</em> Close the achievement gap by focusing on early-grades reading instruction, argues Sol…
August 6, 2008
Exploring two measures of student progress…
Mind the gap, <em>by ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/2506936869/##Marcin Wichary##</em> The internet has seen a flurry of activity recently over the DOE's claim that it has reduced the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers. Testing that claim, the New York Sun submitted the ELA and math scale score data for students in grades 3-8 to three independent analysts, who concluded that the gap has decreased in ELA, but has stayed flat since 2002 in mathematics, confirming much of Eduwonkette's analysis. The new analysis emphasizes the difference between closing the proficiency gap by comparing the percentage of students who score at a level 3 or 4 on state tests, and closing the achievement gap by comparing mean scale scores.
July 30, 2008
Stark figures on black male graduation rates
America's schools systematically fail to educate black males as well as they educate other students, according to a new report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. If Black students did poorly in all schools, we would plausibly seek solutions to the problem of their achievement among those students themselves. The same would be the case if, in schools with majority Black enrollments, Black students did poorly and the other students did well. But in reality, Black students in good schools do well. At the same time, White, non-Hispanic students who attend schools where most of the students are Black and their graduation rates are low, also do poorly. The crisis of the education of Black males sits squarely in the middle of the crisis America faces as we work to create a world-class public education system that will support and maintain the values of a fair and equitable democratic society. According to the report, in New York State, 39 percent of black male students graduated from high school in 2005-06, compared to 75 percent of white male students, and far more black male students performed at the Below Basic level on all sections of the NAEP tests compared to white male students. Also, as the report points out, on the eighth grade NAEP reading assessment, "virtually none reach the Advanced level." Furthermore, black males in New York State are about 5 times less likely to be placed in Gifted and Talented programs, and nearly 3 times more likely to be classified as mentally retarded.
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