Tuesday, April 18, 2006

States Omit Minorities' School Scores

AP reported An Associated Press computer analysis has found Laquanya is among nearly 2 million children whose scores aren't counted when it comes to meeting the law's requirement that schools track how students of different races perform on standardized tests.... Under the law signed by Bush in 2002, all public school students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014, although only children above second grade are required to be tested. Schools receiving federal poverty aid also must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers.

The law requires public schools to test more than 25 million students periodically in reading and math. No scores can be excluded from a school's overall measure.
This is a very misleading article. It implies that the minorities scores are not being counted, but this sentence just admits that all scores are counted in the overall total
But the schools also must report scores by categories, such as race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education. Failure in any category means the whole school fails. States are helping schools get around that second requirement by using a loophole in the law that allows them to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant.
That is reasonable. We are doing too much categorizing of students: race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education, and breaking race down into many sub categories. It is reasonable that if there are just a few students in some category, they should not fail the entire school because of a statistical problem in one sub category. Now I think that 45 is probably a large enough group to be statistically significant, but I certainly would not think that 4 or 5 would be enough to make a statistically significant category.

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