From the other end: 10th grade DC-CAS Results for 2007-2010

Now, I’ve gone off the other end, the 10th grade. I am looking at the 10th grade DC-CAS results for 2007 through 2010. I can’t do this for any earlier year, because the DC-CAS NCLB OSSE website doesn’t provide any data for 2003-2006 that is separated out by grade.

I imagine that Rhee and Fenty will be happy with me analyzing the 10th grade results because they seem to indicate a rise in test scores.

However, my sources indicate that a lot of shenanigans went on among various DCPS high school administrators when deciding whether students were to be placed in, or promoted to, the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. In fact, the shenanigans are so complicated that I don’t understand them myself. However, what my sources indicate is that in order NOT to bring down the DC-CAS (or NCLB) score of a high school, students would be held back at the 9th grade level – a grade that is NOT tested by NCLB – and only released to the 11th grade when all danger of them having to take the 10th grade DC-CAS was over.

I can’t prove any of that, because I don’t have any documentary evidence. However, Rod Paige, the “godfather” of NCLB, did exactly that and a whole lot more in Texas, in order to make it appear as if the “get tough” NCLB-type testing regime was actually increasing test scores. However, what was really going on, according to the New York Times and other newspapers, was that low-scoring and low-achieving students were quietly being pushed off the enrollment figures; and thus, scores went up. And the ‘forgotten’, pushed-out students were ignored.

This may be happening in DCPS with our 10th graders, but without a lengthy FOIA campaign, I can’t prove it

OK. First, overall enrollment in the 10th grade in DCPS:

I see that the number of students who are formally enrolled in the 10th grade in all DC public schools has been declining over the past 4 years, going from about 4700 to about 4000, a drop of about 18%, leveling off in the last year. (Keep in mind that this is a grade in which HS administrators can play all sorts of tricks, so whether this is real or not, I cannot tell.)

Now, the ethnic/racial composition of the 10trh grade, going back to 2007. As before, I have ignored American Indians, and have combined Asian-Americans with “whites”. Here is the graph and data table:

As you can perhaps see, the proportion of black students in the 10th grade is about ten percentage points higher than in the 3rd grade. While there is a small (1.6 percentage points) increase in the proportion of latino students, the proportion of white and asian students has stayed just about the same, roughly 5%, over the past 4 years, which is about half of the current fraction of white or asian students in the 3rd grade in DCPS.

Now, students in poverty, students receiving special education, or students just learning English:

Several things about this graph and table are a bit surprising to me. How about you? Here they are:

  • The fraction of 10th grade DCPS students listed as being economically deprived (anywhere from 50% to 63%) is actually LOWER than the corresponding figure for 3rd graders (where it’s about 66% to 72%).
  • The fraction of LEP-NEP 10th grade DCPS students (about 5% to 6%) is actually  LOWER than the corresponding figure for 3rd graders (about 10% to 15%).
  • The fraction of 10th graders in DCPS who are in Special Education has been generally HIGHER than the corresponding fraction for 3rd graders (13% to 20%, as opposed to 13% to 15%)

Again, I must warn you that any official 10th grade figures need to be taken with a healthy dose of sodium chloride (table salt). (BTW, it probably does NOT cause high blood pressure.)

OK, overall pass rates for all DCPS 10th graders of whatever nationality, ethnic or social persuasion, handicap, or whatever:

Notice that any improvements for 10th graders as a whole, either in math or reading, seem to have come essentially to a halt after 2009.

Now, pass rates for black DCPS 10th graders:

I notice several things:

  • First, not much progress from 2009 to 2010, compared to the progress during the previous two years.
  • Second, pass rates for 10th grade DCPS black students are now HIGHER than the corresponding pass rates for black DCPS 3rd graders. I find that quite surprising.

Now let’s look at pass rates for 10th grade Hispanic DCPS students:

Here, I notice a couple of dramatic changes:

  • Both the math and reading pass rates for 10th grade DCPS Hispanic students dropped a LOT from 2009 to 2010, going down by about 11 percentage points in reading, and by about 12 percentage points in math.
  • Math and reading pass rates for 10th grade DCPS latino students are now lower than they were in 2008.
  • Pass rates in both reading and math for 10th grade DCPS hispanic students are still higher than the corresponding rates for 3rd graders.
Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. For the student population, can’t you compare the number of eighth graders over the years to their appearance as 10th graders.
    Also, I’d expecta greater percetage of SpEd in 10th grade as school are reluctant to id kids as SpEd early. They prefer to see if different strategies will work first.


  2. Here’s a good article, Guy
    Anna Dorminey: TEAM bonuses fail to produce sustainable results

    But of the 10 schools that received TEAM awards so far, only one — Noyes Education Campus, which received an award for improvements in 2007 — saw a continued increase in the number of students earning a score of “proficient” or better in math and reading a year later.

    But the TEAM program has dramatically increased the size of bonuses for principals. The reason, according to Calloway, is that “our principals are the instructional leaders of their schools and merit a slightly larger award.”

    Slightly? Principals in schools receiving TEAM awards get bonuses 25 percent larger than those of classroom teachers, in keeping with the trend toward bloating in the upper echelons of the American educational system. It extends from individual school districts, where administrators earn vastly more than classroom teachers, to the Department of Education where, the Heritage Foundation found, the average salary is $103,000.

    Only two other D.C. schools out of the 10 in TEAM saw increases in student proficiency in either reading or math the year after receiving their awards. The other seven schools that received TEAM awards saw decreased student proficiency on both the math and reading portions of the test.

    Bonus sizes vary based upon a staff
    member’s position.


    Vice Principal

    Classroom Teacher

    Instructional support staff

    All other staff


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