Correlations: Pass Rates and Poverty Rates

I offer to you a number of scatter plots that I made, with percent of students passing the various test along the bottom axis, and the percent of economically deprived students along the vertical axis. I think you will find that there is a very strong correlation.

First, for the regular DC public schools, a graph of passing rates in reading against poverty rates:

Now, the same thing for the charter schools:

Then, for the regular DC public schools, a graph of passing rates in math against poverty rates:

and the same thing for the charter schools:

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The graphs appear to show a stronger correlation between poverty and low pass rates for traditional public schools than for charter schools. My explanation for this would be that it’s not poverty per se that causes low test scores – It’s the correlates of poverty that create low scores, including lack of strong family/parental involvement, gang membership, cultural attitudes toward education, and attending school with disruptive students. In charter schools, I would bet that the low-income students are more likely to have supportive families and better attitudes toward education, and are less likely to be in gangs or attending school with severely disruptive classmates. This helps negate the effects of poverty on test scores.


  2. I think you have the axis labels transposed on #2


  3. I’m glad we agree — but now I wonder what we can do with it. Does this data assist education policy makers in creating better school reforms?


  4. I know that at my school 10 percent of our non-passing students this year had enrolled at charters at the beginning of the year and been forced out. I have no way to know if this our anecdotal experience or not but if it is representative the change across the system would be a 10% improvement in scores for DCPS scores and a greater than 10% downgrade for charter schools.


  5. DCPS is data driven unless it interferes with its beliefs. Thus it will never accept this data.

    This keeps their beliefs alive, but does nothing to help the children. Clearly holding on to their beliefs is more important than helping children.


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