Poverty and Achievement Levels on the DC-CAS in 2011


We have a lot of poor kids in DCPS and the charter schools. And there is a pretty strong negative correlation between the percentage of economically-deprived students in a school, on the one hand, and the percentage of students who reach ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ levels on the DC-CAS.

Or, in simpler words, most of the time, kids born into poverty don’t do very well on the DC standardized test.

This graph has data on the poverty rates from every single regular DC public school:And this graph is the same thing, but for the charter schools:

It might be surprising to note that the percentage of poor kids (as defined by DCPS and NCLB) in the charter schools and in the regular DC public schools are pretty comparable, except that there are more regular DC public schools with low poverty rates.

For example, there are only 2 charter schools, out of a total of 73 schools, or about 3%, that have a poverty rate under 20%, and they are both called Washington Latin.

However, there are  eight regular public schools, out of 113, or about 7%, with poverty rates under 20%. They are:  Stoddert, Murch, Eaton, School Without Walls, Lafayette, Key, Mann, and Janney.

Of the public schools, 48 of them out of 113, or about 42%, have poverty rates of 80% or more. The ones with the highest poverty rates are: Powell, Kenilworth, Ferebee-Hope, Aiton, King, Amidon-Bowen, MC Terrell, and Moten, all of which had poverty rates over 90%.

In the charter schools, 34 out of 73, or about 41%, have poverty rates of 80% or more. The ones with the highest reported poverty rates are: Washington Math Science Technology PCS; Mary Mcleod Bethune Day Academy at Slowe-Brookland;  Tree Of Life Community PCS: Meridian PCS; Maya Angelou Middle School Campus; Options PCS;  Cesar Chavez – Bruce Prep Campus; and Center City PCS – Brightwood Campus. All of the ones I just listed have poverty rates over 90%.

(Those charter school names are often quite a mouthful…)






Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 7:54 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Or, in simpler words, most of the time, kids born into poverty don’t do very well on the DC standardized test.”…Not exactly surprising, but still discouraging. Resources, support, and alternative programs to better serve these students are crucial…


  2. Interesting write-up. Meridian PCS, where I am on the Board of Trustees, makes great strides despite what some might say are very uncertain odds. Poverty is not an overriding factor in our view. Many would disagree. — Chris


    • It does take a LOT to overcome the pernicious effects of poverty.
      I have a couple of questions for you:
      (1.) What does Meridian PCS do exactly to overcome those effects?
      (2.) I notice that the pass rates ai Meridian have fallen over the past two years in reading by 14 percentage points (from 66% to 52%) and by 22 percentage points (from 72% to 50%) passing in math. Any idea what’s causing those drops?


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