A More Detailed Look at the Lack of Improvement under Chancellors Rhee and Henderson

I’ve done some more number-crunching using DC-CAS data. This time, I followed individual cohorts of students as they passed through DCPS from 2008 through 2011, looking to see if there was any truth to the many boasts of educational Deformers like Rhee and Henderson.

Even I was surprised at how little progress there was.

I added up the percentages of black students, and of white students, who are deemed “proficient” or “advanced” in math and reading at the various grade levels for each of the years 2008 through 2011. Then I made tables and graphs showing how these DC-CAS ‘pass’ rates changed as I followed a cohort, or age group, of students through these years.

For example, in the first graph and table, I have the 3rd grade scores for 2008; followed by the 4th grade scores for 2009; followed by the 5th grade scores for 2010; and finally, the 6th grade scores for 2011. On the whole, those are the very same students (except for those who transfer in or out of DCPS, or who are retained in grade or skipped ahead). It’s the closest I can do to what Educational Deformers call “Value Added Measurements”.

On the whole, it is clear that the enormous gap in ‘pass’ rates in both math and reading between white students and black students has essentially not changed a bit, despite Michelle Rhee’s many claims of success. Rhee has also said in The Bee Eater that she expected principals to be able to raise their pass rates from 20% to 70% in just a few years. Did she succeed? I say no way, but look for yourself.

I will first look at the cases where we have data for all four years, and then look at the cases where only 2 or 3 years were testing years. (You probably remember that the DC-CAS is only given in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10.)

First: The Cohort that Finished 6th grade in 2011:

Second: the cohort that finished grade 7 in 2011:

The cohort that ended grade 8 in 2011:

Next, the cohort that finished grade 9 in 2011:

(recall that grade 9 is not tested under DC-CAS or NCLB, so we only have data for this cohort for grades 6, 7, and 8)

Next, the cohort that ended grade 10 in 2011:

(again, there is no data for 2010 for this group, when they were in the 9th grade)

Next, the cohort that finished grade 11 in 2011:

I’ve mentioned before that I think that 10th grade scores are unreliable, because of the tricks that high school administrators perform in choosing who is held back in the 9th grade until they are too old to go on to the 10th grade, and are skipped over into the 11th grade, or else encouraged to drop out.

Next, the cohort that finished grade 4 in 2011:

(we only have two years of scores for them)

 And last: the cohort that finished grade 5 in 2011:

 

Conclusion:

The claims of Michelle Rhee and other educational Deformers have been put to the test. In the DC public schools, the test scores did NOT rise as they claimed, and the black-white gap stayed quite stubbornly in the range from 45 to 55 percentage points.

Thus, even by her own standards, she is a failure.

Again.

 

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] by Guy Brandenburg for GFBrandenburg’s blog.  Read the entire article here. “On the whole, it is clear that the enormous gap in ‘pass’ rates in both math and […]

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  2. Fabulous data crunching – so obvious and yet so invisible! Thanks a million!

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    • Please point this out to friends, colleagues, neighbors, family, etc.

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  3. Excellent Guy.

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  4. Interesting analysis. But even if there were no progress, isn’t holding the line better than accelerating the decline?? DC schools were on a speeding, one-way trip to complete disaster. That has been arrested, so to speak. In the current gridlock of warring teachers, led by their oddly led union (at least no felons that we know of right now), vs the DCPS administration, we’d be lucky to hold things steady before one side quits or gets smarter.

    As usual, we, the citizens of our Nation’s Capital have done it to ourselves. This has nothing to do with outside agitators, the aggressively clueless “media,” schools of education at our best universities, Arne Duncan, and the prevaricators from the AFT and other unions. Oh, also the millionaires who seem to annoy the no-change teacher crowd.

    I wish our problem could be quantitatively analyzed until the right solution popped out. But we have incompetent leaders of the unions, our City Council and incompetent media people muddying up the waters. We’d be lucky of the mayor and parents and our teachers (effective and higher) and selected administrators could sort things out.

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    • As usual, your facts are wrong.
      Ever since records have been kept, back through the 1990s, DC’s NAEP scores have been going up quite steadily.
      Achievement gaps were getting smaller.
      You could look it up on my blog.

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  5. Guy,

    Just for interests sake, you should know that starting last year, OSSE required all students who had not taken DCCAS and were enrolled to take the DCCAS. As a result, there are a lot of 11th and 12th graders in this year’s data. I am uncertain as to how you might tease that data out, or what it did to 10th grade scores (11th and 12th graders SHOULD have done better, but are much more likely to have blown off the test).

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    • That’s very interesting. It explains why there was such a large increase in the number of 10th graders taking the DC-CAS. Compared to last year, the 10th grade actually went up a bit. Having a number og 11th and 12th graders taking it who are one or two years older than the majority f other students, might perhaps raise the average score a bit compared to the average the previous year. I guess that would mean 9th graders who for whatever reason hadn’t taken the one for grade 8, also had to take the grade 8 CAS? Recall that the only increases in DCPS were at the secondary level (a nebulous term in dcps unlike most school systems), particularly grades 8 and 10. They weren’t big. So if my reasoning is correct, then the only increases at all in DCPS scores were from gaming the system, so to speak.

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      • I wouldn’t be sure that the DCCAS scores were raised by the 11th and 12th graders. I know a lot of them were VERY upset about having to take a 10th grade test, and I suspect there was a lot of apathy from them.

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  6. […] way too kind since the ‘turnarounds’ in those cities are not extraordinary at all.  Here’s an excellent blog that analyses stats in D.C.. In NYC 8th grade reading is at a 6 year low. New Orleans is tough to […]

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  7. […] Her knowledge of the causes and remedies of the achievement gap must be put into some perspective as this blog post reveals that the achievement gap remained unchanged in D.C. throughout Rhee’s tenure and […]

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  8. […] This type of lie extends to TFA alumni who have gone on to lead charter networks (like KIPP), cities (like D.C., Newark, and New Orleans) and even states (Tennessee and Louisiana).  Under scrutiny I’ve found that their results are definitely exaggerated.  Here is something I wrote about New Orleans and here is a popular blog about what is (and isn’t) going on in Washington D.C. […]

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  9. […] This type of lie extends to TFA alumni who have gone on to lead charter networks (like KIPP), cities (like D.C., Newark, and New Orleans) and even states (Tennessee and Louisiana).  Under scrutiny I’ve found that their results are definitely exaggerated.  Here is something I wrote about New Orleans and here is a popular blog about what is (and isn’t) going on in Washington D.C. […]

    Like


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