Trends for DC & Charters & Nation in 8th grade NAEP reading scores, black students

Here we have yet another surprising graph showing how the scores for black 8th graders on the NAEP reading tests have been bouncing around for students in DC public schools, DC charter schools, DC as a whole, large US cities as a whole, and the nation’s public schools as a whole.

Tell me what you see:

dc, dcps, charters, national, black 8th grade reading, naep to 2013

What I see is that under the ‘leadership’ of Rhee and Henderson, African-american 8th graders enrolled in DC public schools (blue and purple line) are actually doing a bit worse than they did before mayoral control. However, the average scores for the their counterparts in DC’s charter schools (dotted orange line)  are rising quite rapidly and are now higher than the national averages for black 8th graders.

However, on the average, the scores for all 8th-grade black students in publicly-funded DC schools (black dashed line) on the NAEP since 2008 (when Rhee was installed – purple vertical line) seem to be following the trends that were in place before that date.

No wonder Henderson recently admitted that her administration had no real idea on how to make DCPS middle schools attractive to families. One might conclude that the DC African-American families and students who were motivated to do well in school have in many cases migrated to the charter schools, leaving the less-motivated ones behind.

As in my previous three posts, I had to do have my spreadsheet do some computation to calculate the scores for the charter schools. You can find the formula in my first two posts. I used the overall DCPS and charter school and DC total enrollments rather than the specific 8th-grade-level enrollments for each institution because the latter was too difficult to find and I suspected that it wouldn’t make a big difference. If anybody finds any errors, please let me know.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Is there any way to break down the number of special ed, school lunch eligible and ELL students in DCPS vs. charters to understand the NAEP scores better?

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    • Yes but it’s a royal PITA.

      Guy Brandenburg Sent from my iPhone so full of hilarious errors… ;-€}}

      >

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  2. […] here, here, here, and […]

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  3. In addition DC has seen a dramatic demographic shift. In 1980 70% of DC was black,,2000 61%, 2010 51%, Demographic might account for some the gain

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  4. In all four posts, your scores for black kids in DC charters seem different from the scores I’m generating from the NAEP Data Explorer.

    (All your other scores are right on the money.)

    In my view, the NCES has made this a fairly mystifying process for DC regular schools versus charters. I could always be wrong in the scores I’m generating. Are you sure your data for black kids in DC charters is correct?

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    • No, I’m not sure. However, the scores for DCPS (the regular public schools) are lower than the scores for DC as a state — which include only DCPS and the charter schools, but not private or parochial schools. So the fact that the DC charter schools are scoring so high seems to roughly make sense.

      I explained the formula I used. Did you use something different?

      I did not have the actual fourth-grade and 8th-grade enrollments easily at hand, so I used total enrollments for the charter schools, regular public schools, and the two combined as proxies, figuring that the result wouldn’t be far off.

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