Academic achievement & growth: a fuller picture of urban school performance

Yesterday, Jamie wrote about both the academic achievement and progress of students in Ohio's urban public schools.?? Today's analysis marries these two performance metrics together.

Ohio, like most states, issues data on both schools' annual achievement (a snapshot of performance) and academic growth over time. Ideally, schools will have high proportions of their students achieving at (or above) grade level and making measurable growth or progress in test scores over the course of the school year.

Chart 1 plots Ohio's Big 8 charter and district schools by both achievement and growth. Each square represents an elementary or middle school (high schools do not receive a value-added ??? growth -- score in Ohio). The upper-right section of the matrix is the ideal: high achievement and high growth. The vertical placement of each square represents a school's achievement; the higher a square, the higher the achievement. The horizontal location of each square represents a school's value-added category only (that is, a square on the left side of a box does not necessarily have lower value-added than one on the right; they are both in the same value added category).

Chart 1: Urban charter schools vs. Ohio 8 district schools, Performance Index growth in reading and math (2010-11)

Source: Ohio interactive local report card

Overall, it doesn't appear either type of school has the performance advantage.?? While charters have an edge in growth measures, district schools have a higher Performance Index score average.?? A greater percentage of charter schools (5.8 percent) than district schools (3.6 percent) met or exceeded growth goals and met the state's performance index goal of 100. But the percentage of charter and district schools meeting and exceeding growth and scoring 80 or better on the performance index were virtually the same (39.6 percent of charters and 38.6 percent of district schools).

And let's take a moment to give kudos to those high performers (schools in the top-right box).?? Table 1 lists these schools.

Table 1: High-performing schools in Ohio urban 8 districts (2010-11)

??Source: Ohio's interactive local report card. Blue schools are charters; red schools are district schools.

Among the lowest-performing schools???those with a performance index below 80???a greater number of such charters met or exceeded growth targets than did district schools (44.2 percent vs. 41.6 percent respectively). District schools, however, outpaced their charter counterparts for exceeding growth targets at the lowest-performing schools; that is, a greater percentage of district schools (12.1 percent to 9.0 percent of charters) achieved better-than-expected gains at schools where students are furthest behind.

When looking at brick-and-mortar charter and district schools across the Ohio 8, charters made better growth but their Performance Index average is lower than their district counterparts.?? Next week, we will look at charters through various lenses???by authorizer type, start-up vs. conversion schools, brick-and-mortar vs. e-schools, and schools serving high-poverty populations.?? These analyses will deepen our understanding of charter and district school performance in Ohio and may reveal differences muted by averages across the Ohio 8.

*Analyses by Dana Brinson, Daniela Doyle, and Tom Koester

Emmy Partin

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