In Ohio’s NCLB waiver, the state proposes a new accountability measure—the gap closure indicator—which would hold schools accountable for narrowing achievement gaps. Referring to the well-known disparity in Black/Hispanic and White/Asian test scores, the gap closure indicator would measure how well students from different racial groups perform on its standardized tests. In a data simulation of how Ohio schools would fare under this new accountability measure, the Ohio Department of Education found that 890, or one-quarter of schools, would receive a 100 percent rating.
In a blog earlier this month, we wondered aloud about whether these extremely high ratings (100 percent) for so many schools accurately reflect how well these schools narrow racial achievement gaps. We posed the question: Could some of these schools have an all- or mostly-White student population—with simply no achievement gap to close in the first place? It’s conceivable that, without multiple racial subgroups, all-White schools could receive a 100 percent rating with little or no effort, so long as its White students perform well.
To answer this question, we dig deeper into the racial composition of these 100-percent-rated schools. Using a random number generator, we randomly sampled 89 of the 890 Ohio schools that received a 100 percent rating for gap closure. When we examined these schools’ racial composition, here’s what we found:
Figure 1: Average racial composition of 100 percent-rated gap closure schools
(Source: Ohio Department of Education simulated data and
Since the birth of the No Child Left Behind Act more than a decade ago, state and local education officials have not kept quiet their disdain for the federal law. So when President Obama announced in September that his administration would offer states freedom from components of the law it is no surprise that states around the country jumped on the chance. Ten states (Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oklahoma) have already been granted waivers from the Obama Administration with the understanding that they must demonstrate how they will prepare children for college and careers by setting new academic targets to improve achievement among all students, reward high-performing schools, and help those that are falling behind.
Ohio is one of 26 states, along with the District of Columbia that applied for a second-round waiver. If approved (and most observers believe it will be), what will the waiver mean for the Buckeye State? What changes will it bring about in the coming months and years? The chart below breaks down some of the biggest changes and outlines what Ohio schools can expect to see under the plan. (See table below)
State Superintendent Stan Heffner hopes that the proposed changes will result in more students being prepared for either college or the workforce when they leave high school and help end the academic disparity among students. According to the most recent achievement data from the Ohio Department of Education the graduation gap between white and black students is 24 percentage points, a gap of 26 percentage points exists between
May 8, 2013