Performance and growth among Ohio's high-poverty urban schools

On Monday we looked at charter school performance by authorizer type and structure and learned that neither seems to matter much when it comes to school quality. Today, with the continued help of our friends at Public Impact, we take a look at high-poverty schools in Ohio's Big 8 urban areas to see if charter or district schools demonstrated better success with this student population. For the purpose of this analysis ?high-poverty? is defined as schools serving a student population where at least 75 percent of students qualify as economically disadvantaged.

Chart 1 compares the distribution of Performance Index scores of high-poverty charters in the Big 8 to the distribution for high-poverty district schools in those cities. ?A greater percentage of charter schools than district schools have performance index scores of 100 or better (PI ranges from 0-120), and 2.9 percent of charters met or exceed the state goal of a PI score of 100, compared to 0.5 percent of district schools. High-poverty charter schools also had a higher percentage of schools with a PI score of 60 or below (7.6 percent), compared to only 3.9 percent of district schools. Despite the overrepresentation at both ends of the performance spectrum, high-poverty charters overall earned an average PI score of 78.2 compared to 77.3 for high-poverty district schools.

Chart 1: Distribution of Performance Index Scores, High-Poverty Ohio 8 Charter Schools vs. High-Poverty Ohio 8 District Schools, 2010-11

Note: Schools were sorted into five-point Performance Index score ranges (40.0 to 44.9, 45.0 to 49.9, etc.).? Each data point on the chart above indicates the percentage of charter or district schools that fell into that five-point Performance Index range. For example, the highest point of the blue charter curve indicates that 20 percent of all high-poverty charter schools and 23.7 percent of all high-poverty district schools earned a Performance Index score between 75.0 and 79.9.

CHART 2: 2010-11 Performance Index and Growth in Reading and Math, High-Poverty Ohio 8 Charter Schools vs. High-Poverty Ohio 8 District Schools

Chart 2 looks at PI and growth in reading and math for high-poverty charter schools vs. high-poverty district schools. The highest-performing schools made above expected growth and achieved a PI score of 100 or better, while the lowest performing schools made below expected growth and received a PI score of less than 80. As you can see, the largest percentage of schools fell in the lower, middle square, representing schools that made expected gains, but still earned a PI score below 80.

One of the most praiseworthy findings from today's analyses is that the only school- district or charter- that had both high growth and high achievement was the Dayton Early College Academy (DECA), located in Fordham's hometown of Dayton. DECA earned a PI of 100.5 and achieved above expected growth. Congratulations to DECA for earning this distinction and being the only high-poverty school to do so.

Stay tuned for more to analyses to come!

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

-Bianca Speranza

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