The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

What no one will talk about

Here is a sensitive one.

Here is a link that shows student SAT scores by race and gender.

As you can see, some of Indiana's minority children are having some difficulty. BUT, did you know that virtually all minority groups in America have improved? Did you know that despite the fact that ALL of America's subgroups have improved that the TOTAL average for SAT's is relatively flat?

Say What??? How can every group in America get better but the whole group NOT improve?

It is a statistical phenomenon known to experts as Simpson's Paradox, named after Bart Simpson. (I'm just kidding about Bart.) However, Here is a link that discusses Simpson's Paradox and uses SAT data to explain.

Here is another link that shows the growing minority population.

Here is another one that shows the growing number of students who have limited English.

Here is a link that shows Indiana's increase in percentages of students passing ISTEP Math.

Here is a link that shows Indiana's increase in percentages of students passing ISTEP Language.

Now here is my point.

1. There is a fairly significant achievement gap among the races.
2. AND the percentage of minorities has increased.
3. AND the percentage of students with limited English has gone up dramatically.
4. YET, despite these barriers, ISTEP scores in Indiana have gone up in Math and Language

What am I trying to say?

Despite increasing numbers of students who have traditionally had more difficulty on such tests, Indiana has improved. While this could be a function of Indiana's subpopulations not growing as rapidly as the rest of the nation, it could also be that Indiana has improved enough to buck the trend and beat the odds. Let's hope that's true.


Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting to see that males scored higher in math AND verbal. The old belief is that boys are math oriented and girls are verbal oriented.
I think that it is interesting that the stereotypes hold true for most of the races. I realize there are exceptions to the rule, but the cultural background has to be accounted for when discussing achievement.
I would be interested to see these scores broken down by community types (i.e. urban, rural, agriculture, industrial, etc...)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this data illustrates the kind of disconnect that many teachers feel on a daily basis. They know they are working harder than before and they know they are making a difference in kid's live. Yet, often when they look at a newspaper, turn on the television, etc. they are hit with the "conventional wisdom" that "public schools" are not doing a good job.

In reality, most teachers and most schools are doing better than they ever have before. It is only because of ignorance on the part of the media or anti-public school agendas that they don't receive due credit. I believe teachers and schools are getting a bum rap and deserve better.

And in case anyone wonders, I am not a teacher. I just appreciate the great work done by teachers at Wawasee and thousands of other schools across the country.

Anonymous said...

If a school's overall test average drops but there is an improvement in each sub-group, what does this do for AYP? Are we improving or failing.