Is blended learning closing achievement gaps?

Discussion of Blended Learning and the Achievement Gap.  This is a very interesting pairing.  Allowing high-quality, advanced content to be made available to every child who wants it.

Article Link: Is blended learning closing achievement gaps?

Blended Learning Case Studies: Blended learning success in school districts

Last September, the Christensen Institute and the Evergreen Education Group published Proof Points, a compilation of 12 case studies of school districts around the country that have experienced improved student outcomes since implementing blended learning.

The case studies demonstrate blended learning’s transformative power in high-poverty areas. Among the districts featured in these proof points, three-quarters serve communities where over 50 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.

Many are using blended learning to accelerate students on the wrong side of the achievement gap. For example, Spokane Public Schools created the Individual Credit Advancement Now (ICAN), a blended credit recovery program that has seen a promising 87 percent completion rate. Spokane also launched On Track Academy, a blended alternative school for students who have fallen behind in credit accumulation. Since implementing these two blended, intervention programs in 2008, Spokane’s graduation rates have risen an impressive 23 percent.

Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School

NPR report on a study of in-group educators and outcomes.

Article Link: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School

Study Link: The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers

Black primary-school students matched to a same-race teacher perform better on standardized tests and face more favorable teacher perceptions, yet little is known about the long-run, sustained impacts of student-teacher demographic match.

We show that assigning a black male to a black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grades significantly reduces the probability that he drops out of high school, particularly among the most economically disadvantaged black males. Exposure to at least one black teacher in grades 3-5 also increases the likelihood that persistently low-income students of both sexes aspire to attend a four-year college.

These findings are robust across administrative data from two states and multiple identification strategies, including an instrumental variables strategy that exploits within-school, intertemporal variation in the proportion of black teachers, family fixed-effects models that compare siblings who attended the same school, and the random assignment of students and teachers to classrooms created by the Project STAR class-size reduction experiment.

Children in New York City are healthier since the start of Pre-K for All, study finds

Pre-K for All improves student lives in NYC

Article Link: Children in New York City are healthier since the start of Pre-K for All, study finds

Study Link: Seeing and Hearing: The Impacts of New York City’s Universal Prekindergarten Program on the Health of Low-Income Children

Prior research suggests that high quality universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) programs can generate lifetime benefits, but the mechanisms generating these effects are not well-understood.

In 2014, New York City made all 4-year-old children eligible for high-quality UPK programs that emphasized developmental screening. We examine the effect of this program on the health and healthcare utilization of children enrolled in Medicaid using a difference-in-regression discontinuity design that exploits both the introduction of UPK and the fixed age cut-off for enrollment.

The introduction of UPK increased the probability that a child was diagnosed with asthma or with vision problems, received treatment for hearing or vision problems, or received a screening during the prekindergarten year. UPK accelerated the timing of diagnoses of vision problems.

We do not find any increases in injuries, infectious diseases, or overall utilization. These effects are not offset by lower screening rates in the kindergarten year, suggesting that one mechanism through which UPK might generate benefits is that it accelerates the rate at which children are identified with conditions that could potentially delay learning and cause behavioral problems. We do not find significant effects of having a child who was eligible for UPK on mothers’ health, fertility, or healthcare utilization.

What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out

New York Times investigates college completion.  Georgia State managed to increase college completion while recruiting poorer students.

Article Link: What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out

To cite one comparison, North Carolina State and Auburn enroll similar students, but the two universities have significantly different track records for the years 2003 through 2013. N.C. State raised minority students’ graduation rates by 12 percentage points during that time, nearly halving the gap between them and white students, while graduation rates for underrepresented students at Auburn actually declined and the gap grew to more than 20 percentage points.

It doesn’t require a genius to change the story line. Universities must give students personalized attention and useful academic feedback, leveraging technology to support them at scale. That’s Ivy League-style ministration, adapted for mass higher education. And it won’t break the bank.

A decade ago, Georgia State University — racially segregated until the 1960s and a stone’s throw from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace — was a poor-performing, big urban institution with low graduation rates and yawningly wide racial gaps. But even as the student body has become poorer and more ethnically and racially diverse, the overall graduation rate has climbed to 56 percent from 41 percent.

Even more remarkably, minority students, first-generation students and low-income students with federal Pell grants are earning degrees at a higher rate than their white peers.

Georgia State didn’t “solve” its dropout problem by recruiting better-pedigreed students. It found a model for the students they had. “Despite the conventional wisdom, demographics are not destiny,” Timothy Renick, the vice president for enrollment management and student success, told me.

Race, income, and enrollment patterns in highly selective colleges, 1982-2004

A Stanford overview study of race, income, and enrollment.

Study Link: Race, income, and enrollment patterns in highly selective colleges, 1982-2004

Where a student attends college has become increasingly important in the last few decades. As education has grown significantly more important in the labor market, competition among students for access to the most selective colleges and universities has grown as well.

In this brief we examine patterns of enrollment, by race and family income, in the most selective colleges and universities. We also simulate racial and socioeconomic patterns of admission to selective colleges under several types of “race-blind” admissions policies, including policies like the Top Ten Percent admissions policy currently in use in Texas and a similar policy in California.

For the analyses in this study, we rely on data from three national longitudinal studies of students in the high school classes of 1982, 1992, and 2004.

Study: Most School Districts Have Achievement Gaps

NAEP statistical analysis from Stanford study.

Study: Most School Districts Have Achievement Gaps

That five-year period enabled researchers to focus on districts completing a decade of state and federal accountability initiatives designed to close academic gaps between white students and their black and Hispanic peers. Of the 2,500 school districts with a large enough sample of black students to measure their achievement gaps, Reardon and his colleagues found only one with no black-white gap: Detroit.

“Detroit is not the poster child for reducing the achievement gap,” Reardon said in an interview with Education Week. “The achievement gap is zero in Detroit largely because everyone’s doing really poorly, not because black students are doing particularly well.”

Several of the other districts with the lowest achievement gaps have similar profiles of high poverty and multiple attempts at education overhauls, suggesting their low achievement gaps come from lower performance overall.

Moreover, the researchers found some of the biggest black-white achievement gaps in the country—where black students lag their white peers by more than 1.5 full standard deviations, or four to five grade levels on the NAEP scale—in relatively prosperous university towns, including Berkeley, Calif. (home of University of California, Berkeley), and Evanston, Ill. (home of Northwestern University).

Study: Black Students More Likely to Graduate if They Have One Black Teacher

Correlation between student outcome and teacher’s race.

Study Link: Black Students More Likely to Graduate if They Have One Black Teacher

If a low-income black student has just one black teacher in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, a new John Hopkins University study has found.

A low-income black student’s probability of dropping out of school is reduced by 29 percent if he or she has one black teacher in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades. That student is also 18 percent more likely to express interest in college after graduating.

There was an even stronger effect for black boys from persistently low-income homes…

Why selection bias is the most powerful force in education

Post on Selection Bias and test outcomes.

Post Link: Why selection bias is the most powerful force in education

In other words, what we might have perceived as a difference in education quality was really the product of systematic differences in how the considered populations were put together. The groups we considered had a hidden non-random distribution. This is selection bias.

The Challenge of Creating Schools That ‘Work for Everybody’

School tries the concept of allowing students to Self-Nominate into AP classes, also AP class meets with standard track, and students can also leave AP class easily.

Article Link: The Challenge of Creating Schools That ‘Work for Everybody’

One thing it means is a big push to open the doors of AP classrooms to everyone, not just the white, affluent students who disproportionately fill those chairs. That work is complex, slow-moving, and far from finished.

At tables in the sunny lunchtime commons, brown, black, and white students offer many stories of counselors and teachers who encourage them to try higher-level classes. But that sense of freedom and support isn’t universal.

“They don’t treat people the same,” said an African-American girl who declined to give her name, even though she takes AP classes.

“They kind of size you up, like if they think you’re going to a four-year college, they’re like, ‘AP’s hard, but keep trying.’ If they think you’re maybe just going to community college, it’s more like, ‘Sure, if AP’s too hard, don’t do it.’ “

Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools

IES Statistical Analysis of NAEP reading assessment, circa 2009

Article Link: Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools

Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress July 2009

White students…had higher scores than Black students, on average, on all assessments. While the nationwide gaps in 2007 were narrower than in previous assessments at both grades 4 and 8 in mathematics and at grade 4 in reading, white students had average scores at least 26 points higher than Black students in each subject, on a 0-500 scale.

This report will use results from both the main NAEP and the long-term trend NAEP assessments to examine the Black-white achievement gaps, and changes in those gaps, at the national and state level.