The report cards are out - you can check them out here. There's a lot to talk about, but I thought it would be helpful to first create a profile of the schools that received various grades. Using the progress report data and data from the 2005 release of the NYC School Report Cards, I looked at the average characteristics of schools receiving a given grade (i.e. means). For example, A schools average 15.92% Asian students, while schools that received Fs have an average Asian population of 4.53%.
The bright line findings from the table below are:
- Schools with higher grades have higher proportions of Asian students; A schools have an average of 16% Asian, while F schools have 4.5%.
- Schools with higher grades have much lower proportions of African-American students; A schools have an average of 26%, while F schools have an average of 47%.
- Schools with higher grades have lower proportions of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch - (A schools=65%, F schools=76%). Interestingly, schools "under review" - those contesting their grades - have much lower percentages of free and reduced lunch kids (56.5%).
- Schools with higher grades have higher proportions of Hispanic and immigrant students.
I'll write in more depth about the comparison group issue later, but for now, these results - particularly the Asian finding - suggest that the comparison groups may not adequately control for the fact that kids of different backgrounds may be on different growth trajectories for reasons that have little to do with the schools they attend - read more about this under point #2 here.
Also interesting are the dimensions where there are very few differences between schools receiving different grades, as you'll see in some of the variables below.
* Notes on the analysis: The most recent data to which I had access were 2005 data; because these variables are highly correlated across years, the general trends should look the same. (If someone has clean 2006 data, send it along and I can rerun these descriptives.) Also note that these are means; if you are interested in standard deviations and ranges, email me.