Why do poor, black kids continue to do worse on Ohio’s standardized tests?

Sep 24, 2017 by

Even as Ohio students have improved their performance on state tests, bad news regarding a poverty-related achievement gap is splattered across the latest state report cards.

The number of economically disadvantaged students who scored proficient in third-grade reading was 31 percentage points below that of other students on the most-recent report cards. Economically disadvantaged is defined as those in households making 185 percent of the federal poverty level or less, or $37,297 for a family of three.

The gap is 34 points in fifth-grade math, 34 points in eight-grade reading, 35 points in high school algebra I, and 32 points in high school English II, according to an analysis by the Ohio Education Policy Institute. The gap, in fact, exists to some degree on every test.

“Nothing new, nothing encouraging,” said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, in summing up the latest analysis.

“If you really look at what we’ve done for the last 20 years, the focus has been on the testing, with very little focus on putting something in place to change the tests.

As in the past, Ohio’s latest report-card results show that districts with higher concentrations of poverty also struggle the most on state testing and other metrics.

However, people shouldn’t conclude that the data show that low-income students can’t learn, said Howard Fleeter, analyst for the policy institute.

“That’s not what we’re showing. What we’re showing is they’re not learning,” he said.

The data from the grade cards are stark:

Source: Why do poor, black kids continue to do worse on Ohio’s standardized tests?

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