More numbers from the Chicago schools!

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2017

Again with the Grade 8 math:
How well are kids in Chicago's public schools doing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, AKA the Naep?

(For yesterday's report, click here.)

The most recent data come from the 2015 Naep. Once again, let's see how Chicago's students compared to their counterparts around the nation in Grade 8 math.

Today, we'll consider black kids and Hispanic kids. We'll look at Chicago's white kids—at present, they're 10.2% of the city's student population—before the week is done.

Today, we're discussing Grade 8 math. On the 2015 Naep, here's how Chicago's black and Hispanic students stacked up against their demographic counterparts in the nation as a whole:
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep:

Average scores, black students

Chicago: 262.09
American public schools: 259.85

Average scores, Hispanic students
Chicago: 275.31
American public schools: 269.47
There's good news there, and bad news too. Let's start with the good news:

On the 2015 Naep, Chicago's black and Hispanic kids outscored their demographic peers from around the nation in Grade 8 math.

(How significant are those differences? Again, for a very rough rule of thumb, 10-11 points on the Naep scale is often said to be the rough equivalent of one academic year.)

Chicago's black and Hispanic kids outscored their peers from all across the nation! This means that Chicago scored extremely well as compared to other big city school systems, which typically deal with higher levels of poverty.

Yesterday, we showed you Grade 8 scores for some other big city districts, black students only. Here they are again:
Average scores, black students
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

Atlanta: 257.79
Baltimore: 251.45
Boston: 269.20
Chicago: 262.09
Cleveland: 249.46
Dallas: 260.51
Detroit: 242.03
Houston: 265.27
Los Angeles: 254.66
New York City: 260.66
Philadelphia: 257.05
San Diego: 260.97
Washington, DC: 256.66
Among that group of urban districts, Chicago was outscored only by Boston and Houston. On the even brighter side, Chicago's Hispanic kids outscored their peers in all those urban districts:
Average scores, Hispanic students
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

Atlanta: 270.85
Baltimore: 260.85
Boston: 270.90
Chicago: 275.31
Cleveland: 256.71
Dallas: 272.14
Detroit: 252.62
Houston: 273.10
Los Angeles: 258.71
New York City: 267.37
Philadelphia: 258.85
San Diego: 265.76
Washington, DC: 265.32
On this recent measure, Chicago's scores looked quite good compared to other urban districts. As will typically be the case at this time, Detroit lagged far behind.

That's the way the Chicago story goes if we look on the bright side. On the gloomier side, these were the average scores on that test for the nation's largest demographic groups, including white and Asian-American students:
Average scores, American public schools
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

White students: 291.06
Black students: 259.85
Hispanic students: 269.47
Asian-American students: 305.37
Once again, we're looking at those daunting "achievement gaps." Those average scores from across the country place Chicago's black and Hispanic scores in a gloomier context.

Chicago's black and Hispanic kids outscored their demographic counterparts from across the nation. On the gloomier side, their average scores didn't come close to matching the average scores of the nation's white and Asian-American kids. This is the basic reality we choose to ignore every day as we gambol and play on our tribal "cable news" entertainment and propaganda networks.

(If a black kid gets shot, we feign concern, depending of course on who shot him. Otherwise, it's silent night! Nothing could be more clear than the fact that nobody actually cares.)

There are a million public school data sets in the nation's cities. In the new year, we'll be reviewing this recent New York Times news report, which focused on rates of learning in Chicago's schools.

There's a lot to say, and a lot to ask, about that sometimes puzzling report. For the next few days, we'll present some basic background data.

Tomorrow: Improved Chicago scores in Grade 4

Thursday: Perhaps a type of surprise

21 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. "Again, for a very rough rule of thumb, 10-11 points on the Naep scale is often said to be the rough equivalent of one academic year."


    The NAEP Validation Panel examined Bob Somerby's
    "rough rule of thumb."

    Their findings:

    'Insufficient evidence is currently available to support either category of interpretations for NAEP."

    "Somerby’s blog commentary used this same kind of “rule of thumb” (a rounded,divided-by-four value of the four-year change in average reading scores on the NAEP scale) as “one year’s growth.” Given the expected decelerating nature of growth on assessment scales commonly used to measure academic achievement, that is clearly wrong."

    The study went on to point to research that suggested an 8 point gain might equal a year of growth when testing 8th graders for reading, but 17 points might equal a year of growth in testing
    4th graders for math.

    http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED528992.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does this apply to what Somerby said?

      Delete
    2. It directly applies because Somerby is comparing NAEP scores of different groups. He uses his "rule of thumb" to claim "10-11 points on the Naep scale is often said to be the rough equivalent of one academic year". Somerby isn't very clear in his presentation, but one assumes that, if
      "Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep
      White students: 291.06
      Black students: 259.85", then Somerby's rule means that white students are performing at about 3 years ahead of black students (291.06 minus 259.85 = 31.21, divide by 10, equals about 3.)
      The commenter points out that Somerby's rule of thumb is not necessarily correct. But that doesn't stop our Bob from using it.

      Delete
    3. This is what 3:27 should say, not that tired old quote again.

      Delete
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  4. "This is the basic reality we choose to ignore every day as we gambol and play on our tribal "cable news" entertainment and propaganda networks.
    If a black kid gets shot, we feign concern, depending of course on who shot him. Otherwise, it's silent night! Nothing could be more clear than the fact that nobody actually cares.)"

    Somerby just can't make it through a single post without the snark and the insults. "Nobody" cares. Does that include Somerby? All of us uncaring readers of the Howler? The folks at the NAEP?
    Notice that Somerby, who hasn't discussed this issue in months, is only discussing it because it showed up in the newspaper the other day. This does not show actual concern on Somerby's part, nor does it engender concern in his readers to be told that they don't care.

    And notice that Somerby's "concern" about this issue only extends to its usefulness as an opportunity to criticize the media, and "liberals" or "us" or whoever the hell Somerby is actually criticizing here. He states some data from a study, and then says
    "Nobody actually cares" about it. He will not venture into policy discussions...that requires thought, analysis, taking a stand...you know,...CARING.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whenever Somerby says no one cares I think about the kids, teachers, parents and administrators who all care very much about education. These people are all among the most dedicated and caring on a single issue.

      Delete
    2. From the context of Somerby's blog posts over these many years on the test scores of minority children, it is obvious that he is referring to prominent liberals in the print and TV media as those who are uninterested or don't care, those who control liberal discourse and set the agenda for what liberals think and talk about, not Joe and Jill Six-Pack, or teachers themselves, or the people who run the NAEP. To think otherwise is to be intentionally obtuse, which seems to be the main preoccupation of comment posters on this blog.

      Delete
    3. And what precisely is Somerby's contribution to a discussion of education? Prompted by a story he saw in the paper, he copies some data he got off the internet, and then says "nobody will discuss this?"
      Here's an analogy: "I saw in my world almanac that there is a lot of hunger in the world; but we fiery liberals won't discuss this, because we aren't wired to care."
      I ask you, is that a serious contribution to a discussion about hunger? Is it even a discussion of it? And see how easy it is to satirize Somerby's approach?
      And you must be joking to claim that Somerby is at all clear about who he is attacking. He says "we" and "us", not the "media" or "politicians." A normal, caring human being could be excused for reading *what Somerby actually says*. It's his duty to be clear. Besides, educational issues are often local ones, with local leaders, parents and teachers driving the policies, NOT cable tv pundit types. Somerby mows them all down with his insults regardless.
      If this were an issue that he actually cared about, why does he wait to discuss it until he sees it in the paper? He was a teacher years ago, he claims a certain expertise or interest in education. Why not champion it, analyze it, educate us, take the lead, contribute? What a crock.

      Delete
    4. And, I happen to know a lot of liberals with kids who go to school or who are teachers, who are vitally interested and passionate about education. They don't base their activism or interest on some purported liberal "agenda" that is "controlled" by outside forces. That is just ridiculous. It's a cartoon view of the world, as Somerby would say.

      Delete
    5. Most people learn about issues through the media, particularly large newspapers and TV networks. Most other media (including online publications) follow their reporting and agenda setting. Liberals in the print and TV media have largely ignored the large testing gains that all American students (including minority students) have made in the past 25 years. Whenever education is brought up in media discussions, it is usually about how stupid our children are and how awful their teachers are, neither of which is true. Liberals have largely agreed to stare into space when such claims are made and don't fight back. Somerby concludes, rightly, that liberals in the media just don't care much about American children and the education they receive, except, perhaps when they are killed under certain circumstances, but, not others. They might also care about the racial makeup of certain schools, but, as Somerby has noted over and over again, they can't even get that story correct.

      Delete
    6. There you go again: "liberals" have "largely" agreed to something. You mean liberals "in the media" or just liberals? Because I can't tell from one sentence to the next. It's malarkey. The most vigorous support and defense of teachers and schools that I know of come from "liberals."
      I assume Somerby thinks there's a problem with the "achievement gap." What is his solution? Oh, sorry, he doesn't do "solution." He just complains about the lack of coverage in the media (though, paradoxically, he saw these latest numbers IN A MEDIA REPORT). He will then move on when the next sex scandal grips the nation, and not revisit the issue until it's discussed in the media a year from now. I'd say the media cares more about this than Somerby, since he's taking his cues to discuss this from them.

      Delete
    7. TDH's point has been that there is a narrative that the public schools in the US are failing, especially for minorities, and when compared to the results in other countries, when in fact the test statistics show that there have been significant improvements in US results. This narrative supports those who want to privatize public education and make a profit. From what I see in the MSM, that is the narrative out there.
      To what extent TDH is right on this, I don't know.

      Delete
    8. I'm asking Somerby to quit taking the easy way out, of criticizing, and contribute to a substantive discussion. Based upon his life story, he almost has a duty to do that. Of course I know it ain't gonna happen, but one can dream.

      Delete
    9. But, AC, Somerby notes the "achievement gaps" and uses the word "gloomy" to describe them. So, here at least, he seems to be pointing out a problem, not a false narrative in the news.

      Delete
    10. I am talking about liberals in the media, as is Somerby (nice Reagan reference...).

      If you have read Somerby's blog, you know he has focused on media criticism, so it is natural for him to discuss schools in reference to the media. He has lamented over and over again that the media chooses to ignore the substantial gains made by US students according to the NAEP in the past 25 years. Somerby sometimes brings it up when in the context of media reporters on our "ratty" public schools, sometimes when the NAEP scores themselves are released, whether or not there is any accompanying media coverage. To fail to understand this is have a discussion in bad faith.

      The elite media sets the agenda for political discussion: as someone once said, "They don't tell you what to think, they tell you what to think about."

      Some liberals support public schools, but many don't: there are plenty who have gotten themselves involved in the charter school boondoggle. https://www.thenation.com/article/grading-waiting-superman/

      Somerby is one of the few people who isn't "flavor of the month:" he has pursued this stuff doggedly over the years. Great question: why haven't others, with bigger platforms and wider reachers, done so?

      Delete
    11. "I'm asking Somerby to quit taking the easy way out, of criticizing, and contribute to a substantive discussion. Based upon his life story, he almost has a duty to do that. Of course I know it ain't gonna happen, but one can dream."

      Where are our vaunted educational experts on how to solve these problems, like the racial gap in education achievement? Why does it fall to Somerby to suggest fixes, which he may not be qualified to offer? Are educational experts being ignored by the media, or, do they just not have any good answers? Wouldn't it be nice if liberal publications or TV journalists/hosts bothered to investigate or discuss these issues?

      Delete
    12. Those education experts are working directly with schools and districts. They are partly why scores are improving.

      Delete
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