Blog: Education by the Numbers
Today’s post comes from Hechinger writer Jackie Mader.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report in July, complaining that charter school data is so incomplete that it could not determine whether charter schools are avoiding non-English speaking students. “Specifically, for over one-third of charter schools, the field for reporting the counts of ELLs (English Language Learners) enrolled in ELL programs was left blank,” the report summary said.
In Higher Education, Data Transparency, and the Limits of Data Anonymi…, Reihan Salam in the online version of the National Review writes, “I am increasingly convinced that unless governments do a better job of measuring student learning and labor market outcomes, any reform efforts will be of limited use.” In the piece Salam cites an idea from Andrew P.
Searching the internet for recipes, academic papers or ex boyfriends is easy. But if you’re a teacher looking for a lesson plan, a textbook excerpt, or a fun brain teaser to share with your class, good luck.
Mapping Scientific Excellence, a new website out of Germany, has come up with a novel way to rank the world’s best universities and scientific institutions.
Since President Johnson’s War on Poverty Program in 1965, policy makers have been trying to equalize education spending across the United States. The lofty goal is for schools with lots of poor students to have access to the same resources that schools with rich kids have. But researchers and advocates for the poor have pointed to loopholes in Title I funding that effectively allow affluent schools to operate at higher levels of funding than low-income schools.
Here’s another data puzzle I’ve been thinking about. Why is it that more and more kids have college educated parents, but high school test scores are not improving? In 1978, only 32 percent of the parents of 17-year-old students had obtained a college degree. In 2012, 51 percent of the parents of 17 year olds had a college education. That’s a gigantic 59 percent jump in parental education. Why isn’t it making a difference?
Early warning systems to detect high-school drop outs are all the rage in education data circles. See this post on a new early warning system in Wisconsin. Like the Wisconsin example, most data systems focus on identifying middle school students. But what if researchers could use grades, attendance and behavior data to identify at-risk students as soon as possible — as early as first grade?
I was surprised to read on Jessica Bennett’s tumblr blog that male sources outnumber female sources on the front page of the New York Times, even on the subject of education. Technology, politics, sure. But shocking that there are 8 male sources for every 3 female ones, when 76 percent of teachers are female.
In the Spring of 2013 Wisconsin tested a a data-driven early warning system that can identify which middle-school students are at risk-for dropping out of high school. After 5800 students were identified for teachers and counselors to work with, the principals of these schools were surveyed on whether they were already aware that these students were having trouble. With regard to most of the these students, the answer was, “yes”. The principals knew about them before the data told them.
But principals admitted that some of the students were not on their radar screen.
David Johnson, chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau, points out that the latest data on U.S. children, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-being released on July 8, 2013, shows growing concentrations of rich and poor.
Inside Higher Ed reports that a pilot group of 18 colleges are stumbling to release data on their education outcomes and post-graduation employment. “(T)he holes in the data were too large,” writes Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain, in explaining delays to the Gates Foundation-funded Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project.
Fewer students are enrolled in private schools and there are fewer private schools in the United States than there were two years ago. That’s according to the latest private school data, released on July 9, 2013 by the National Center for Education Statistics.
I decided to do a little data mashup of Community College Week’s 2013 list of the top community colleges, published on June 24, 2013, and the federal student aid database of default rates. Here is a list of the top 10 producers of associates degrees and their average default rate on student loans over the past three years.
I was just playing around with the recently updated data on the College Affordability and Transparency Center, and I was struck by how many smaller liberal arts colleges are among the most expensive four-year private non-profit institutions. I expected to see more universities with expensive graduate departments and science labs.
Here’s a bit of data that confirms what we already suspect. According to a 2012 survey by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than 20 percent of 17-year-old high school students (19 percent to be exact) say that they read for fun on their own time almost every day. That is the lowest percentage since NAEP began asking that question to U.S. elementary, middle and high school students. Back in 1984, more than 30 percent of 17 year olds said they read for fun every day.
Is U.S. high school a wasteland? Or are teenagers getting a better education today than they were 40 years ago? That’s a puzzle offered in a release of national test scores on June 27, 2013 by the National Center of Education Statistics.