Brian Rogers, the son of T. Gary Rogers (of Dreyers Ice Cream fame), is a local candidate who has emerged in OUSD goings-on over the past few years. He has been involved somehow with the district’s Expect Success program, undoubtedly by way of the considerable Rogers Family Foundation donations to that same program. Expect Success is the brainchild developed by the
The glossy annual reports of Expect Success always paint a glowing picture of its accomplishments. When skeptics
I could not pull up district-wide API scores for 1999-2001; I could only see them broken down by school in those early years of record keeping. However, the scores for 2002 to 2007 were 568, 592, 601, 634, 651 and 658. They do reflect improvement for the time Expect Success has been in operation, but it also reflects an increase in the years before Expect Success had been well established.
I initially speculated that before Expect Success can be given credit for the improvements, internal factors that may have lead to the increases (such as the initiatives of Expect Success) would need to be sorted out from the external factors (the state and federal demands).
I posted the API comparisons to the listserv and then took a long walk in the hills, an activity that often generates ideas for me. While I was out I thought of another angle to research, so I came home, sat at my computer and discovered something else. I was curious about how OUSD’s achievement gap has been progressing over the years.
What I discovered is that, despite all the efforts of NCLB and Expect Success over the past several years, the achievement gap in OUSD (between Asian and White vs. African American and Latino subgroups) has actually grown in nearly every comparison!
Here are the achievement gap trends when comparing the academic achievement of different OUSD subgroups in 2002 and 2007. The figures are based on the percentage of students who attained proficiency according to the Annual Measurable Objectives of NCLB.
Subject: English Language Arts
1. The gap between Asian and African American students increased 13.1 percentage points. The gap was 16.5 percentage points in 2002 and 29.6 percentage points in 2007.
2. The gap between White and African American students increased 2.4 percentage points. The gap was 51.8 percentage points in 2002 and 54.2 percentage points in 2007.
3. The gap between Asian and Latino students increased 12.9 percentage points. The gap was 21.6 percentage points in 2002 and 34.5 percentage points in 2007.
4. The gap between White and Latino students increased 2.2 percentage points. The gap was 56.9 in 2002 and 59.1 in 2007.
1. The gap between Asian and African American increased 11.0 percentage points. The gap was 30.2 in 2002 and 41.2 in 2007.
2. The gap between White and African American students increased 4.6 percentage points. The gap was 48.6 in 2002 and 53.2 in 2007.
3. The gap between Asian and Latino students increased 6.1 percentage points. The gap was 30.6 in 2002 and 36.7 in 2007.
4. The gap between White and Latino students decreased 0.5 percentage points. The gap was 49.2 in 2002 and 48.7 in 2007.
Summary: The average increase in the achievement gap was 6.5 percentage points. Over the past several years, there has been no progress with closing the achievement gap.
There is no question that since 2002, test scores have gone up for the low performing subgroups. However, they have risen even more for the other subgroups. The important issue to me is that, despite the many efforts, our achievement gap has actually grown larger!
I’ve concluded that the gains have not been due so much to special initiatives at the local level (i.e. Expect Success), but because of a bigger initiative at the state-wide level, i.e. “standardization.”
Putting opinions about it aside, standardization is the process of determining which topics must be taught to students and when, ensuring that the textbooks align with this material, and then testing the students to determine how well they have learned this specific material. This is a top-down process that starts with
Over the past several years a great effort has been made to create and institutionalize these standards. They only loosely existed before 2002. Such an immense effort would explain why test scores have increased for every subgroup. More and more children are being taught and tested on the same material. OUSD’s improved test scores mostly demonstrate that the teachers are being compliant with the mandates.
So, although the Annual Reports of OUSD produced by Expect Success reveal a certain amount of progress, they don’t reveal one unpleasant fact – that our achievement gap has not become smaller over all these years, nor has it even remained the same.
The truly ugly thing I discovered is that Oakland ’s achievement gap has grown significantly during the time that Jack O’Connell’s administration has been at the helm of OUSD, despite the fact that they have received millions of donated dollars worth of extra administrative support (from Broad, Gates, Rogers, etc.).
Apparently, as for determining how much progress has been made, it all depends on how one spins the figures. By the way, do you think this administration would ever have announced this news to the public?
*Join the Oakland Public School Parents group by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oaklandpublicschoolparents/
My sources are from the California Department of Education @ http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/
2002 ELA % proficient scores for African American, Asian, Latino and White students were 12.9, 29.4, 7.8 and 64.7 respectively.
2007 ELA % proficient scores for African American, Asian, Latino and White students were 26.4, 56.0, 21.5 and 80.6 respectively.
2002 Math % proficient scores for African American, Asian, Latino and White students were 10.9, 41.1, 10.3 and 59.5 respectively.
2007 Math % proficient scores for African American, Asian, Latino and White students were 25.3, 66.5, 29.8 and 78.5 respectively.