In a prior post, I looked at the relationship between the Buckeye State’s value-added index scores and the state’s measure of poverty. Value-added scores are Ohio’s estimate, using a statistical method, of a school’s contribution to their students’ learning over the course of a school year. In this post, I examine the relationship between a school’s racial composition and its value-added score.
First, by selecting race as a variable that may influence school-level impacts on education, I’m not implying that kids of an African descent versus European versus Hispanic versus Asian have any inherent advantage. However, race (specifically, a school’s percentage of black students) could capture the impact of many untracked variables in the state’s education data, including the following factors:
- In Ohio, 74 percent of black children come from a single-parent family compared to 28 percent of white children;
- 58 percent of Ohio’s black children live in families where no parent has a full-time, year-round job, compared to just 27 percent of white children;
- 50 percent of Ohio’s black children come from families living below the federal poverty level ($23,000 per year for a family of four), compared to 17 percent of white children;
- 43 percent of black males (national data) have seen someone shot by age 18.
These bleak statistics surely factor into the lower achievement scores for black vis-à-vis white children. (To see the racial achievement gap in Ohio, see figures 3.5 and 3.6 in our 2012-13 Report Card analysis.)
But, does the racial composition of a school, as a percentage of black students, factor into a school’s value-added score? In other words, does race make a difference with respect to whether a school can impact student learning? Chart 1 shows the relationship, showing the “gain index...