Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Researchers Propose New Indicators for School Performance

By Caralee J. Adams — April 18, 2012 2 min read

Just as price-to-earnings ratios show the financial health of a business, researchers at Harvard University are developing common indicators that will help determine the health and performance of school systems.

The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard today released three measures that schools can use to get a better sense of college-going patterns among their students. These new Strategic Performance Indicators (SPIs) were tested using 10 years of historical data in five districts: Boston; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Fort Worth, and Fulton and Gwinnett counties in Georgia.

Together, the districts serve 500,000 students and provide a snapshot of high school-to-college trends. In developing these indicators, Harvard partnered with 23 agencies to get feedback in the testing phase, says Sarah Glover, executive director of the Strategic Data Project at the Center.

Here’s what the researchers examined:

1. Do college-going rates vary by demographic factors?

Gaps in college-enrollment rates do exist between white and black students, the Harvard researchers found. But when considering students with similar achievement and socioeconomic backgrounds, the gaps disappeared—and even reversed. By taking into account similarly situated Latinos and whites, the gap is cut in half. This means Latinos may face additional barriers that require a deeper analysis, and different groups may require different interventions, suggests Glover.

2. Do college-enrollment rates differ across high schools?

Yes, college-enrollment rates for students with similar academic qualifications can vary dramatically between high schools within a district, the indicator reveals. “High schools make a difference,” says Glover.

3. Do high school graduates enroll in colleges that maximize their chance of success?

Not often enough, the Harvard research found. Too often, academically prepared students (as identified by GPA and college-entrance exam scores) don’t stretch themselves to attend a selective college or attend at all. The message to schools that find this situation is to reach out to good students to ask about their college plans. “Dig here. These are kids that are hiding in plain sight,” says Glover. “Go find them.”

Most districts should have the data readily available to replicate this research, says Glover. The researchers built a tool kit for strategic data use that educators can access free here.

In the next 4-6 weeks, the Strategic Data Project plans to release indicators that measure teacher retention and the placement of novice teachers in districts.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
The 4 Biggest Challenges of MTSS During Remote Learning: How Districts Are Adapting
Leaders share ways they have overcome the biggest obstacles of adapting a MTSS or RTI framework in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES
Larkspur, California
Tamalpais Union High School District
Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read