Difference between gains achieved by PPS students overall and students in selected ability/achievement groups, 2011-2012

The tables below show the differences between the gains of Portland students in a given ability group, from "low" to "exceeds" and the gains of students in the same ability group who receive a free or reduced meal, or are African-American or Hispanic.

A negative sign in front of the number means that the grade and group represented by that cell actually outperformed the typical PPS student in that group. That is, I subtracted the gains of the low-performing PPS students receiving free and reduced meals from the overall gains by low-performing PPS students and, since the first number was greater than the second, the result is negative 0.1. The smaller the numbers in the table, the closer students in all groups are to making the same gains. It will be seen that the size of the gaps increases as the achievement level increases. I did not include students in the "very low" category because once those students are broken into income/ethnic categories the numbers become very small.

A difference of two points may not seem like much, but it is half or more of the total gains "exceeds" students typically make each year (except in 11th. grade when "exceeds" lost four points in math). I wonder whether the 11th. grade math test is a good measure of the mathematics that high-performing students are actually studying. The 11th. grade scores may reflect a ceiling effect, given that all groups of students made negative gains.

This table shows that the problem is greater at the upper levels of math than it is in reading.

Because the achievement gap between all PPS students and students who are low-income, African American and Hispanic is greatest among the highest- achieving students, focusing resources on students who are below benchmarks is unlikely to resolve the problem.

LOW

READINGPPS Low- PPS Low- PPS Low- Grade F/R Meal Af. Am Hispanic 4 -0.1 -1.0 -0.2 5 0.6 0.2 0.9 6 0.3 3.1 -2.0 7 0.4 0.4 0.2 8 -0.5 -2.3 0.7 11 -0.2 0.8 -0.5 MATHEMATICSGrade 4 0.6 2.1 0.1 5 0.3 1.5 -0.4 6 0.6 0.4 1.6 7 0.1 0.2 -0.4 8 0.0 -0.1 0.5 11 0.1 1.0 -1.1

NEARLY MEETS

READINGPPS N. Meets PPS N. Meets PPS N. Meets Grade F/R Meal Afr. Amer. Hispanic 4 1.7 2.2 1.8 5 -0.1 0.2 1.0 6 0.6 0.6 0.4 7 0.2 0.5 0.0 8 0.2 0.0 -0.3 11 0.3 1.4 0.3 MATHEMATICSPPS N. Meets PPS N. Meets PPS N. Meets Grade F/R Meal Afr. Amer. Hispanic 4 1.5 1.6 1.2 5 0.9 2.7 0.7 6 0.8 0.5 0.8 7 0.6 0.8 -0.4 8 0.6 0.0 1.1 11 1.0 2.7 -1.0

MEETS

READINGPPS Meets PPS Meets. PPs Meets Grade F/R Meal Afr. Amer. Hispanic 4 0.9 1.6 0.6 5 0.5 0.6 0.6 6 0.8 1.7 0.7 7 0.6 -0.3 0.9 8 0.2 -0.3 0.9 11 0.5 0.3 1.2 MATHEMATICSPPS Meets PPS Meets PPS Meets Grade F/R Meal Afr. Amer. Hispanic 4 1.3 3.1 0.3 5 1.0 0.4 1.4 6 1.0 2.5 0.9 7 0.1 1.0 1.2 8 1.0 1.3 1.9 11 0.9 1.6 1.9

EXCEEDS

READINGF/R Meal Afr. Amer Hispanic Grade Exceeds Exceeds Exceeds 4 1.5 3.1 1.2 5 0.7 2.6 1.2 6 1.4 2.0 1.1 7 0.3 0.6 0.5 8 0.4 0.4 1.8 11 -0.3 0.2 1.2 MATHEMATICSF/R Meal Afr. Amer Hispanic Grade Exceeds Exceeds Exceeds 4 2.5 2.6 2.5 5 2.5 4.9 2.2 6 2.1 3.9 0.3 7 2.1 2.3 1.1 8 2.0 0.4 2.6 11 -1.2 0.5 -1.0