PWCS Achievement Gap – Unjustified Pride?

PWC has taken great pride in it’s efforts to close the achievement gap and boasted that the Investigations program has closed the gap further.   While the pride and boasting are still there, the facts regarding the math achievement gap in PWC seem to indicate that, perhaps, that prideful boasting is unjustified.

The achievement gap is the difference between the scores achieved by minority and disadvantaged students when compared to white students.  Schools strive to have the smallest gap possible.  As such, a smaller, or decreasing, gap is good,  while a larger, or increasing gap is bad .

Lets look at the Grade 3 SOL results – starting with pass rates.

In 2008, the first year grade 3 Investigations students sat for the SOL, the  achievement gap for blacks achieving a passing score closed by 2 points, however, the gap increased for every other AYP subgroup, as indicated below:

  • Hispanic students – increased by 3
  • Asian students – increased by 1
  • American Indian students – increased by 7
  • Other students – increased by 1
  • Disadvantaged students – increased 2
  • Limited English Proficiency students – increased by 3

While the gap has closed for African American students, African American students only encompass 39% of PWC school student minority population.  All other AYP groups, including Hispanics, American Indian, and Asians,  encompass 61% of the minority population and the achievement gap has gotten larger for each of these groups.

The achievement gap has also increased for Disadvantaged students who comprise 29.3% of the population.

That boasting seems unjustified, to me, when in reality the achievement gap has gotten larger since Investigations was implemented for roughly 2/3 of the minority population and for disadvantaged students.


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