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3rd Grade Policy Brief_FINAL

3rd Grade Policy Brief_FINAL

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Published by: Martin Austermuhle on Dec 19, 2012
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Third Grade Profciency in DC:Little Progress (2007–2011)
DC Action for Children • 1432 K Street, NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC 20005 202-234-9404 @ActforDChildren info@dckids.org •
december 2012
This policy brie was writtenby Bonnie O’Keee, DC Action’s Summer 2012Education Pioneers Fellow.Many thanks to David Harsh,Gerhard Pilcher and the resto the Elder Research teamor lending DC Action their data analysis expertise. Thank you also to DataKind and JakePorway or indispensableadvice and assistance. Thisresearch was unded in part by a grant rom theBoeing Company. For moreinormation, please contactGwen Rubinstein,deputy director atDC Action or Children,grubinstein@dckids.org.
If children do not achieve prociency bythe end of third grade, they are signicantlyless likely to graduate from high school.
2011, only 42 percent of DC third graderswere procient
in reading; even fewer, 36percent, were procient in math.
Not onlyare prociency levels low in DC, they have,distressingly, not shown compelling signs ofimprovement in the past ve years.
a Prociency is dened in this brief as scoring either“procient” or “advanced” on the DC CAS standardized test,which is administered to all students in DC public and publiccharter schools, grades 2-12.
DC Action for Children, in partnership withElder Research, Inc., performed a uniqueanalysis of third grade DC ComprehensiveAssessment System (DC CAS) scores from2007 to 2011. The analysis found no evidenceof statistically signicant changes in thirdgrade prociency at the citywide level, amongtraditional public schools or public charterschools, among racial and ethnic groups or byeconomic advantage or disadvantage.
Reading and math prociency by the end of third gradecan be a make-or-break benchmark in a child’s educationaldevelopment. Not being procient can have long-termconsequences of lowering earnings potential and productivity,both of which can limit a city’s prosperity and dim its future.To keep DC moving forward, we must ensure that our childrenare learning skills for success. This means teaching ourchildren the fundamental early skills they need to learn andthrive, especially math and reading.
 Analysis o DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) scores rom2007 to 2011 ound no evidence o statistically signicant changes in thirdgrade math or reading prociency at the citywide level, among traditional public schools or public charter schools, among racial and ethnic groups oby economic advantage or disadvantage.Neighborhood-level analysis o 2011 third grade DC CAS reading and math scores showed wide variations in test perormance among neighborhoods.The neighborhood analysis also indicated close correlations betweenaggregated prociency in neighborhood schools and neighborhoodeconomic indicators such as poverty and median amily income.
DC Action for Children • 1432 K Street, NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC 20005 202-234-9404 @ActforDChildren info@dckids.org •
Why Third Grade Matters:
Thi ga is a tuning point o any hiln. It is whn thy  stop laning to a an stat aing to lan.
On ntnational stuy oun that stunts who o not ahiv aing poiny y th n o thi ga a ou tis o likly to lav shool without gauating than thi aing-point ps. chiln o low-ino ailis an lak o Hispanihiln who o not ahiv aing poiny y th n o thi ga a six an ight tis o likly, sptivly, tolav shool without a iploa.
 math skills a qually ipotant. A 2007 stuy oun that aly ath skills, patiulaly aly ath onpts suh as knowlg o nus, w a stong pito o lat aai suss thanaing.
This ning hl tu o hiln o oth high anlow soioonoi akgouns.
Without a stong ounation in oth aing an ath, stuntswill stuggl with o avan atial in il shool anhigh shool.
Neighborhood-level analysis of 2011third grade DC CAS scores showed widevariations in test performance amongneighborhoods. The neighborhoodanalysis also indicated close correlationsbetween aggregated prociencyin neighborhood schools andneighborhood economic indicators suchas poverty and median family income inthe neighborhood.Based on no evidence of progressand strong evidence for the role ofneighborhood economic indicators,DC Action for Children recommendsthat local policymakers and communityadvocates rethink current policiesand try new approaches to improvingthe chances that every child achievesprociency by third grade. This policybrief describes promising neighborhood-focused initiatives across the US andoers recommendations about howDC might improve reading and mathprociency for all children who live here.DC has implemented severalpolicies aimed at improving thirdgrade prociency through a mixof identication, intervention andretention.
Starting in kindergarten,teachers evaluate their studentsaccording to prociency standardsfor each grade level.
When teachersidentify struggling students, schooldistricts must notify their parentsand oer those students interventionservices, such as tutoring. If support andintervention services have been providedand the student is still not procient inmath, reading or other required subjectsby the end of third grade, they may beretained (held back to repeat the grade).
Despite these policies, data show thatgrade-level prociency among DC thirdgrade students is unacceptably low,and that there has been no statisticallysignicant progress over the past veyears.
DC Action for Children • 1432 K Street, NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC 20005 202-234-9404 @ActforDChildren info@dckids.org •
Data Unable to Prove Progress OverTime
To get a more nuanced picture of thedata, DC Action and our partners atElder Research, Inc., created a weightedprociency formula that takes intoaccount the relative proportions ofstudents at each score level: belowbasic, basic, procient and advanced.
Weighted prociency scores are givenon a 1 to 4 scale. A weighted prociencyscore of 1 means all students scored“below basic,” while a weightedprociency score of 4 means all studentsscored “advanced.”This method captures more shadesof dierence in the data than simply“percent procient.” For example, aschool where 5 students scored “belowbasic” and 10 scored “basic” wouldreceive a higher weighted prociencyscore than a school where 15 studentsscored “below basic.” We applied asimilar weighted method to analyzeprociency based on race/ethnicgroup, individual family income andneighborhood.
 Our analysis o weighted prociency  scores or all tested third grade students rom 2007 to 2011 could not prove any statistically signicantchanges over time. (See Figure 1.)
b The formula for weighted prociency scores is:
[1 * (# Below Basic) + 2 * (# Basic) + 3 * (# Procient)+ 4 * (# Advanced)] / Total Students Tested
Figure 1. Third Grade Profciency 2007–2011: Could Not Prove SignifcantProgress
Weighted prociency scores or each year are shown by the markers, trends are shown by the lines.
   W  e   i  g   h   t  e   d   P  r  o   fi  c   i  e  n  c  y   S  c  o  r  e
2009 2010 2011
Facts on Third Grade Profciency in DC in 2011:
dc cAS asus stunts’ poan as on th statontnt stanas. Stunts iv on o ou sos on thi lvl o asty:
 Avan – xs asty o ontnt
Point – ast ontnt
basi – appoahing asty 
blow asi – littl asty 
In 2011:
Ovall, 42 pnt o dc thi gas so pointo avan in aing, an 36 pnt w point o avan in ath.
Fo thi ga ath, 85 pnt o whit stunts so point o avan, opa to 27 pnt o lak  stunts, a ifn o 58 pntag points.
Fo thi ga aing, 88 pnt o whit stunts so point o avan, opa to 35 pnt o lak  stunts, a ifn o 53 pntag points.Lag ifns in poiny w also asu o thi gas o onoially isavantag ailis. In aing, o xapl, 33 pnt o onoially isavantag thi gas so point o avan, opa to 62 pnt o non-onoially isavantag stunts. math sos show a siila ifn.

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