Tags: Education | poverty | school district | stanford university | study

Study: Poverty Does Not Impact School Quality

Image: Study: Poverty Does Not Impact School Quality
Gifford Elementary School students in Racine, Wisconsin (Darren Hauck/AP)

Monday, 08 Jan 2018 05:26 PM

There is no connection between poverty and the quality of a school district, a Stanford University study showed.

In the study, researchers looked at the test scores from 45 million students in some 11,000 public school districts, finding a school's success is best reflected in its students' rate of improvement on standardized tests over time.

"There are many relatively high-poverty school districts where students appear to be learning at a faster rate than kids in other, less poor districts," Standford graduate school of education professor Sean Reardon said in a statement. "Poverty clearly does not determine the quality of a school system."

Reardon first gathered data on third-grade test scores, noting in the report "affluent families and districts are able to provide much greater opportunities than poor ones early in children's lives."

But then analyzing test scores from third- through eighth-graders in nearly every U.S. school district, Reardon found no correlation between how wealthy a district was and whether its school children were making greater gains in achievement.

In many cases, students in poor communities started with low test scores, but their scores rose much faster over the years than children in wealthier areas, the study found.

In high-poverty Chicago schools, for instance, students completed six years of material on average in just five years' time, the study showed.

"Chicago students start out with low test scores in third grade, but their growth rate is much higher than the national average — 20 percent higher," Reardon said. "That is true for all racial and ethnic groups in the district."

According to Reardon, the results should help parents better select schools for their children.

"You might find parents ranking communities differently if they weren't relying on average test scores, which are highly correlated with socioeconomic background," he said.

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A Stanford University study showed no connection between poverty and the quality of a school district.
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Monday, 08 Jan 2018 05:26 PM
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