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No difference in education schools impart to disadvantaged students as compared to wealthier ones.

Summary: Washington D.C. [USA], Sept 29 (ANI): There's no difference in the education of schools teaching disadvantaged, minority children and advantaged kids, a new study has found.

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept 29 (ANI): There's no difference in the education of schools teaching disadvantaged, minority children and advantaged kids, a new study has found.

The findings published in Sociology of Education might surprise given that student test scores are normally higher in suburban and wealthier school districts than they are in urban districts serving mostly disadvantaged and minority children.

But those test scores speak more to what happens outside the classroom than how schools themselves are performing, said lead author Douglas Downey, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

"We found that if you look at how much students are learning during the school year, the difference between schools serving mostly advantaged students and those serving mostly disadvantaged students is essentially zero," Downey said.

"Test scores at one point in time are not a fair way to evaluate the impact of schools," he added.

Many school districts have moved away from evaluating schools by test scores, instead of using a "growth" or "value-added" measure to see how much students learn over a calendar year.

While these growth models are considered by the researchers to be a big improvement over using test scores at one point in time, they still don't account for the summers, during which kids from advantaged areas don't backtrack in their learning the way children from disadvantaged areas often do.

This "summer loss" for disadvantaged students isn't surprising, given the difficulties they face with issues like family instability and food insecurity, Downey said.

"What is remarkable is not what happens in summer, but what happens when these disadvantaged students go back to school: The learning gap essentially disappears. They tend to learn at the same rate as those from the wealthier, suburban schools," he added.

Researchers used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -- Kindergarten Cohort 2010-2011, which involved more than 17,000 students in 230 schools around the country.

Children took reading tests at the beginning and end of kindergarten and near completion of their first and second grades.

That allowed the researchers to calculate how much children learned during three school periods and compare that to what happened during the summers.

The results showed that children in schools serving disadvantaged students, on average, saw their reading scores rise about as much during the school year as did those in more advantaged schools.

That doesn't mean all schools were equally good, Downey said. But the findings showed that the "good" schools weren't all concentrated in the wealthier areas and the "bad" schools in the poor areas.

Disadvantaged kids start with poorer home environments and neighborhoods and begin school behind students who come from wealthier backgrounds, Downey said.

"But when they go to school they stop losing ground. That doesn't agree with the traditional story about how schools supposedly add to inequality," he said. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Sep 29, 2019
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