Is This Really Fair: Education Reform and Ranking Districts by Test Scores.Report as inadecuate

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Findings of a study that investigated the relationship between the socioeconomic characteristics of Ohio school districts and district test performance are presented in this paper. Methodology involved ANOVA analyses of data derived from the 611 Ohio school districts that participated in the state's 1989-90 testing program. The independent variable was district wealth and the dependent variable was district performance based on students' scores on the state's reading, language, and mathematics tests. Wealth was operationally defined as the average family income per tax return in the first analysis, and as the percentage of district families receiving aid to dependent children (ADC) in the second analysis. Findings show that district performance rankings were largely a measure of family wealth, which did not reflect school effectiveness or instructional quality. School districts should not be ranked according to test scores that are highly influenced by wealth, but on the basis of three categories of educational quality: access to knowledge; district expectations; and the teaching environment. Two tables are included. (LMI)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Accountability, Educational Equity (Finance), Elementary Education, Fiscal Capacity, Income, Performance Tests, School Districts, Scores, Socioeconomic Status, Standardized Tests, State Standards, Test Validity

Author: Denoyer, Richard; White, Michael



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