Erroneous data in report misrepresents performance in several Kentucky school districts
I have already written here and here about credibility problems with the recently released “For All Kids, How Kentucky is Closing the High School Graduation Gap for Low-Income Students” from Johns Hopkins University and Civic Enterprises.
This week the report’s credibility slipped even more.
Page 16 of the report includes this slam on Kentucky’s Beechwood and Burgin independent school districts for their 2013-14 graduation statistics:
“The number of low-income students served by different districts is not correlated with their graduation rates for those students. For example, Beechwood Independent and Burgin Independent both have low-income populations under 30 percent, but both have low-income graduation rates of 75 percent, at the low end of the Kentucky graduation spectrum.”
As soon as I saw this, I wondered if the claim for the generally very high-performing Beechwood was correct. It didn’t take much searching in the “Data Sets” part of the Kentucky School Report Cards database to find out that Beechwood and Burgin actually posted superior graduation rates for their school lunch eligible students of 92.3 percent and 100 percent, respectively, in the 2013-14 school year (you have to dig all the way to Page 52 in the Hopkins report to learn that what they call “Low-Income” is actually based on students eligible for the federal free and reduced cost school lunch program).
Obviously, neither district’s true performance for low-income students was even close to the 75-percent graduation rate figure alleged by Johns Hopkins.