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New Tool Measures Equity in Schools

Access to High-Quality Schools | 03/22/2016

Deb Jaquith Marketing and Communications Director

Deborah serves as the marketing communications director for Stand for Children Washington.

Do you want to know how the achievement of low-income students in your city (or even school) stacks up against the achievement of ALL students in the state? Well, now you can get that information. And it is telling; particularly here in the State of Washington.

All of us understand deep down that the achievement gap between low-income student and their more advantaged peers exists, but never has a picture been so vividly painted in front of our eyes as it has with the new Education Equality Index

The EEI, released by the group Education Cities, is the first tool to compare student achievement data across several parameters (location, performance over time, etc.), using the number of students who receive free and reduced lunches as the qualifier for low-income. Powered by one of the largest collection of student achievement data ever gathered, the tool's purpose is to show whether a school, city, and/or state is closing the achievement gap, and, if so, how fast they are doing it.

Before diving into the data, take a look at the FAQs to fully understand what the measurements and rankings mean. Specifically helpful is this key to understand the EEI score given to a school/city/state:

68-100 = No Achievement Gap

Students from low-income families in a given school, city or state reach proficiency at a higher rate than their more advantaged peers, on average.

50-67.9 = Small Achievement Gap

Students from low-income families in a given school, city, or state reach proficiency at a similar rate as all students, on average.

38-49.9 = Large Achievement Gap

Students from low-income families in a given school, city, or state reach proficiency at a higher rate than most students from low-income families, but at a lower rate than all students, on average.

0-37.9 = Massive Achievement Gap

Students from low-income families in a given school, city, or state reach proficiency at a lower rate than students from other low-income families, on average.

You can also read a rundown of Education Cities' key findings and see the full data map to check out your own area's EEI scores and other rankings.

What's most important to pull away from the tool is this: we still have A LOT of work to do. Take, for example, this key finding: of the 100 major U.S. cities, 67 have massive achievement gaps.

While you will see that the gap is actually closing in many areas, it's not closing very fast. And in many other areas, the gap is actually growing. The work that Stand does on the state and local level is helping to change these statistics and close the achievement gap. To get involved, join Stand's work in Washington.

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