Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seattle school district disaggregation of Pacific Islanders and Asians reveals drastically different scores

Earlier this month, The Seattle Times reported on public remarks by Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda, unveiling problems and progress made within Seattle-area schools.

Seattle, and Washington State in general, has a noticeably larger than average community of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, so I was curious about whether the district complied with the federal data collection standard that recognizes Pacific Islanders and Asians as two distinct groups. I was pleased to see that at least in some cases, the answer is yes.

As a result, rather than reporting a figure that lumps Pacific Islanders in with Asians, we can see whether the two groups are at different places academically.

The result? A wide gap.

81 percent of Asian students in the school district passed the state's math exams, much higher than any other reported group. The corresponding passage rate for Pacific Islanders was 46 percent, meaning that the average PI student is not passing the test.

These kinds of problems would have been hidden if the two groups had their data combined. (For more on why "Asian Pacific Islander" data rarely portrays Pacific Islanders accurately, click here: link.) Now that they have accurate data, we hope that they will be more effective in helping Pacific Islander students achieve their educational potential.

Read the full article here: link


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