The Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) has released a report describing how well large public school districts are mitigating the effects of poverty and other barriers. The study, Mirrors or Windows: How Well Do Large City Public Schools Overcome the Effects of Poverty and Other Barriers? uses data collected over the past ten years in reading and mathematics at the fourth- and eighth-grade levels from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to answer the question of whether “schools are windows of opportunity – helping overcome poverty and other barriers – or they are mirrors of society’s inequities.” Data was also used from the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) of NAEP. The Council initiated TUDA in 2000 so the nation’s largest school systems can track their progress against other cities, states, and the nation.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) believes that all children deserve a quality education,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “We are proud of the tireless efforts of our team of educational professionals and the ongoing support of families, which has propelled M-DCPS students to achieve and soar academically and personally. This report strongly validates our work over the past decade in providing a window of opportunity for all children that is unparalleled.”
The study found that Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) not only scored higher on NAEP than Large City School averages in all areas, but the District also outperformed All Other Schools, public and private, nationally in 4th grade Reading and Mathematics. In addition, “district effects” were calculated, representing the difference between the district’s actual test scores and predicted scores based on demographic attributes of the students tested that are known to impact achievement. M’DCPS’ district effects exceeded that of All Other Schools in 4th and 8th grade Reading and Math. Miami-Dade emerged as the only District to excel in the top rankings for both average scores and district effects in three of the four NAEP assessments. Overall, the study further reveals that the urban public schools did accelerate the performance of their students to a degree not seen in the comparison group, which included non-urban public and private schools.
“The significant accomplishments highlighted in this report reflect the outstanding work of Miami-Dade’s educators. I am proud of the consistent academic growth demonstrated by our students,” said Perla Tabares Hantman, Miami-Dade School Board Chair. “As illustrated by the data highlighted in this report, our District continuously aims to provide students with the resources and support they need to excel. On behalf of our entire School Board, I commend all who made this possible.”
M-DCPS showed results that were above expectations in fourth- and eighth grade reading and mathematics in 2019 and in most years over the 10-year period. Moreover, the District demonstrated some of the largest overall gains. M-DCPS district effects ranked first among TUDA districts, higher than Large City and All Other Schools in grade 4 Mathematics and Reading and ranked second in both grades in Reading.
· Grade 4 in both Reading and Mathematics exhibited greater than 14-point differences between observed and expected scores, outpacing all other districts in this measurement of accelerating student achievement.
· In 2019, M-DCPS was one of only five districts that showed significant positive district effects in both Reading and Mathematics and at both grade levels.
M-DCPS was also lauded for intentionally focusing investments by community partners on “fragile” schools—aligning those resources to meet student needs—as part its district improvement strategy. In addition to deploying the most effective teachers and leaders to these schools, the District directed greater support and resources to these sites.
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