For the past decade, the Ithaca Board of Education has been pursuing a specific goal regarding equity: to “eliminate class and race as predictors of student success.”
In January, ICSD released its tenth annual equity report card. The report card, a 20-page document, is one aspect of ICSD’s strategic plan to achieve equity. It includes many metrics of student success, such as graduation rate, state test performance, and participation in elective courses, broken down by race and economic status.
ICSD has been working to implement the elements of its strategic plan to achieve equity. However, gaps between socioeconomic groups remain large in many areas. Here is a selection of some of the metrics included in the report.
Note: FRPL refers to students who participate in the free- or reduced-price lunch program. The equity report card often measures differences among socioeconomic groups by comparing metrics from FRPL and non-FRPL populations.
Graduation rates at ICSD have been increasing gradually. In 2016, 90.8 percent of all students graduated within four years of entering ninth grade, while 91.3 percent of all students graduated within five years of entering ninth grade.
The difference in four-year graduation rates between FRPL and non-FRPL students was 5.9 percent in 2016.
To give students support to graduate, ICSD has taken measures such as introducing graduation coaches to IHS and holding meetings with administrators and counselors to discuss diploma options.
State Testing Results (Grades 3–8)
Students in third through eighth grade take state-issued English language arts (ELA) and math exams. The exams are scored on a scale of 1–4. Students who earn a score of 3 or 4 are considered to be proficient.
In 2016, 65.6 percent of non-FRPL students were proficient on the ELA exam. Even fewer FRPL students (26.4 percent) were proficient. The statistics for the math exam were similar in 2016: 65.1 percent of non-FRPL students were proficient, and 31.3 percent of FRPL students were proficient.
According to the equity report card, ICSD is trying to improve test scores by collaborating with a consultant to improve the middle school math program, creating more opportunities for data analysis and professional development, and establishing consistent curriculum standards for all of ICSD’s elementary schools.
IHS offers 23 AP courses and 15 dual enrollment courses (courses that allow students to earn high school and college credit). IHS has been expanding the number of AP and dual enrollment courses that it offers. In 2016, 60.3 percent of non-FRPL students took at least one AP or dual enrollment course and 44.1 percent of FRPL students did.
Participation in elementary school band and orchestra is a new metric on the equity report card. Last year, 50.2 percent of FRPL elementary school students participated in band and/or orchestra, as opposed to 63 percent of non-FRPL students.
The equity report card does not currently include information about band or orchestra participation at the middle or high school levels.
In addition to including information about the performance of FRPL and non-FRPL students, the equity report card breaks down different metrics by gender and race. The report card also includes many other metrics of student performance, such as absenteeism and participation in co-curricular activities. To view the report card as a PDF, visit https://goo.gl/WumxwY. The interactive version of the report card can be found at https://goo.gl/Qovuko.