Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Factors Influencing Student Outcomes and How They Interact - 10 - School Spending

In response to the feedback received on "Educational Funding and Student Outcomes: The Relationship as Evidenced by State-Level Data," the KASB Research Department is working on a "Part II" which will dig further into other factors that impact student outcomes, and how funding impacts when these other factors are taken into consideration.

In this series of blog posts, I will describe the preliminary correlation analysis comparing these factors (independent variables) with each other in an attempt to show how closely tied to each other they are.  

Today's topic is School Spending

The US Census Bureau provides information on per student total revenue, current spending, and spending on instruction by state and year.  These values are included in the study as actual dollar amounts, amounts adjusted for inflation over time using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, and amounts adjusted for state cost of living using the Bureau of Economic Analysis' Regional Price Parity calculation.

In terms of other independent variables, I will list the interactions in terms of the strength of the highest correlation between variables observed; Strong (+/- 1.0 to 0.5), Moderate (+/- 0.5 to 0.3), Weak (+/- .03 to 0.1), and None or Very Weak (+/- 0.1 to 0.0).

Strong

  • There is a strong positive correlation between RPP and school spending; indicating that states with higher cost of living also spend more money per pupil than those with lower cost of living.  This relationship remains strong when adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), and becomes moderate when adjusted for RPP; which means that even when the dollar amounts are adjusted for state cost of living, the relationship remains statistically significant between RPP and per pupil spending.
  • There is a moderate negative relationship between the percent of graduates taking the ACT exam and per pupil spending, and a moderate to strong positive relationship between the percent of students taking the SAT and per pupil spending; meaning students from states spending less on education are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT.  This relationship remains strong when adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), but becomes moderate when adjusted for state cost of living (RPP).  
  • There is a moderate to strong negative correlation between student-teacher ratio and all measures of school spending; indicating that states with higher per pupil spending also have fewer students per teacher.  
  • There is a strong positive correlation between teacher salaries and school spending; indicating that states that spend more per pupil also have higher teacher salaries.
  • There is a weak to strong positive correlation between school spending and educational attainment; indicating states that spend more per pupil also have more highly educated populations.
  • There is a moderate to strong correlation between school spending and population per square mile; indicating states that spend more per pupil are more densely populated.
  • There is a weak to strong positive correlation between school spending and per capita or household income; indicating states that spend more per pupil have higher average individual and family income.  

Moderate

  • There is a moderate positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and education funding with and without adjustments for inflation (CPI2014) and state cost of living (RPP); indicating that states with higher percents of special education students spend more on average per pupil.  
  • There is a moderate negative correlation between percent of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch and education spending.  This is true for actual dollars and dollars adjusted for inflation (CPI2014) and state cost of living (RPP); suggesting that states with more at-risk students (largely due to poverty) also have lower per pupil spending.  
  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and education spending when looking at actual dollar amounts and inflation-adjusted amounts, and a moderate negative correlation when looking at state cost-of-living-adjusted amounts; suggesting that states with higher percents of ELL students have lower per pupil spending, and this trend is even more apparent when accounting for regional cost differences.
  • There is  a moderate positive correlation to no correlation between instruction as a percent of current spending or total revenue and school spending in terms of dollars; indicating that states with higher per pupil spending also tend to put a higher percent of spending towards expenses categorized as "instruction."  

Weak

  • There is a weak positive correlation between period and school spending; indicating that as time passes, more money per pupil is being spent on education.  This relationship becomes very weak to weak when adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), but becomes weak to moderate when adjusted for regional cost of living (RPP). This suggests that overall education spending per pupil may be increasing nationwide at a rate slightly higher than inflation.  
  • There is no correlation between school spending and percent of white, black, or American Indian or Alaska native students and a weak negative correlation for some measures of school spending and percent of Hispanic students when looking at actual dollars and dollars adjusted for inflation (CPI2014).  When adjusting for state cost-of-living (RPP), there is a weak positive correlation between the percent of white students and school spending, a weak negative correlation between the percent of Hispanic students and school spending, and no correlation between school spending and the percent of black and American Indian or Alaska native students.  This suggests that beyond regional cost differences, states with higher percents of white students and lower percents of Hispanic students have higher per pupil education spending.  

None or Very Weak

  • There were no comparisons to school spending for which the strongest correlation was very weak or non-significant.

No comments:

Post a Comment