Thursday, November 20, 2014

Factors Influencing Student Outcomes and How They Interact - 12 - Educational Attainment

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 Educational Attainment

The US Census Bureau provides statistics on the percent of 18 to 24 year olds in a state with at least a high-school diploma, and also the percent of 25 year olds and up with at least a high school diploma, a bachelors degree and up, and a graduate degree and up.  These provide a good set of measures indicating the educational attainment within a state.  The measure of 18 to 24 year olds with at least a high school diploma is also included as a dependent variable; or student outcome, as it can also represent an extended graduation rate for the state.

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 weak positive correlation between RPP and the percent of 18-24 year olds and 25 year olds and older with at least a high school diploma, but a strong positive correlation between RPP and the percent of 25 year olds and older with a bachelors, graduate degree, or higher.  This indicates that states with higher cost of living are also more likely to have citizens with some form of college degree.  
  • There is no correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent with at least a high school diploma, but there is a moderate negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent with at least a bachelors or at least a graduate degree; indicating that students from states with a higher percent of college degree earners are less likely to take the ACT.  There is no correlation to a weak positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and the percent with at least a high school diploma, and a strong positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and the percent with at least a bachelors or at least a graduate degree; indicating that students from states with a higher percent of college degree earners are more likely to take the SAT. 
  • There is a moderate to strong negative correlation between percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and educational attainment in the state; indicating that states with lower percents of at-risk students have higher percent of people achieving high school diplomas and college degrees.  
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between percent of white students and percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, a moderate to strong negative correlation between the percent of black and Hispanic students and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, and a weak negative correlation between percent of 18-24 year olds with at least a high school diploma and the percent of American Indian or Alaska native students, but a weak positive correlation between percent of 25 year olds and older with at least a high school diploma.  There is a weak negative correlation between percent of black students and percent of people with at least a bachelor's degree, a weak positive correlation between percent of Hispanic students and percent of people with at least a bachelor's degree, and no correlation between percent of white and American Indian or Alaska native students and percent of people with at least a bachelor's degree.  There is a weak negative correlation between the percent of white and American Indian or Alaska native students and the percent of people with a graduate degree, a weak correlation between the percent of Hispanic students and percent of people with a gradate degree, and no correlation between percent of black students and percent of population with a graduate degree.  
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between teacher salaries and percent of the population 18-14 with at least a high school diploma, a moderate to strong positive correlation between teacher salaries and percent of the population 25 and up with at least a bachelor's degree, a strong positive correlation between teacher salaries and percent of the population 25 and up with a graduate degree, and no correlation between teacher salaries and percent of the population 25 and up with at least a high school diploma; indicating that states with higher teacher salaries also tend to have a more educated populace.  
  • 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 negative correlation between poverty and educational attainment; with higher percents of poverty tied to lower educational attainment.  
  • There is a moderate to strong positive correlation between educational attainment and per capita and household income; indicating states with higher education levels also have higher income levels.

Moderate

  • There is a weak to moderate positive correlation between period and educational attainment; indicating that as time goes on a higher percent of the population is earning high school diplomas, bachelors degrees, and graduate degrees.
  • There is a weak to moderate negative correlation between ELL program participation and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, and a weak positive correlation between ELL program participation and percent of the population with a college degree; indicating that states with higher percents of ELL students have lower percents of high school completers but higher percents of college graduates.  
  • There is a moderate negative relationship between the number of students per teacher and percent of 18 to 24 year olds with at least a high school diploma and no correlation between the student teacher ratio and all other measures of educational attainment.  This indicates that states with fewer students per teacher have more residents ages 18 to 24 who have graduated from high school.

Weak

  • There is a weak positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, but no correlation between percent of student served under IDEA and percent of the population with a college degree; indicating that states with higher percents of special education students also have higher percents of people with at least a high school diploma.  
  • There is a weak positive to no correlation between spending on instruction as a percent and educational attainment; suggesting that states putting more spending towards expenses categorized as "instruction" also tend to have a more educated population.  
  • There is a weak positive to no correlation between population density and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, and a strong positive correlation between percent of 25 year olds and up with college degrees and population per square mile; indicating more densely populated states tend to have higher percents of the population with bachelors and graduate degrees. 

None or Very Weak

  • There were no correlations related to educational attainment yielding very weak or non-significant results.

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