Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Being Like the Cool Kids




In a previous blog post, I discussed KASB’s efforts to identify peer states; those states that are similar to Kansas.  In this post, I will discuss KASB’s method for identifying states that outperform Kansas, which we will call “Aspiration States.”


Looking at states that perform better than Kansas on a majority of outcome measures might help us identify characteristics, such as funding formula components, that are associated with better student outcomes.


The process for identifying aspiration states is similar to the process used for identifying peer states using state values on a variety of measures.  We looked for states outperforming Kansas on at least 7 of the following 14 achievement and attainment measures:


  • Student Attainment
    • Freshman Graduation Rate
    • Cohort Graduation Rate (4 measures)
      • All Students
      • Economically Disadvantaged Students
      • Limited English Proficiency Students
      • Students with Disabilities
    • Percent of 18-25 year olds with a high school diploma
  • Student Achievement
    • Percent performing at or above “Basic” on the NAEP assessment (3 measures)
      • All Students
      • Students Eligible for the National School Lunch Program
      • Students Not Eligible for the National School Lunch Program
    • Percent performing at or above “Proficient” on the NAEP assessment (3 measures)
      • All Students
      • Students Eligible for the National School Lunch Program
      • Students Not Eligible for the National School Lunch Program
    • Percent meeting all four ACT benchmarks (adjusted for percent participation)
    • Average composite SAT score (adjusted for percent participation)


The following is the list of the identified Aspiration States, along with information on how they compare to Kansas on spending and student outcomes.  As noted in the post on Peer States, “similar to Kansas” on student demographics or population characteristics is defined as within plus or minus one half a standard deviation of Kansas’s value for the measure(s) in question.  


Aspiration States (better than KS on at least 8 out of 14 outcome measures)
  • New Hampshire (10)
    • Spends more on 6/6 funding measures
    • Has fewer students per district and school, but more students per staff
    • Similar to Kansas on 0/5 student demographic measures
    • Similar to Kansas on 1/5 population measures
  • New Jersey (10)
    • Spends more on 6/6 funding measures
    • Has fewer students per staff, but more students per district and school
    • Similar to Kansas on 0/5 student demographic measures
    • Similar to Kansas on 0/5 population measures
  • Massachusetts (9)
    • Spends more on 6/6 funding measures
    • Has more students per district, school, and staff
    • Similar to Kansas on 2/5 student demographic measures
    • Similar to Kansas on 1/5 population measures
  • Vermont (9)
    • Spends more on 6/6 funding measures
    • Has fewer students per district, school, and staff
    • Similar to Kansas on 0/5 student demographic measures
    • Similar to Kansas on 2/5 population measures
  • Minnesota (8)
    • Spends more on 6/6 funding measures
    • Has fewer students per school, but more students per district and staff
    • Similar to Kansas on 3/5 student demographic measures
    • Similar to Kansas on 2/5 population measures



NH
NJ
MA
VT
MN
Freshman Grad Rate
Cohort Graduate Rate
CGR - FRL
CGR - ELL
CGR - IDEA
Pct 18-25 - High School
NAEP Pct Basic
NAEP Pct Proficient
NAEP Pct Basic NSLP Eligible
NAEP Pct Proficient NSLP Eligible
NAEP Pct Basic NSLP Ineligible
NAEP Pct Proficient NSLP Ineligible
Pct Meeting All 4 ACT Benchmarks Adjusted
SAT Mean Score Adjusted


↑ = Value Higher than Kansas
↓ = Value Lower than Kansas


So, what does this tell us?  


First, only five states perform better than Kansas on a majority of the outcome measures examined.  
Second, all of the five aspiration states spend more per pupil than Kansas on all six funding measures.  


Third, there is a fairly even mix of states that have more students per district, school, and staff and those that have fewer students per district, school, and staff.  3/5 states had more students per district, 2/5 had more students per school, and 3/5 had more students per staff.


Fourth, none of these states were identified previously as a “peer state.”  Further, only one state is similar to Kansas on a majority of the student demographic measures (Minnesota), and no state is similar to Kansas on a majority of the population characteristics measures.   It is important to remember that these states differ from Kansas in student demographic and population characteristics, which are not under the control of the state education system.   


Next time we will talk about controlling for differences among states related to student demographics and population characteristics and how such an analysis might better inform us in terms of which states we should be looking to for ideas.  

To examine the data more closely, use the following links:

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