Thursday, December 3, 2015

Time to Regroup

This past summer, KASB revealed a method for identifying states to use for comparisons.  These included Peer States, Aspiration States, and Higher Impact States.  Since then, more recent data has become available, and KASB has had time to see how well our original calculations and comparisons have worked.  As a result, we have a) updated our original calculations based on the new data and b) modified the calculations and groups themselves based on experience.

Higher Impact States

The first notable change is that (for the time being at least) we are no longer using the "Higher Impact" comparisons.  The theory behind these was to look at states that have better student outcomes than would be expected based on their student demographics and population characteristics.  The problems with this grouping were:
  1. It was very difficult to explain to most audiences,
  2. It was difficult to calculate, making ongoing updates fairly time-consuming, and
  3. The states identified were for the most part those that had much lower student outcomes than Kansas and therefore it did not seem beneficial to look to them for ideas.  

Aspiration States

The second change relates to the Aspiration States.  The calculations for this group did not change, but there were updates to the following outcomes data:
  1. The percent of 18-24 year olds with at least a high school diploma
  2. Average freshman graduation rate
  3. NAEP
  4. ACT
  5. SAT
Based on these updates, the list of Aspiration States went from this:
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
  • Minnesota
To this:
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
So, Minnesota fell off the list, and Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska were added.  This means that overall Kansas went from having five states with better student outcomes on at least 8 of the 14 measures used to having seven states with better student outcomes on a majority of these measures.

Peer States

The peer states have changed both in terms of updated data and modified calculations.  Originally the list was based on those states that were within half a standard deviation +/- of Kansas' value on a majority of the 10 student demographic and population characteristic variables used.  Of these, the following data was updated:
  1. Percent of Children in Poverty
  2. Percent of students who are white
  3. Adults (25 and up) with at least a high school diploma, bachelor's degree, or graduate degree
In addition, we identified seven new variables to use:
  1. Population per square mile in 
    • urbanized areas (50,000 or more people), 
    • urban clusters (at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people), and 
    • urban areas (urbanized areas + urban clusters)
  2. Percent of the population in
    • urbanized areas
    • urban clusters
    • urban areas
  3. Percent of the population below poverty in the past 12 months
Finally, based on the addition of new variables, KASB decide to split the Peer States group into four types of peers:
  1. Student Peers - states with values within +/- 1/2 standard deviation of Kansas on at least 3/5 student demographic variables:
    • Percent of children at 100% poverty
    • Percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (at-risk)
    • Percent of students served under IDEA (special education)
    • Percent of students participating in English Language Learners program (bilingual)
    • Percent of student who are white
  2. Adult Peers - states with values within +/- 1/2 standard deviation of Kansas on at least 3/5 adult  demographic variables:
    • Median household income
    • Percent of 25 year olds and older with at least a:
      • High school diploma
      • Bachelor's degree
      • Graduate degree
    • Percent of the population with income below the poverty level in the past 12 months
  3. Distribution Peers - states with values within +/- 1/2 standard deviation of Kansas on at least 4/7 population distribution variables:
    • Population per square mile
    • Population per square mile in urbanized areas, urban clusters, and urban areas
    • Percent of the population in urbanized areas, urban clusters, and urban areas
  4. Overall Peers - states with values within +/- 1/2 standard deviation of Kansas on at least 9/17 of the Student, Adult, and Distribution variables.
The original list of Peer States was:
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois

Overall Peers

The new list of Overall Peers is very similar; but Illinois was replaced by five other states:
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • South Dakota

Student Peers

The Student Peers, or states with student populations very similar to Kansas, are:
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon
  • Virginia 
  • Wisconsin

Adult Peers

The Adult Peers, or states with adult populations very similar to Kansas, are:
  • Alaska
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Distribution Peers

The Distribution Peers, or states with similar urban/rural population distributions to Kansas, are:
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
These different peer groups should allow us to look at the question "what do states similar to Kansas do?" in different ways.
Below is a map KASB prepared showing the new state groups, along with the difference between what each spends (in terms of total revenue per pupil) and what Kansas spends on education to share with the legislature and other interested parties.  Starting next week you will be seeing new information from KASB organized around these new state groupings.  Stay tuned!  

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