Friday, May 29, 2009

Area High School Graduation Test Results

Today’s Banner-Herald has a story about how area high school juniors did on their first crack at the Georgia High School Graduation Test. Much to my dismay (believe it or not), the results for the Clarke County School District were entirely predictable. For the particulars, see Ryan Blackburn’s article and its accompanying chart.

So, let’s run the numbers. Of the eight area school systems mentioned in the article, Clarke County scored the lowest, not to mention below the state average, in all four categories.

Concerning the math portion of the test, 89% of the CCSD’s students passed. Barrow and Oglethorpe Counties tallied the next lowest percentage at 93%. Jefferson City and Oconee County led the way with 97%. The state average was 94%.

In language arts, 84% of the CCSD juniors passed. The next lowest percentage was shared by Madison and Oglethorpe Counties at 87%. The highest percentage went to Oconee Countyat 95%. The state average was 90%.

Regarding science, Clarke County came in at 82%. Madison and Oglethorpe Counties had the next lowest percentages at 84%. Oconee County again scored the highest at 94%. The state average was 88%.

Finally, 79% of the CCSD’s juniors passed the social studies portion of the test. Madison County was next lowest at 83%. Commerce City schools scored the best at 95%. The state average was 87%.

Next, consider the per pupil spending by these various school systems for FY 2008:

Barrow County (12,194 students) $7968.16
Clarke County (11,834 students) $11,180.05
Commerce City (1504 students) $8692.96
Jackson County (6852 students) $10,279.22
Jefferson City (2472 students) $7738.37
Madison County (4711 students) $8942.75
Oconee County (6471 students) $8542.34
Oglethorpe County (2438 students) $8756.68
State Average $8967.83

Once again, the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the strategy of raising student achievement through increased expenditures is one that is easily debunked. I realize that I harp on this point, but the lack of funds argument is one of the favorites routinely trotted out to excuse the CCSD’s academic shortcomings.

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GES said...

All of these outlying counties have student populations with lots of whites, blacks and hispanics. The proportion is not notably different in ACC, so this "pocket-of-poverty" and "ghetto people" argument abutting the poor performance of ACC schools is pure hogwash; it's also not a reasonable explanation why ACC spends at least $2 grand more for each student it purports to educate. Even worse is the high drop-out rate in ACC schools -- more evidence that throwing money at the system is even worse than doing nothing! ACC schools would improve markedly if the public would support an appointed school board; not perfect, of course, but much better than what we have. If people are really concerned about the kids, then you'd think they'd do this ... which makes me wonder what the powers-that-be are concerned about?!

B. Y. Clark said...

Clarke County is one of the poorest counties in the nation for its population size. To think that economics has nothing to do with performance is silly.

Additionally, funding may or may not have a positive influence on student performance. There are many people on both sides of this argument with plenty of data to support their argument...but one thing we cannot do is dismiss it outright.

GES said...

Silly or not, throwing money at the problem seems somehow to produce even worse results. This is nothing new, either, I just wonder if its getting through to some people.