Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Where have all the high scores gone?

 Where have all the high scores gone?

Where have all the high scores gone, long time passing.   There has been a great deal of concern lately that scores on standardized tests are dropping precipitously since the pandemic has been over.   Several reasons have been advanced.  One is that the students didn’t get quite as much out of virtual instruction as once thought.  Imagine that!   Another reason is that it has been hard for the kids to get used to being in school buildings and settling down with in-school behavior thereby limiting learning.

Here is another reason.  Baltimore County has seen a decrease in population this school year of almost 5%.   It has been determined that these students are either being home-schooled or they are in private schools.

Here is how that can disproportionately negatively impact test scores.   Along with acknowledging the first three letters in the word assume, there are supportable reasons why the loss of over 5000 students would impact test scores.

It is reasonable that these parents care more about their child’s education than the average bear.  They are proactively moving their children out of the public schools because they are not satisfied with the free education.

Private schools cost money.  Unless a family is extremely well off financially, making the decision to place your child(ren) in a private school is going to impact the financial affairs of the family.  Maybe shorter or different vacations, maybe keeping that car an extra year or two.  These families are willing to make the sacrifice in order for their children to have a better education.

Home schooling also costs money, even if only sacrificing the income of the parent who is doing the schooling.  And even home-schooling requires technology, materials, books and money for field trips.

Families making these sacrifices value education and are showing it by their spending.   Probably these are the same kids whose parents made sure homework was done, followed what their students were learning in school and made sure they got good rest and a breakfast on standardized test days.

Losing 5% of your best performing test takers is bound to impact the overall performance of the school district.

Not saying that virtual non-learning didn’t have an impact, nor did getting back in the grove.  But if you wonder why even the “good” systems saw a drop in schools, maybe all the high scores have gone to private schools and home schools.   Just a thought.

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