Monthly Archives: February 2016

What to do about Deciles?

After 12 years in UCFSD, ~95% of UHS graduates will continue their education at a college or university.  Selecting the right college is an important decision, and many students seek admission at some of the most competitive institutions in the country.

For many of our parents, admission to the best college is the prize for which sacrifices have been made, by both the student and the family.   It can carry tremendous emotional significance.  It often feels like the quality of child’s future opportunities depend on that admissions decision.  And let’s face it …. Competition for those slots is high.    As parents, we want our children to have every possible advantage in that competition.

A year ago, one of our parents observed that one of our policies might actually be creating a disadvantage for our students.   The culprit?  Our decile ranking policy.

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Family Background and Student Achievement – An Example

Student achievement is significantly influenced by non-school factors.  While demography is not entirely destiny, it is well-known that academic achievement is correlated with factors like the income of parents, family structure, and the level of education achieved by parents.  The Coleman Report from 1966 is credited with this discovery.

So let’s take this insight and see how it can help us understand student achievement and school performance.

Let’s compare two area schools, Pocopson Elementary and Greenwood Elementary.  Pocopson is the largest elementary school in UCFSD;  Greenwood is just across Route 1 from Longwood Gardens, and is in the Kennett Consolidated School District.  On a map, the catchment area for Greenwood runs up against UCFSD boundaries.

Take a look below at the academic achievement stats for both schools in 20 13-14.   Question:  which school is doing a better job educating its students? Continue reading