States aren’t counting minorities’ test scores, reports the AP in a story that’s sure to be misunderstood.
Under No Child Left Behind, all students must be tested in third through eighth grade and once in high school; everybody’s scores are counted. Schools also have to report scores by category — race, ethnicity, poverty, English fluency — unless there are too few students to be statistically significant. That’s why Asian-American students, who tend to have high scores, are the most likely, next to American Indians, to be “uncounted” as a separate category: They’re the most likely to be a small minority in the schools they attend. Here’s the problem:
State educators decide when a group is too small to count. And they’ve been asking the government for exemptions to exclude larger numbers of students in racial categories.
. . . -Oklahoma lets schools exclude the test scores from any racial category with 52 or fewer members in the testing population, one of the largest across-the-board exemptions. That means 1 in 5 children in the state don’t have scores broken out by race.
-Maryland, which tests about 150,000 students more than Oklahoma, has an exempt group size of just five. That means fewer than 1 in 100 don’t have scores counted.
Somewhere between Maryland and Oklahoma, this goes from a sensible policy to avoid reporting meaningless statistics to a ploy to avoid accountability for the poor performance of low-scoring groups.