We had a Curriculum Committee meeting on Monday, and I’ve been pondering some very interesting data presented by Dr. Ritu Khanna, our head of research. According to recent studies, it’s possible to pinpoint the students that are at risk for not completing high school based on two risk factors in 8th grade: having a GPA of less than 2.0 and an attendance rate lower than 87.5 percent.
According to a study of almost 2. 6 million student records from urban school districts across the country, 89 percent of students who did not possess either risk factor in 8th grade and who passed all of their academic core courses (math, English, social studies or science) in 9th grade graduated in four years. By contrast, only 55 percent of students who possessed one risk factor but still passed all of their 9th grade core courses were able to graduate in four years. And only 24 percent of students who possessed both risk factors in the 8th grade — even though they passed all of their 9th grade core courses — graduated in four years. Scary.
Curious what the data for 8th graders at SF middle schools is? Funny you should ask — here it is!
8th grade students with a Fall 2010 GPA of less than 2.0 AND instructional time attendance of less than 87.5%, by SF middle school*
|School||# of Students||Percent of 8th
|Bessie Carmichael K-8||2||1.1|
|Martin Luther King, Jr.||4||2.2|
|Willie L. Brown||7||3.8|
*I noticed as I was entering the data that Claire Lilienthal is missing;a commenter noticed that Lawton is also missing. I’ll find that data and add it later.
What I think is interesting about this data is the high rate of students with risk factors at several schools that are otherwise high-performing (Hoover and Presidio, primarily, but also Marina). At some of the lower-performing schools (Horace Mann and Willie Brown in particular) the relative lack of students with risk factors might be related to those schools being very diligent with their anti-truancy efforts. Anyway, the real point is that now we know there are 182 students currently in the 8th grade who are statistically at least, very at-risk. I’ve asked for this data to be transmitted to each middle school (and the high schools where these students will move next year), so that schools can develop plans to support them.