Gap Analysis Report 2007

 

Gap Analysis 2007

Executive Summary

 

This is the fifth annual Gap Analysis Report published by the North Texas Regional P-16 Council. The reports provide an overview of gaps in the achievement of students in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.  Each report builds on the data of the previous years, offering commentary about the progress of students as they move toward college graduation and into the workforce. The 2007 report presents information using graphs with drop-down menus that allow the reader to view the data by school district, higher education institution or teacher preparation entity. To view the complete report, go to www.notlb.com/NTP16

Data for the report were taken from a variety of sources including the Academic Excellence Indicator System of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and reports of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the State Board for Educator Certification, and members of the North Texas Regional P-16 Council.  Data are also included from national agencies such as the Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.  This executive summary offers highlights of the 2007 report. 

The trend towards greater diversity among students in the public schools in the North Texas region continues. The population is increasingly Hispanic and African American, and this is true for large urban districts as well as smaller urban, suburban, and rural districts. The trend towards greater numbers of students who are economically disadvantaged continues, also.

The state demographer predicts that the population of Texas will become increasingly Hispanic by the year 2040 with a net increase of 77.6 percent. The African American population will increase by 5.6 percent and the White population will increase by only 4.2 percent. (Murdock, 2005) In some school districts, the public school population already reflects the future population distribution of the state.

The 2007 report shows that TEA Region 10, including Dallas ISD, has more students who are economically disadvantaged and more students of color than in TEA Region 11, which includes Fort Worth ISD. However, gaps in the achievement of Hispanic and African American students are evident in both regions by the third grade. By fifth grade, students in North Texas perform closer to the state averages, and the achievement gaps appear to be closing. By eighth grade, African American students are doing better in mathematics than in reading but they continue to score below white students and below the mean for the state. The achievement gaps become more obvious by the time students reach eleventh grade, and this has implications for their transition to college.

Of note in this report is that in some cases, especially in K-12 education, declines in TAKS scores are not confined to students of color but to their white counterparts as well, although the achievement gap is clearly evident.  The overall decline in scores may be due in part to constantly rising standards for student performance. The good news is that a rising percentage of high school students is taking the required high school curriculum. This is the case for all racial and socioeconomic groups. There is an increase of 24 points in the percentage of students taking the Recommended Curriculum within the 5 years the Council has been tracking this data.  Also, the percentage of high schools in the region making Adequate Yearly Progress, as mandated by the No Child Left Behind legislation, appears to be increasing each year.

Concerns that emerge from the report include the low percentages of African American and Hispanic students who are taking and then passing Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, lower than expected percentages of high school graduates who are enrolling immediately in higher education, and high percentages of students who require developmental education (remediation) upon entry to community college.

In this year’s report, the Council examined for the first time mobility and suspension data that represent missed opportunities to learn that some students encounter due to time out of the classroom.  The Council recommends that members find ways to respond to indicators that too many students are not in class.

Teacher preparation entities of the region include universities, school districts, community college, and private businesses.  The five largest providers in the region include representatives of three of these types of entity.  Their combined effort is not preparing new teachers at a rate that will meet the demands of schools in the region, especially in TAKS tested subjects and in high poverty, high minority schools.   

Schools, community colleges, and universities in the region are defying the odds and developing programs and practices that are leading to increased achievement, graduation rates, and access to higher education. During the coming year, the North Texas Regional P-16 Council will continue to document the best practices and share them with others.

Reference

Murdock, S (2005, November). Texasdemographics and their effect upon public and higher education. Video Presentation sponsored by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.