Gap Analysis Report 2011

 

Gap Analysis 2011

Executive Summary

 

In the past two years, the THECB P-16 Initiatives Division had provided the core data elements and the associated data files for the gap analysis. This is not the case anymore for the 2010 gap analysis. We were informed to search the data and select the indicators by ourselves this time. Apparently, the easiest way is to use the same data and indicators as before if ever possible. After the preliminary data search, it was found that majority of the indicators in the 2008 and 2009 gap analysis reports were still feasible for this year’s gap analysis, although not completely identical. In addition, there has been an increasing interest in the performances of the minority students in higher education in the past years due to the initiatives of Closing for Gaps by 2015. In response to such interest and demand, the THECB has published various reports on the Texas Higher Education Regional Data website. Among these reports, the longitudinal one on the 1998 seventh grade cohort through higher education in 2009 is particularly valuable. It clearly demonstrates how the cohort, either as a whole or by ethnicity and gender, had progressed from the 7th grade in 1998 to higher education graduation by 2009. Thus, in addition to reporting the similar indicators as those in the past two reports, we also added analysis on the performances of the regional students in the seventh grade cohort.

This eighth annual gap analysis report for the North Texas Regional P-16 Council resembles the 2008 and 2009 reports on (1) using the similar demographic and PK-16 indicators, (2) presenting data primarily in graphs rather than in tables, and (3) omitting the charts at the ISD level in this Word document while leaving them to the tables with a dropdown listbox in the Excel document. However, this report differs from the previous two ones on two major aspects. First, the demographic and PK-16 indicators in the current report were not completely congruent to those in the 2008 and 2009 reports as the data were no longer supplied by the THECB P-16 Initiatives Division. Second, several new indicators related to the Metroplex region from the Texas Higher Education Regional Data were added. The chosen data elements and indicators for the present gap analysis were documented at length in Table 1 in the section of ‘Introduction to the 2010 Report’ in this document.

We also continued the trend analyses in the 2008 and 2009 reports if ever possible. In fact, in most cases, this 2010 report extended the data analysis in the previous report to the next data point. Hence, the four primary purposes of this report are as follows: (a) conducting the horizontal analysis on the key academic and non-academic performance indexes between north Texas and the state in 2010 or on the latest data point; (2) performing vertical analysis on the key indicators between 2010 and 2009 or between 2009 and 2008, depending on the available latest data point, in north Texas and the state; (3) tracking the change trends on the key indicators based on the multi-year cross-sectional data in north Texas and the state; and (4) identifying the gaps on various indicators in higher education between north Texas and the state by utilizing the longitudinal cohort data.

At this point, it should be pointed out that north Texas has four different annotations in this report depending on the source of the data. If the council or the regional council was used, it refers to the North Texas Regional P-16 Council with 14 member ISDs. Whenever the data were available or could be derived for the regional council based on the 14 ISDs, we would present the data for the regional council. The Texas Education Agency does not use the concept of regional council. Instead, it divides the public basic education in Texas into 20 ESC (Education Service Center) regions. In this context, north Texas refers to ESC Region 10 (i.e., Richardson) with 115 districts and ESC Region 11 (i.e., Fort Worth) with 92 school districts. On many of the indicators based on the data sources from the TEA, we used the ESC Regions 10 and 11 because the regional council was not applicable in these scenarios. In many of its earlier reports, the THECB used the municipal counties. In those reports, north Texas means the four counties in north Texas: Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant. These municipal counties have also been used by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the present report, we used these municipal counties only when presenting the demography and higher education enrollment in north Texas. Finally, the THECB lately classifies the Texas higher education into ten regions. North Texas in this context refers to Region 3 or the Metroplex region, which includes 17 municipal counties and 32 public and independent higher education institutions in the DFW area (see the map in Texas Higher Education Regional Data for Region 3 for details). We used the concept of Region 3 primarily when we analyzed the regional residents’ performances on the Texas Higher Education Regional Data.

To achieve the above purposes, the following data sources were utilized for this report. First, the regional demographic profiles were updated based on the latest data available from the U. S. Census Bureau website (http://www.census.gov/). Second, the TEA’s Lone Star Report System (http://loving1.tea.state.tx.us/lonestar/Home.aspx) was used to update the Accountability Ratings and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) evaluations in the regional council and the 14 school districts. It was also used for the analysis on the public PK enrollment. The data on various academic and non-academic indicators in elementary and secondary education were pulled out from the AEIS website (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/). As in the previous report, the high school graduation data were from the Texas PK-16 Public Education Information Resources (TPEIR) (http://www.texaseducationinfo.org/tea.tpeir.web/topic_graduate.aspx). The fifth data source was Texas Higher Education Data: High School to College Linkages (http://www.txhighereddata.org/Interactive/HSCollLinkFilters/HSGradEnrolByCountyDistrict.cfm). Finally, the Texas Higher Education Regional Data website was used to analyze the regional students’ performances on higher education. This report in MS Word was created for easy readability as in 2008 and 2009. Hence, it typically only presents the graphs for the aggregate entities (e.g., the state, the regional council, or the ESC regions), and omits the charts for individual entities at the district level as the last two reports. For the previous reports and the current detailed report in Excel, please refer to the North Texas Regional P-16 Council website at www.coe.unt.edu/NTP16as usual.

 

Overview of the Demographic Profiles

The first part of this report provides the contextual references for the 2010 gap analysis, and is organized in a similar way as before. It starts with the latest demography and the changes in the general population in north Texas. It then examines the demographic profiles of the regional school districts in the school year of 2009-2010 and the changes from 2009 to 2010. Finally, it addresses the accountability ratings and the adequate yearly progress (AYP) evaluations in the regional school districts in the school year of 2009-10 and the changes. Typically, we started the analysis with the latest data as the snapshot, and then we tracked the changes over time if possible.

On the general population, about 55% in the four north Texas counties were non-Anglo in 2010, 18% higher than the national average. Dallas County had the largest ratio of the underrepresented people, 12% higher than the statewide average. However, the other three counties had lower percentages of underrepresented populations than the state. Among them, Collin and Denton Counties had 63.1% and 64.4% Caucasians, respectively, close to the national average of 63.7%. In 2010, Texas had 37.6% of Hispanics, over 21% higher than the national average. Among the four north Texas counties, only Dallas County was higher than the statewide average on Hispanics. It also had the largest ratio of African Americans at 21.9%, about 10% higher than the national average of 12.2% and the state average of 11.5%. For the population changes from 2009 to 2010, the state of Texas had increased 1.5%, more than twice faster than the nation at 0.6%. In north Texas, all of the four counties had been slower than the state. Dallas and Collin Counties had even dropped 3.4% and 1.2%, respectively.

On the school profiles, the regional council and the state had increased 1.1% and 2.0%, respectively, on the total ECE-12 enrollment from 2009 to 2010. Within the regional council, as found in the earlier years, small ISDs were likely to have fast growth. For the three types of school districts, the large one had gradually decreased at an annual rate of about 0.5% from 2008 to 2010. On the other hand, the small and medium ones had slowly grown at an annual rate of 0.2 – 0.3% - 0.3%. On student diversity, both the North Texas Regional P-16 Council and the state continued to grow from 2009 to 2010. The regional council was still higher than the state on the underrepresented students in 2010: 11.5% higher on the non-Caucasian students, 4.7% higher on the students from the low income families, and 7.6% higher on the LEP students. However, the growth rate on non-Caucasian students in the regional council had been reduced to 0.5%, lower than the rate of 0.7% in the state.

The trend analysis on the demography of the ECE-12 students based on the eight-year data from 2003 to 2010 has revealed the following pattern of changes in the state, the regional council, and most of the 14 school districts: fast increases of the Hispanic and low SES students, slow growth of the LEP students, a steady decrease of Caucasians, and small changes of the African Americans. The regional council had grown even faster than the state on the Hispanic and low SES students. However, the regional council had grown at an annual rate of 1% in the eight school years from 2003 to 2010, slower than the state at 1.7%. Within the council, small ISDs were more likely to show large growth rates. Moreover, the two largest ISDs even demonstrated a negative annual growth rate at -0.5% and -0.1%, respectively.

On accountability ratings, the regional council continued the improvement from 2009 to 2010, especially on the categories of ‘Exemplary’ and ‘Academically Unacceptable’. However, the state as a whole had progressed even faster than the council in the same period, especially on ‘Exemplary’ and ‘Recognized’. Consequently, the regional council had fallen behind the state about 5% on the combination of ‘Exemplary’ and ‘Recognized’ in 2010 from a leading position of roughly 12% ahead of the state in 2009. On  AYP evaluations, whereas the state had dropped 2.6% on ‘Met AYP’ and increased 16% on ‘Missed AYP’ from 2009 to 2010, the regional council had performed much better, especially with a 4.5% increase on ‘Met AYP’. Accordingly, the regional council had surpassed the state 7% on ‘Met AYP’ in 2010, which was about 1% below the statewide average in 2009.

The trend analysis on accountability ratings from 2004 to 2010 has found that the state and the regional council had a similar change pattern: a steady growth on 'Exemplary' and 'Recognized', a stable decline on ‘Academically Acceptable', and a small undesirable positive increase on 'Academically Unacceptable'. The regional council had a net annual growth rate of 5.1% on accountability ratings from 2004 to 2010, faster than the statewide average 4.3%. On  AYP evaluations, whereas the state had a negative average annual rate of -2.0%, the regional council demonstrated a small positive growth rate at 0.6%, possibly due to its relatively large progress from 2009 to 2010.

 

Overview of PK-5 Findings

The second part of this report concentrates on public pre-K enrollment and the TAKS performances in elementary schools as before. More specifically, on public PK enrollment, we examined: (a) the total number of public pre-K enrollment in each of the 14 ISDs in the school year of 2009-2010, (b) the percentage of change on public PK enrollment from 2009 to 2010, and (c) the average annual growth rate from 2004 to 2010. On the TAKS tests in the elementary school, we extended the analysis in the last report to include the data in 2010: (a) the overall percentages of 3rd graders in reading, 4th graders in writing, and 5th graders in mathematics on meeting the passing standards in 2010 and 2009; (b) the percentages of meeting the passing standards on the three TAKS tests in 2010 and 2009 in different demographic groups; (c) the percentages on meeting the passing standards on the three tests in different demographic groups in the state, the ESC Regions 10 and 11, and the 14 ISDs from 2003 to 2010; and (d) the average annual growth rates on the three TAKS tests on meeting the passing standards in different demographic groups in the state and the ESC Regions 10 and 11 in the eight-year period from 2003 to 2010. Thus, for the indicators in elementary education, this 2010 report did not have data on public PK enrollment by ethnicity or SES and the ARI or AMI participation in the first graders as in the 2008 and 2009 reports.

On public PK enrollment, the council had increased 2.5% from 2009 to 2010, much slower than the state at 6.6%. Smaller districts were likely to demonstrate larger change rates. The trend analysis on the total public PK enrollment size in the seven-year period from 2004 to 2010 indicates that the regional council had grown at an annual rate of 3.2%, slightly slower than the state at 3.8% in the same period. Again, small ISDs generally tended to have fast growth.

On the elementary TAKS tests, as the data for the regional council were not provided this year, the data for the ESC Regions 10 and 11 were used. Regions X and XI had increased 2% and 1% to 93% and 92% on meeting the passing standards in Grade 3 reading, respectively, from 2009 to 2010. Meanwhile, the state had grown 2% to 92%. Thus, the two local ESC regions overall were fairly close to the state on meeting the minimum standards in Grade 3 reading in the past two years. For the subtle differences, Region X appeared to be higher than the state, and Region XI was lower than the state in 2010. In addition, Region X had grown faster than Region XI from 2009 to 20010. For the differences in the demographic groups, the White and Asian/Pacific Islander groups were still notably higher than the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups in 2010. However, the latter three groups had grown faster than the two former ones from 2009 to 2010.

On the TAKS test in Grade 4 writing, the state and Regions X and XI had increased 1%, 1%, and 0% to 92%, 93%, and 91%, respectively, from 2009 to 2010. Thus, Region X was slightly higher than the state and Region XI in 2010. Region 10 also had a faster growth rate than Region XI from 2009 to 2010. Additionally, the African American and low SES groups had decreased 1% in Region XI from 2009 to 2010. Thus, the growth on Grade 4 writing in Region XI was not as consistent as that on Grade 3 reading. For the group differences in the five individual groups, the White and Asian/Pacific Islander groups were still higher than the other three groups in 2010. However, the magnitudes of the differences between the high and low performance groups on Grade 4 writing were smaller than those on Grade 3 reading or Grade 5 mathematics.

On Grade 5 mathematics, the state and Regions X and XI had increased 2%, 3%, and 4% to 86%, 88%, and 87%, respectively, from 2009 to 2010. Thus, the two local ESC regions were higher than the state in 2010. They also had grown faster than the state from 2009 to 2010. Region X was still 1% higher than Region XI in 2010. However, Region XI had increased 1% faster than Region X and 2% faster than the state from 2009 to 2010. For the group differences, the White and Asian/Pacific Islander groups were much higher than the other three demographic groups just as in Grade 3 reading. Moreover, the African American group ranked the lowest in the state and the two local regions, even significantly lower than the Hispanic group. Again, the low performance groups generally showed high growth rates from 2009 to 2010.

The trend analysis on the elementary TAKS performances in the eight-year period from 2003 to 2010 has found that, although the annual growth rates were generally less than 2%, the state and the two local ESC regions all had positively grown in either the collective group or the individual groups. However, there were some group differences on the growth rate among the entities, groups, or even the tests. Region XI appeared to grow slower than the state and Region X on Grade 3 reading and Grade 4 writing. The lowly performed African American, Hispanic, and low SES had generally grown faster than the highly performed White and Asian/Pacific groups. The growth rate on the lowly performed TAKS test in Grade 5 mathematics was higher than that in Grade 3 reading or Grade 4 writing. Thus, in many cases, the gaps had been reduced. However, there were several exceptions. First, the gender gaps on certain TAKS tests were not shrank as desired. For instance, males had been lower than females on the Grade 3 TAKS test in reading. However, they did not grow faster than females. Similarly, the female group had performed lower than the male counterpart on the TAKS test in Grade 5 mathematics. But it had not increased faster than the male group. The second concern is that the African American group had been lower and had grown slower than the Hispanic group. At last, Region XI did not show higher growth rates than the state or Region X although it had been lower than them. 

 

Overview of Secondary Education Findings

The gap analysis for secondary education this year is organized similarly as in 2008 or 2009. It also has three sections as in the previous two reports, but with some major differences as the same types of data were not provided this year. The first section is still on the TAKS performances in middle school grades. The second section is also dedicated to retention rates in secondary education as before. And the last section is again on high school success factors. Nevertheless, the data elements in the last section were quite different from those in the 2008 and 2009 reports: (a) the 9–11th graders taking advanced course/dual enrollment in different demographic groups in the state and Regions 10 and 11 in 2008 and 2009, (b) the 11–12th graders on the AP/IB results (tested) in the state and Regions 10 and 11 in 2008 and 2009, and (c) 4-year completion rate (grades 9 – 12) including Completion Rate I and Completion Rate II in the collective and the individual demographic groups in the state and Regions 10 and 11 in 2008 and 2009. Finally, the trend analysis on the three types of graduation plans in MPH/IEP, RHSP, and DAP in the state and the regional council was extended to include the newest data in 2009.

On the eight secondary TAKS tests, Region 10 and Region 11 had similar percentages on meeting both the minimum and commended standards in 2010. And both were typically about 2% higher than the state. Students generally performed better on English language arts than on mathematics and science. The two local regions also had the similar change patterns as the state on every TAKS test from 2009 to 2010. However, there were wide variations on the changes from 2009 to 2010 on the eight TAKS tests in the state and Regions 10 and 11. Grade 8 science and Grade 7 mathematics and writing had positive increases on meeting both the passing and commended standards. Conversely, Grade 6 reading had the largest decreases on meeting the two standards. The remaining four tests showed inconsistent changes, typically in opposite directions on meeting the two standards.

On retention rate in 6–12th grades, both Region 10 and Region 11 were slightly better than the state in 2009. Furthermore, Region 11 even had lower rates than Region 10. For the differences in the demographic groups, the African American, Hispanic, and low SES students had much higher retention rates than the Caucasian peers in 2009 as before. Also the male group had a higher rate than the female counterpart, especially in 6–8th grades. For the differences on grade, the rates were typically less than 2% in 6–8th grades, jumped to around 12% in Grade 9, then dropped to about 5-6% in 10–11th  grades, and finally increased to about 7% in Grade 12 in 2009. Finally, the retention rate had typically declined in the four-year period from 2006 to 2009 in the 17 entities at each grade.

On the first indicator for high school success, the overall ratio on 9–12th graders taking advanced course/dual enrollment in 2009 in the state, Regions 10 and 11, and most of the 14 ISDs was generally around 25%. More specifically, Region 11 was close to the state, and Region 10 was 1-2% higher than the state. For the group differences on the demographic variables, the Asian/Pacific Islander and White groups were much higher than the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups. In addition, females were about 5% higher than males. Within the regional council, the Plano and Richardson ISDs showed consistent high percentages across the groups. The Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs also demonstrated high ratios, especially in the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups. On the other hand, the DeSoto and Mesquite ISD were low in most of the groups. For the changes from 2008 to 2009, most of the 17 educational constituents had increased 1-2%. In addition, Region 10 appeared to grow somewhat faster than Region 11 and the state.

On the second high school success indicator – 11-12th graders participated in AP/IB tests, the findings were generally similar to those on 9-12th graders taking advanced course/dual enrollment. For instance, for the differences between the state and Region 10 and 11, Region 10 was approximately 2% higher than the state, and Region 11 was close to the state in most of the groups in 2009. For the group differences on ethnicity, the Asian/Pacific and White groups were much higher than the African American and Hispanic groups. Additionally, the Hispanic group was about 5% higher than the African American group. For the gender difference, females were also about 5% higher than males in 2009 as on the previous indicator. Moreover, the advantages of Regions 10 and 11 over the state were more from the White and/or the female groups rather than from the African American, Hispanic, or male groups. However, different from the steady 1-2% growth from 2008 to 2009 on the previous indicator, the magnitude of the change on AP/IB results (tested) was smaller, typically in the range of ±0.5% in most of the groups in the two local ESC regions and the state.

For the third indicator on 4-year completion rate in different categories, about 80% of high school students graduated on time in the state and Regions 10 and11 in 2009. In addition, Region 11 was slightly higher than Region 10 which was close to the state in most of the groups. For the group differences on the demographic variables, the Asian/Pacific Islander and White groups had much higher percentages on ‘Graduated’, Completion Rate I, and Completion Rate II than the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups. For the gender difference, the female group had been about 1-2% higher than the male group on ‘Graduated’, Completion Rate I, and Completion Rate II in both 2008 and 2009. On other categories, the African American and the male groups appeared to have higher percentages of students receiving GED than the other groups. For the individual ISDs in the regional council, the Dallas ISD showed consistently low percentages on ‘Graduated’, Completion Rate I, and Completion Rate II in the collective and individual groups. For the changes from 2008 to 2009, there were small positive increases, often less than 2% on ‘Graduated’, Completion Rate I, or Completion Rate II in most of the educational constituents. Again, the highly performed entities generally showed slower growth rates than the lowly performed ones.

The trend analysis on high school graduation plans in RHSP, MHP/IEP, and DAP from 1998 to 2009 has found that the state and the regional council had increased at an annual rate of 4.4% and 5.2% on RHSP, respectively. Meanwhile, the state and the regional council had declined at an annual rate of -4.6% and -4.9% on MHP/IEP from 1998 to 2009, respectively. In the same 12-year period, the state and the regional council had increased at an annual rate of 0.1% and 0.3% on DAP, respectively. Thus, both the state and the regional council had made significant progress within the 12 school years on RHSP and MHP/IEP, but had not improved much on DAP. Comparatively, the regional council had improved faster on RHSP and MHP/IEP, but slower on DAP than the state in the 12 years. Furthermore, it was found that the ISDs with higher growth rates on RHSP usually demonstrated faster decline rates on MHP/IEP from 1998 to 2009.

 

Overview of Postsecondary Findings

The final part of this report, like the previous two ones, focuses on postsecondary education including college-readiness and higher education enrollment. In addition, it takes advantage of the Texas Higher Education Regional Data, including the 1998 seventh grade cohort tracked through higher education in 2009, for the first time as they were available in 2010. The analysis on college-ready in this report is fairly similar to the ones in the 2008 and 2009 reports. It first presents the percentages of college-ready graduates in both English language and mathematics in the state, the regional council, and the 14 ISDs in 2009. It then displays the percentages of college-ready graduates in the collective and the individual demographic groups in English language arts, mathematics, and both subjects from 2006 to 2009. Finally, it tracks the performances on the TSI – Higher Education Readiness Components in English language arts and mathematics in the collective and the demographic groups in the state and Regions 10 and 11 from 2004 to 2010. On higher education enrollment, we first present the enrollment data in the state, the North Texas Regional P-16 Council, and the 14 ISDs in 2009. Then, we track the enrollment data in the four north Texas counties (i.e., Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant) between 1996 and 2009 by the categories of 2-year, 4-year, and total. In addition, we compare the average annual growth rates in the 14 years on the three categories in the north Texas counties with the corresponding ones in the state. On the Texas Higher Education Regional Data, we first present the higher education enrollment in 2009 in the Metroplex region or Region 3. Then we contrast the enrollment in 2000 and 2009 in Region 3. Later, we examine the higher education attainment in the regional residents, as measured by percentages of receiving baccalaureate or higher degrees or earning degree/certificate. Finally, we explore the 1998 seventh grade cohort data from several different perspectives as this longitudinal cohort study could reveal many meaningful messages that other cross-sectional data cannot.

On college readiness, the ratios of college-ready graduates in both English language arts and mathematics in 2009 in the regional council and the state were 47% and 45%, an increase of 3% or 2% from 2008, respectively. For the ESC Regions 10 and 11, they were slightly higher than the state on college-ready graduates in English language arts or mathematics in the school years of 2006–2009. Furthermore, Region 11 had been somewhat higher than Region 10. The state and Regions 10 and 11 had positively grown on college-ready graduates in either English language arts, mathematics, or both in the four-year period from 2006 to 2009. Additionally, the low performance groups or districts generally had higher growth rates than the highly performed ones from 2006 to 2009. For the group differences on gender, the female group was higher than the male counterpart on English language arts, but it was lower than the male group on mathematics. The gender gap had become blurred when both subject areas were considered concurrently. For the group differences on the other demographic variables, the White and Asian/Pacific Islander groups were much higher than the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups. Finally, the trend analysis on the seven-year data on TSI - Higher Education Readiness Component from 2004 to 2010 basically reveals the same findings as those on college-ready graduates. Moreover, it refines several earlier findings. For instance, it finds that the African American group usually had the lowest percentages, especially in mathematics. It also indicates that the growth in English language arts was faster than that in mathematics.

On higher education enrollment, the rates in the class of 2008-2009 in the state and the regional council were still 54% and 51%, respectively, the same as those in the classes of 2007-2008 in the last report. For higher education enrollment in the four counties in north Texas in 2009, the north Texas as a whole was comparable to the state on 2-year enrollment, but about 1% lower than the state on 4-year enrollment. Denton County had been the highest on 4-year enrollment from 1996 to 2009, but it had been generally the lowest on 2-year enrollment. Thus, it is important to decompose the total enrollment into 2-year and 4-year for analysis. Almost all of the counties in north Texas had a small positive growth rate on both 2-year and 4-year enrollments. The average annual growth rates in north Texas as a whole in the 14 years from 1996 to 2009 on 2-year, 4-year, and the total enrollment were 0.13%, 0.35%, and 0.48%, respectively. The corresponding rates in the state were 0.19%, 0.44%, and 0.63%. Thus, the north Texas collectively was slightly slower than the state. The counties with low performances generally had grown faster than the ones with high performances. In short, the trend analysis on the 14-year data from 1996 to 2009 on higher education enrollment has found that that the north Texas as a whole had been lower than the state and had grown slower than the state, especially in 4-year enrollment.

Texas higher education regional data revealed that majority of the students in Region 3 were enrolled into the in-region, the public, or the 2-year higher education institutions in 2009. From 2000 to 2009, each ethnic group had a remarkable increase in both 2-year and 4-year enrollments. The Hispanic group had the largest growth, followed by the African American group. The growth on 2-year enrollment was much larger than that on 4-year enrollment. The White group still was the largest in higher education enrollment in Region 3 in 2009. However, it had reduced 9% to 53% on 2-year enrollment and 62% on 4-year enrollment from 2000 to 2009. More females were enrolled in either 2-year or 4-year enrollment in each ethnic group in Region 3 in 2009. The gender disparity was the largest in the African American group, especially on 4-year enrollment. Less than one third of the enrollees in the African American group were males in 4-year enrollment. The gender gap in the White group was the least, at 16% in both 2-year and 4-year enrollments.

On higher education attainment, Region 3 was lower than the state in the first-time undergraduates (FTUG) started at public Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) on receiving the baccalaureate or higher degrees within 6 or 10 years. However, it was higher than the state in the FTUGs started at public universities. For the gender differences, females were higher than males in each ethnic group. For the differences on ethnicity, the White group was the highest, whereas the African American group was the lowest. More precisely, the African American male group had been the lowest consistently. The Hispanic group was usually between the White and the African American groups. Nevertheless, it was almost close to the White group in the FTUG started at public universities within 10 years. For the differences between the 6-year and 10-year data collection points, each group had shown significant gains, especially in the low performance groups. On higher education attainment as reflected on earning a higher education degree/certificate in the classes of 2001-2003, Region 3 had a total ratio of 22.2%, one percent lower than the statewide average. For the three individual enrollment types, Region 3 was close to the state in those who did not start higher education immediately after high school graduation and those started at 2-year. However, Region 3 appeared to be slightly lower than the state in those started at 4-year. Finally, although as many as 40 public universities in Texas conferred the baccalaureate degrees to the regional residents in the classes of 2001-2003, only six universities had relatively large percentages: UNT (18.1%), Texas A&M (13.8%), UT Austin (12.7%), UT Arlington (12.3%), Texas Tech (9.9%), and UT Dallas (7.6%). They collectively accounted for almost 75% of the baccalaureate degrees.

For the analysis on the 1998 seventh grade cohort through higher education in 2009, it was found that Region 3 was slightly lower than the state on the key milestones. The differences were more obvious in the Hispanic group than in the African American or White groups. For the gender difference, females outperformed males in each of the three ethnic groups on all of the major milestones. For the differences on ethnicity, the Caucasians were higher than the African Americans and Hispanics. Furthermore, the African American group was slightly higher than the Hispanic group. For the performances on the key milestones, the ratio of graduation from high school ranged from 57% in the African American male group to 75% in the White female group. Similarly, the ratio of high education enrollment ranged from 26% in the Hispanic male group to 63% in the White female group. Finally, the ratio of earning a higher education degree/certificate ranged from 5% in the Hispanic male group to about 29% in the White female group.

In conclusion, three major conclusions could be drawn from the above PK-16 analyses across the indicators. In the forefront, the north Texas (either the regional P-16 council, the ESC Regions 10 and 11, the four municipal counties, or Region 3 in Texas higher education regions) generally was comparable to the state on various indicators. Secondly, the north Texas and the state usually had the same or similar change patterns, often in the desired direction. Finally, there were some notable differences between the north Texas and the state or between different entities/groups within north Texas as explained on the applicable indicators through this report. The unsatisfactory performances in north Texas serve as a major driving force of the recommendations below.

 

Recommendations of the 2010 Gap Analysis Report

The recommendations below are primarily based on the findings of the gap analysis in the current report. Some of these recommendations could be addressed by the regional council alone, whereas many others require joint adventures between the North Texas Regional P-16 Council and the other key stakeholders.

1. Although slower than the state, the regional council continued to grow on diversity from 2009 to 2010 and had a higher percentage of diversity in the ECE-12 students than the state in 2010, thus, it is critical for the schools in the regional council to be ready for the growing and greater diversity, especially for the fast rise of the Hispanic and low SES students.

2. It appears that there has been a tendency of “regression to the mean” in both the general population in north Texas and the ECE-12 students in the regional council. In other words, small counties/school districts have grows faster than the large ones. Hence, we should prepare and plan for such a change trend.

3. Although the regional council had significantly improved on accountability ratings from 2009 to 2010, as reflected in the increase of ‘Exemplary’ and the decline of ‘Academically Unacceptable’, it had grown much slower than the state in the same period. The regional council needs to identify the key factors leading to relatively slow growth in the council, and implement proper action plans to catch up with the state on accountability ratings.

4. On AYP evaluations, although the regional council was 7% higher than the state in 2010, and had grown faster than the state either in the 2-year interval from 2009 to 2010 or in the seven-year interval from 2004 to 2010, the status and the growth of AYP evaluations were much less satisfactory than those on accountability ratings in the regional council. We definitely need to understand why the improvement on accountability ratings was so dramatic, whereas the progress on AYP evaluations was so still if not worsening.

5. On public PK enrollment, the regional council had grown slower than the state either from 2009 to 2010 or from 2004 to 2010. Hence, the North Texas Regional P-16 Council needs to work collaboratively with the slowly growing ISDs to boost the public PK enrollment.

6. On elementary TAKS tests, there were two major concerns. Firstly, Region XI needs to improve faster to catch up with Region X in the neighborhood. Secondly, as the African American group was the lowest on the Grade 5 mathematics TAKS test, we may need to examine if the African American group was also the lowest on the TAKS tests in mathematics in other grades. Then, we should implement effective programs to help the African American students.

7. Similarly, the trend analysis on the eight-year data from 2003 to 2010 has found that certain low performance groups/entities did not show higher growth rates such as the male students in Grade 3 reading, the female students in Grade 5 mathematics, the lowly performed African American group and the ESC Region 11. We should pay more attention to these low performance groups/entities in order to close the gaps.

8. The biggest issue on secondary TAKS tests was that some tests had not positively grown on meeting the minimum and commended standards from 2009 to 2010 as desired. Particularly, Grade 6 reading had dropped notably on meeting both of the standards. We do not know if such a decline was related to the changes in the test itself or the performances of the students. Additionally, the growth on the commended performance deserves more attention as it was lower than that on meeting the passing standards.

9. On retention rates in Grades 6-12, the state, the ESC Regions 10 and 11, and most of the 14 ISDs in the regional council had made remarkable progress from 2006 to 2009. Thus, we should repeat the best practices to further reduce the retention rates in the African American, Hispanic, low SES, and male students.

10. On high school students taking advanced course/dual enrollment in 2009, while we should strive to increase the percentages in all of the groups as the ratios were only around 25% in most groups, we may need to particularly focus on the ones with the relatively low percentages such as Region 11, the African American, the Hispanic, the low SES, or the male students. For the differences among the ISDs, we found that the Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs had performed well, especially in the African American, Hispanic, and low SES groups, whereas the Mesquite ISD was low in most of the groups. Clearly, the most important question is to know why the two largest ISD did so well in the three normally low performance groups and why the Mesquite ISD was so surprisingly low on this indicator. Then, we should identify the key success factors and learn from the best practices.

11. On the performance of 11-12th graders participated in the AP/IB tests, two findings deserve special attention. First, the African American group was about 5% lower than the Hispanic group, and males were also 5% lower than females. We should make extra efforts to help the African American and the male students. Second, there were few changes from 2008 to 2009 in most of the groups in the state or Regions 10 and 11. We need to improve the ratio of 11-12th graders taking AP/IB tests.

12. On 4-year completion rate, the Dallas ISD had the lowest percentage on ‘Graduated’, Completion Rate I, or Completion Rate II. Thus, we should take necessary actions to improve the performances in the Dallas ISD. In addition, we need to provide more helps to the African American, Hispanic, low SES, and male students as well.

13. As stated in the earlier reports, we need to increase the ratio of students graduating with DAP in both the regional council and the state.

14. On college readiness, we need to improve more on college-ready in mathematics, especially in African American students.

15. We need to increase higher education enrollment, especially 4-year enrollment, in the regional council or in the four counties in north Texas.

16. The local community colleges need to be ready the fast growth of Hispanic students.

17. We should make every effort to enroll more African American and Hispanic male students in higher education, especially in the 4-year institutions. Furthermore, we need to support them to complete the higher education successfully with a degree/certificate.

18. We need to develop effective programs and action plans to close the gaps between the Metroplex region and the state on higher education enrollment and attainment.