We recently discussed the fact that the Alabama Accountability Act requires that students getting scholarships from a scholarship granting organization must take the same state assessment as students in public schools do.
These scores go to the Alabama Department of Revenue and are now being “analyzed” by the University of Alabama. This report is due by September 1–but will not have a breakdown on a school-by-school basis. Instead, Joan Barth at the University of Alabama says scores will be compared to comparable students in public schools.
So I turned to one of my reliable sources, Brittany Larkin in the College of Education at Auburn University, for her thoughts.
As usual, Brittany is to the point.
“My first thought is that it doesn’t really matter how well or poor a private school is doing because we can’t do anything about it anyway,” she says. “We can’t impose regulations on them.”
“But what should be done is to look at the growth of a student. For example, what were their percentile scores on standardized tests before attending the private school and where are they now? Has the voucher improved that child’s performance?
“But to really learn anything we need the demographic information of the students on scholarships, including socio-economic status and location of zoned public school.
“If data shows it’s mostly middle or upper socio-economic status students using the vouchers and we compare them to public schools, it is my opinion that the scholarship students are doing at least as well as the public school–if not better.
“Charter school advocates do this all the time.”
I look forward to seeing the report. Will it really give us meaningful info, your guess is as good as mine.