2017 Milestones Results by Subgroup

The visual below shows Georgia Milestones results by subgroup. The filters on the left allow comparisons by district, school, exam, subgroup, and year. The default view compares Black, Hispanic and White students at Atlanta Public Schools by the percentage of students who scored proficient or better on Math exams, grades 3-8.

This visual shows that achievement gaps are larger at Atlanta Public Schools than the Georgia average. Black and Hispanic students in APS score below their respective state average, and white students score well above the state average. For context, remember that a recent blog post showed the strong relationship between school average poverty and test scores. We can see in the graph below that household income by race and location show a very similar pattern to test scores.

Black families in the city of Atlanta have lower median household incomes than the state median for black families, while white families1 in Atlanta have much higher incomes than the state median. Note that this trend only exists for the city of Atlanta. When the entire Atlanta metro region is included2, black families have higher income ($45,057) than the state median for black families.

In addition to district trends, the test score visual can also show individual school data. The visual below compares achievement in 9th Grade Literature for different subgroups at Grady and Jackson high schools. Achievement levels at the two schools are similar for each subgroup, but the overall achievement rate at Grady is higher due to different composition of those groups.

Mouse over the details icon  to see definitions, such as “ELL”. Data for this visual comes from public files provided by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement3. The data also includes scores for free and reduced lunch (FRL) students which allows us to see how low-income students perform. However, at APS schools that use the community eligibility provision (CEP) all students are marked as FRL in Milestones reporting regardless of actual status. So FRL subgroup results are not displayed for these schools.

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Update: We heard reader feedback in response to our Milestones subgroup blog post, asking how a parent should interpret these data.

One thing to keep in mind is that these are school average results, and they might not reflect your own student’s performance or experience. There is often a lot of variation behind an average.

One question to ask when viewing the subgroup data is, “Are these gaps unique to my school, or does it reflect a larger trend in the district or state?” We want to correct achievement gaps in either case, but the methods might be different. If gaps are unique to your school, perhaps a core practice needs changed.

If gaps are reflective of a larger trend beyond your school, it could be helpful to ask, “What extra actions can our school take, or what extra resources can we provide to close these gaps?” You can also learn about district attempts at improvement, such as the school turnaround project.

Another step is to view data from individual schools similar to yours. If you find a similar school with smaller gaps, your school could ask what is working. If your school is not similar to many APS schools this tool can also be used for comparisons outside of APS. For example, here’s a comparison between Inman Middle School and Renfroe Middle School in Decatur.

In addition to gaps, it’s important to think about overall productivity. Our blog post on student growth provides actionable data on school performance. Our blog post on poverty vs. test scores is also helpful. Try toggling between grades and subjects to view areas of strength and areas for improvement.

1. The median income reported for white families uses the “white, non-Hispanic” result.
2. The US Census Metropolitan Statistical Area for Atlanta. Also of note: less than 10% of the Atlanta metro population lives in the city.
3. GOSA Milestones data files include results from summer retests. If a student did better on the summer retest, that score is included in the average. GADOE Milestones data files do not include summer retest results, so achievement levels in the GOSA file are sometimes slightly higher. For most schools the difference is 0-1 percentage points. GOSA files were used because the GADOE files do not break out subgroup scores.