Taking socioeconomic factors into account by comparing Governor Scott’s composite FCAT score to a school district’s free/reduced lunch percentage suggests another way of assigning grades to school districts. Take the graph of composite FCAT score vs. % free/reduced lunch I posted yesterday, and fit a linear trendline, thus:
composite score = -189.69*(percentage free/reduced lunch) + 610.52
School districts that are close to this fitted line are average and deserve a corresponding grade (let’s say “B”). A district far enough above the line is doing significantly better than demographics would predict and deserves an “A”. A district too far below the line deserves a “C” (or worse, but we’ll stick to “C”).
Let’s say that “average” districts are within 15 points of the fitted composite FCAT score for their particular free/reduced lunch percentages; they get B’s. More than 15 points above the line, and the school district earns an “A”. More than 15 points below the line gets a “C”.
Under this scheme, which school district is tops in Florida? Dixie and Gilchrist are tied for the top rank, 67 points above the line (and therefore 67 points above the expected composite FCAT score for their % free/reduced lunch, which is 63.6% for Dixie and 55.1% for Gilchrist). The top-ranked district in the Governor’s rankings, which do not take socioeconomic status into account, is St. Johns. In my ranking, St. Johns still earns an “A”, but is ranked only 13th.
At the other end of the rankings, Madison County is still at the bottom, 72 points below the composite FCAT score expected for its free/reduced lunch number, which is a dismal 67.1%.
Gadsden County has an even higher free/reduced lunch number, 76.6%, but earns a composite FCAT score of 474, which is 63 points above Madison’s 411 and is 9 points above the expected value for that free/reduced number. Gadsden earns a “B” in my scheme.
In my scheme, Leon County earns a “C” with it’s FCAT score of 533, which is 21 points below the value expected for its free/reduced lunch percentage of 29.8%.
Here’s the spreadsheet with all of this: