KASB Research Blog - Ted Carter

KASB Research Blog - Ted Carter

Source and Purpose

I have written several pieces in recent months aimed to help consumers of information get a better feel for what is good research and what is bad.  We’ve talked about Averages, Deviations and Ranges, and Likert Scales.  In this article we will talk about looking at the source(s) of information and the intended purpose, whether it is stated or not. No human being is without bias.  And, by extension, no organization created by humans is without bias.  Everyone has some kind of a stake in the research they do, and it is very, very difficult to ensure fair and impartial...

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Salaries According to KSDE

Every year the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) collects and reports data on Superintendent, Principal, and Teacher Salaries.  This includes both contracted and actual amounts.  The data, along with more specifics on how they collect the data and the definitions they use can be found here. There are a couple of ways you can look at the average salary amounts.  The first is by district, and the second is by FTE. Averages by district represent the average amount paid by each district regardless of how many teachers, principals, or superintendents they employ, so a district with 10 teachers would be...

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What the Heck is a Likert Scale?

I am confident I know what a Likert scale is. 5 = Strongly Agree 4 = Agree 3 = Neutral 2 = Disagree 1 = Strongly Disagree Chances are you’ve encountered a question like the one above countless times over the years. This is what is called a Likert scale, named after its inventor Rensis Likert; an American psychologist who first used the scale in 1932. Since then, countless variations of this type of scale have been used on surveys and questionnaires around the world. According to Wikipedia, a Likert scale is “a psychometric scale commonly involved in research that employs...

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KASB Enrollment Projections Indicate Slight Decline Through 2023-24 

KASB’s annual enrollment projection indicates that enrollment numbers will gradually decline from 499,034 in 2018-19 to 490,383 in 2023-24, which is a 1.7 percent decline in overall enrollment. The following table shows the total numbers for each year and the percent change from the previous year:  Year  Total  % Change  2007-08  468,704    2008-09  470,316  0.3%  2009-10  475,373  1.1%  2010-11  485,082  2.0%  2011-12  486,956  0.4%  2012-13  489,582  0.5%  2013-14  496,903  1.5%  2014-15  497,778  0.2%  2015-16  496,739  -0.2%  2016-17  495,356  -0.3%  2017-18  498,317  0.6%  2018-19  499,034  0.1%  2019-20  498,705  -0.1%  2020-21  496,842  -0.4%  2021-22  495,427  -0.3%  2022-23  494,333  -0.2%  2023-24  490,383  -0.8%   KASB’s estimate does not take into consideration things such as commercial and residential development or other factors that could influence increases or decreases in student enrollment within public school districts.  A ratio is calculated between county-level live birth rates and first grade enrollment within each district seven years later across the most recent five years, then that...

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Distributions and Deviations and Ranges, Oh My!

Recently, I shared an article on averages and how they can be misleading. This article will expand on that and talk about how the nature of the data being represented can have a huge impact on the averages being discussed.  Previously, we talked about the mean (the mathematical average calculated by adding up all the numbers and dividing by the count of numbers), the median (the middle number in a series of numbers), and the mode (the most commonly occurring number). The things we will talk about today could impact all three of these types of averages, but we are...

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On Average, the Average Average isn’t as Average as the Average Person Thinks…

In what some are calling the "Post-Fact World," it is critical that we work to be informed consumers of information.  To that end, I thought it might be useful to share some thoughts and information on the notion of "average" amounts and why you need to look at reported averages very closely to make sure you understand what they mean. First, let's talk about what the word "Average" means. Merriam-Webster says Average is "a : a single value (such as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values." Wikipedia says Average is...

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The Devil’s in the Demographics

This scatterplot shows the relationship between the percent eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch within a school and the percent performing at Grade Level or Above on the 2017 KS State Assessments (Reading and Mathematics).  We all want to be able to compare things.  Humans have a drive to qualify the world around them by determining what is better and what is worse.  The problem is, we often make these judgments without considering all the pertinent facts. Take school performance, for example.  What if you wanted to make a Report Card that compared schools on state assessment results?  What would you...

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Kansas Enrollment Projections 2017-18 Enhanced

Earlier this year, KASB released its annual Statewide Enrollment Projections along with district-level projections by grade and free/reduced-price lunch status.  The report can be found here, and the online tool allowing you to select one or more districts can be found here. Recently, KASB gathered demographics data from KSDE's report card data, and has incorporated this into the enrollment projections to provide state and district-level projections for gender, race/ethnicity, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learner (ELL) students, migrant students, and students with disabilities. This data was available for the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years.  KASB calculated the percent...

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NAEP Limitations and Cautions

Every other year when the NAEP results come out, there is a lot of discussion and debate about the national examination.  Many put a lot of stock in the data it provides, as it is pretty much the only national test with results from every state that can be used to make comparisons of student performance across the country.  However, there are some limitations to the NAEP exam and some cautions that should be noted in terms of how the results are used. In 2009, researchers from the Buros Center for Testing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (my graduate school)...

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Mind the Gap

Last time, we talked about the difference between Kansas and all Public Schools in the U.S. in terms of the NAEP reading and math assessments for 4th and 8th grade.  This analysis looked at the values for all students. Today, we are going to look at the gap in performance between those who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Program versus those who do not qualify.  For public school students in the nation, this is the closest thing we have to a direct measure of students' socioeconomic status.  The gap between performance for high and...

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