Potential Project Description for 2011-12


Title: Evaluating schools based on standardized test scores
Domain Expert: Jason Engbrecht (Physics; Faribault School Board Vice-Chair)

In Minnesota, students, schools, and school districts are assessed with a set of standardized tests called the MCA-II exams. These exams are designed to assess the reading and mathematics abilities of students in grades 3-11. Serious consequences are in place for schools that do not perform well on these exams. Unfortunately, although data exists to do so, mitigating factors such as rates of poverty, immigrant populations, and migrant populations are not taken into account during these assessments. This work would look at systematic ways of evaluating school districts and schools taking into account these mitigating factors and finding effective ways to communicate that information to policy makers at the school district and state levels. We hope to build upon work done by Spring 2011 Stat 316 students with the addition of individual level data, refinement of models, and dissemination to wider audiences in Minnesota and in the education field.