Let's see what the results look like four years later now that that first cohort has reached 3rd grade. We can also take a look at the performance of the 4th - 6th grades who participated in the program for some of their school years. Also, we can take a look at the 7th and 8th grades that received a remedial version of the reading program only.
As you can see from my fancy Excel 2007 graph below, Gering students are now performing better than the Nebraska state average.
The blue bars on the left represents the mean performance of all students in Nebraska on the Nebraska state NCLB test (a test with an artificially high pass rate to be sure, but we are concerned here with relative performance). Nebraska is about 70% white and 25% Hispanic so the average performance of all students comprises mostly white students.
The red bars represent the performance of all Gering students which is higher than the Nebraska average in all grades. This is significant because the demographics of Gering are below the Nebraska average. (Adults are less educated and there is more poverty.)
Now let's take a look at the subgroup data to see who is making the progress.
The green and purple bars represent the performance of Hispanic and white students respectively. Both groups are performing better than the state average for all students in all grades but grade 5 where Hispanics perform slightly below. Gering Hispanics are actually performing better than Gering white students in grade 7 which is something you rarely see on a district wide basis and/or without selective admissions.
The light blue bars (on the right) represent the performance of students receiving free and reduced price lunches -- a proxy for poverty. Poor students in Gering perform better than the Nebraska average for all students (not just poor ones) with the except of grades 5 and 7. This is something you don't see everyday. I've run quite a few analyses like this for different states and I have yet to find an entire school district whose low-SES students performed above the state average for all students.
Apparently the effects of poverty and being a non-Asian minority can be mitigated through good instruction alone.
I challenge anyone to produce similar effects for their favored non-instructional intervention (on a District-wide basis without selective admissions) that produce effects similar to those found in Gering in grades 3-8.
I'll drill down deeper into the data in a future post.