November 27, 2016
The report has a number of key findings:
- W-L has cut it’s gap in achievement with Yorktown by 40%
- Wakefield has doubled it’s achievement gap with Yorktown increasing by 109%
- Wakefield has tripled it’s achievement gap with W-L increasing by 280%
Although the report cannot prove causation, after analyzing the data with historical boundary changes and related studies, the data would suggest that economic factors play a large role in the achievement gap. This is seen from 1983-1987 when redistricting implemented over four years moved higher income neighborhoods from W-L to Yorktown the gap widens again. In 1988 the redistricting of comparatively higher income Halls Hill to Yorktown marks another widening of the gap. In 1997 onward, the current boundaries were put into effect, however, due to the concentration of lower-income housing in South Arlington. A study conducted by Fairfax Public Schools has found that when a school is past a 45 percent free and reduced lunch threshold they are very unlikely to perform. A section from their summary reads “Almost all schools with poverty levels of 45 percent or higher were unable to reach expected pass rate levels in reading or math. Follow‐up statistical analyses found statistical evidence that two tipping points exist in FCPS. The reading data provided the most consistent findings as it indicated two tipping points occurring at 20 and 40‐45 percent school‐level poverty. Thus, FCPS schools with greater than 20 percent poverty are much less likely to meet performance expectations than those with less than 20 percent poverty. And, once poverty levels at a school reach 40 percent or more, FCPS schools are unlikely to meet expectations for school performance.” I have provided their in the chart below. Ever since the 96-97 boundary changes Wakefield has been pushed over the 45 percent free and reduced lunch tipping point and scores appear to have stagnated since.