The Low-Growth Schools of Los Angeles

Before I dive into some disappointing facts, let me say this: when I talk about low-growth or negative results , I am not doing it to single out individuals or teams. What I am trying to do is point out a weakness so that people can come together to make change. That being said, there really is no way to put some of these things lightly. So I am just going to put it out there.

There were 11 schools in Los Angeles in which all grades had growth below the 20th percentile.

  • Robert A. Millikan Affiliated Charter & Performing Arts Magnet
  • Forty-Second Street Elementary
  • Fullbright Avenue Elementary
  • Sharp Avenue Elementary
  • Shirley Avenue Elementary
  • Stonehurst Avenue Elementary
  • Tarzana Elementary
  • Trinity Street Elementary
  • Walgrove Avenue Elementary
  • Saturn Street Elementary
  • Ninth Street Elementary

In addition, KIPP Empower had low growth, but they only had one year of data, so they do not meet the requirements for evaluation that I set out last time.

What does it mean to score in the lowest 20th percentile? What does that look like for students? It means that, on average, these students are moving away from meeting standards. 

Think of it this way: The average fourth grader in LAUSD moves 14 points away from meeting standards in math. Yes, you read that right. Between 3rd and 4th grade, kids on average move further away from being proficient.

But at Fulbright Avenue, 4th grade students moved 69.8 points away from meeting standards in Math. That means that while the students were meeting standards on average in 3rd grade, they were well below meeting those standards after 4th grade.

And at Fulbright, this didn’t just happen in one grade or in one subject. It happened in both 4th and 5th, and in both subjects.

Another example: The average 7th grader stays basically at the same level (increasing by .03) in English. But at Millikan, the average 7th grader goes backwards 23.3 points.

This is exactly why growth measures are so important. Fullbright is a middle-of-the-road elementary school in terms of proficiency. Few people are hounding them for their low scores. And Millikan is a high performing middle school – one of the highest in Los Angeles. Yet these schools had outcomes for their students that resulted in negative growth.

In fact, with the exception of Forty-Second Street Elementary, these are all middle-of-the-road schools in terms of proficiency. But they need to find a way to turn these growth scores around, or they won’t be middle-of-the-road for much longer.


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