Friday, January 21, 2011

Productivity Study: districts that beat the odds

Here's a cheer for the Kentucky districts whose results stood out as better than researchers predicted based on their spending and demographics.

The counties shown in  districts shown in the darker green above are Bell, Breathitt, Graves, Johnson, Larue, Magoffin, Marion, McLean, Oldham, Rockcastle, Russell, Trigg, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

The independent districts rated the same way (but harder to show on a map are Beechwood, Bowling Green, Cloverport, Corbin, Dawson Springs, Elizabethtown, Fort Thomas, Harlan, Ludlow, Owensboro, Paintsville, Walton Verona, and Williamsburg.

In the new Doing What Works productivity study, these districts stood out  because their 2008 achievement results were stronger than researchers expected based on their student bodies and their district spending levels. In the report, the authors use three methods to estimate educational return on investment, with these results coming from the third method explained this way:
The Predicted Efficiency rating measures whether a district’s achievement is higher or lower than would be predicted after accounting for its per-pupil spending and concentrations of low-income, non-English speaking, and special education students. Under this approach, a low-achieving district could get high marks if it performed better than predicted.
Less happily,  the counties in red, with results farthest below predictions, are Bullitt, Christian, Elliott, Franklin, Hardin, Henry, Knox, Lawrence, Livingston, Lyon, Nelson, Nicholas, Powell, Robertson, Spencer, and Union. Similar results were found for Barbourville, Berea, Covington, Frankfort, Monticello, Raceland, Russellville, Silver Grove, and Somerset independent school districts.

To check out more districts, click here, and then notice that the map has three buttons at the top.  Set the map to show you Kentucky, and then choose the third button for "Predicted Index" to see results by this measure.  You'll be able individual districts either by zooming in on the map or by scrolling down to where districts are listed in alphabetical order.


  1. Fannie Louise MadduxJanuary 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    I think Christian County might look better were current data being used. We have come a long way since 2008 under new leadership and the hard work of administrators and teachers who have chosen to "buy in" to new strategies!

  2. I agree. In fact, the report doesn't make it easy to find the year for the testing data, but I hunted it up because I knew Christian and Union would want to know.


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