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Family Background and Student Achievement - An Example

% Economically Disadvantaged-        PES:  3%              GES:  40%

% Gifted -                                             PES:  7%              GES:    1%

% English Language Learner-             PES:  1%              GES:  14% Although imperfect as proxies, economically disadvantaged is an (inverse) indicator of community affluence;  "% gifted" is a rough indicator of high-IQ students; % English Language Learner (which used to be called bi-lingual students) is another student characteristic that tends to correlate with lower performance on achievement tests, especially in elementary grades (some of this is due not to a true difference in academic ability, but due to the disadvantage of taking standardized tests in a second language.) Let's zero in on economic disadvantage.  PES has 3% economically disadvantaged students, while GES has 40% ... a 37 percentage point gap.  How might this difference impact PSSA results? A study was recently done that gives us an indication.   That research shows a strong relationship (r=0.83) between the aggregate math proficiency of students and family income ... note the downward sloping cluster of data points in the chart below.  The more economically disadvantaged students there are in a district, the lower the PSSA results.

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