African-American students seem to be thriving, academically, at Thornhill, Chabot, Grass Valley and Kaiser elementary schools, but the achievement of black students varies widely from school to school in California, a soon-to-be-released report by the research group EdSource has found.
The report, Raising African American Student Achievement, lists 45 California elementary schools (out of 615 with Academic Performance Index data on black students) in which African-American children had an average API score above a 785 on a scale of 200 to 1,000. Here is the list.
The full report will be posted Thursday on the EdSource Web site. It includes interviews with the
Thornhill principal, Sallyann Tomlin Grass Valley Elementary School Principal Rosella Jackson and others.
As of last year, about 36 percent of Oakland’s public school children were African-American. About one in 30 of California’s roughly 500,000 black public school students goes to school in Oakland.
Notably, none of Oakland’s high schools made EdSource’s list of 16 schools in which the average score for black students was above a 736. Oakland’s average API for black students in 2007 was 602.
One issue that I didn’t see mentioned in the executive summary, one that is rarely raised in test score talk, is the inclusion of first- and second-generation African immigrant students in these statistical “subgroups.” Anecdotally, I hear African immigrants — and the children of African immigrants — tend to do better academically than their black American peers, but I haven’t seen local data to bear that out. Have you?
A reader raised this point with me last week, after seeing our coverage of the African American Honor Roll ceremony. This year, the African American Education Task Force honored 1,100 Oakland students in eighth through 12th grades who earned above a 3.0 grade-point average (roughly 15 percent). After the story appeared, a teacher wrote me with the following observation:
While I enjoyed your article about the awards given to Oakland African-American students can I point out that my students and I were some what mystified as 6 of my best students were among those honored by this particular task force. However, none of them would describe themselves as African-American. In fact they come from Somalia, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory coast and Eritrea. They are bright, intelligent, charming multi-lingual students. Their parents have instilled strong moral values and are very supportive. But I must point out that all these students have suffered at the hands of the A-A students. Interestingly although Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea are at war the students in school they are the best of friends partly it seems because they feel they have the nothing in common with the A-A students.
I answered my students questions and puzzlement with this advise.. to accept the awards in the spirit in which they were given and that all awards are valuable and recognize their personal achievement.
What do you make of this teacher’s statement? And, based on the limited information at hand, what do you think schools might learn from this report?
photo of the May 12 African American Honor Roll Ceremony by Alison Yin