May 1, 2013
Research Project Comparing School Districts:
1. Where is the district located? (5 pts.)
Alief Independent School District (ISD) is located in Houston Texas, between Sugar Land, Bellaire, and Katy.
2. What is the district’s demographic profile? Write a paragraph in which you address the following questions: How many students are enrolled in the district? How does the racial/ethnic makeup of the district’s student body compare with the racial/ethnic makeup of public school students statewide? Has the racial/ethnic make-up of the district changed appreciably since 2007? If so, how has it changed? (15 pts.)
In Alief ISD there is 45,410 students actually enrolled from all races and ethnicities. To help visualize the district demographic please refer to the histogram below. (Figure 1)
Figure 1: Alief democratic profile compared to statewide data. (Texastribune.org 2010)
There is no significant difference between the district percentage of Hispanic and Native American compared to the state percentage. They represent respectively, about 50% and 0.5% of the student body. However, African American represents two thirds of the student body in Alief ISD while they represent only about one seventh of the public school students statewide. While we see a higher percentage of African American in Alief ISD, we can also observe that there is a big variance of White students between the percentage in Alief ISD and the statewide percentage. In fact, two out of three students is White statewide while only about one out of thirty-three students are from the same ethnicity in Alief ISD. Identically, we can observe that the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander is higher in the district, 12.7% for only about 3.7% statewide. As we can see in Figure 2 below the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, and White in Alief ISD did not significantly change since 2007. On the other hand, there is a more accentuate change observable for Hispanic and African American students. We can see a 7% increase for Hispanic students whereas there is a 9% decrease for African American students.
Figure 2: Percent of student body by ethnicity between 2007 and 2010
3. How difficult is the academic challenge facing the district? Write a paragraph in which you compare and contrast district students with students statewide in terms of academic risk factors. Based on the data, would you conclude that the district faces a particularly challenging academic environment or not? Explain. (15 pts.)
As clearly visible in figure 3 below, students from Alief ISD are much more exposed to academic risk factors than the rest of their fellow comrades statewide. In fact they are 2.5 times more likely to be economically disabled or to be at risk, and almost 3 times more likely to have limited English proficiency. Based on this data, we can say that this district faces a particularly challenging academic environment.
Figure 3: Percent of student body by risk factor. (2010)
4. How many high-school freshmen are enrolled in the district? How many seniors? What is the ratio of seniors to freshmen in the district? How does that ratio compare with the statewide ratio of seniors to freshmen? (I am asking this question because it is a back door way of measuring the dropout rate and, I think, a more accurate way than the state’s official statistics.) (10 pts.)
There are 3,779 high-school freshmen enrolled in Alief ISD, however we find only 2,253 students in senior year. Statewide, 391,800 are enrolled as high-school freshmen and only 283,624 are enrolled as seniors. In other words, the ratio of seniors to freshmen in the district is 2 253:3 779, and the same ratio statewide is 35 453:48 975. By comparing the ratio we can conclude that the dropout rate is slightly higher statewide than in the Alief District. Which is the opposite from what the Texas Tribune data shows; it shows in...