Monday, October 28, 2013

Research: Through the Lens of a Student Blogger (Part Two)

Part Two

In part one, I introduced you to a student’s perspective on research. I also provided a background in the research that I had done with socioeconomic status, demographics, and enrollment within courses that indicate academic achievement within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The research I completed in conjunction with the Urban Education Collaborative this summer analyzed the relationship between a school’s percentage of free and reduced-price lunch and the percentage of students per demographic enrolled in 7th and 8th grade Algebra I, Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics courses, and Gifted and Talented programs. Free and reduced-price lunch (FRPL) is a common indicator of socio-economic status, while the classes above are considered an indication of academic achievement. Data was gathered from the Civil Rights Data Collection.

Below I provide graphs for Algebra I in 7th and 8th grades and Calculus, as well as availability regardless of demographic.

Algebra I in 7th and 8th Grades

Above, you see bar graphs that display the disparity in enrollment per demographic between schools above and below fifty percent FRPL.

The scatterplots below display a negative relationship between the FRPL of a school and its student’s enrollment in Algebra I 7th and 8th grade. You can see that the Black demographic decreases at a lower rate than the White, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic demographics.

Calculus displayed a very large disparity in enrollment, across all demographics, between schools above and below 50 percent FRPL.

As displayed above, the disparity with Calculus enrollment is also clear. As you can see below, all demographics display a negative trend when comparing the FRPL percentage of a school and enrollment. Also displayed is the low enrollment that exists across all levels of FRPL for the Black and Hispanic demographics, as opposed to the higher enrollment per higher FRPL for the White and Asian/Pacific Islander demographics.

Trends of Availability
I studied also the availability of courses within a school, regardless of demographic. Across all courses and programs, a negative relationship existed between the percentage of FRPL of a school and the availability of courses and programs. In many cases, schools did not offer such courses as Calculus and Physics.

As stated in Part One, however, statistical tests showed that while there is a relationship between a school’s FRPL and its enrollment, whether or not a student qualifies for FRPL is not a direct correlation to whether or not that student will or will not be enrolled in these classes. To predict this, one would have to look at many more factors – such as domestic environment – that also affect enrollment potential and academic success.

If you have any questions about my research or my thoughts, please feel free to contact me at I would love to discuss it with you further! 

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