Taking A School From Good To Great
Secrets of the super-schools: My latest column for Time.com is about what separates schools that are merely very good from those that are extraordinary:
“As the academic year starts up again, we’ll be hearing a lot about those schools that work miracles in unforgiving places: educational outliers that manage to produce college-bound graduates despite the poverty, crime and drugs that dominate the neighborhoods around them. But what about those schools that start out lucky, full of students from prosperous, educated families? It turns out that these schools have their outliers, too. According to a new study, even among schools that are “demographically similar” in their affluence, a small handful produce superstar students at a much higher-than-expected rate.
The authors of the study, Glenn Ellison and Ashley Swanson of MIT, identified the high-flying schools by analyzing data from the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), an annual contest in which more than 100,000 U.S. high school students participate. In their study of more than 2,000 schools that sent students to the AMC, Ellison and Swanson found “large differences among seemingly similar schools” and concluded that high-achieving students are “very far from evenly distributed.” Four percent of the schools the authors looked at produced top math students at a rate at least three times the average of all schools studied, and two percent boasted a rate five times the average. A very few were churning out math phenoms at a rate 10 times the average.
Which schools were the math powerhouses? Read more here, and tell me what you think.