Friday, March 30, 2007

What's In A Name

subtitle: Fun With The API
sub-subtitle: A Waste Of Free Time

Before heading out of school yesterday, a couple of us were looking at the API/ AYP reports for a variety of schools and districts, a process that caused us to realize that just about nobody is getting outside the 22-33 percent proficient zone for Latino kids. (We're 33/39 percent).

Today, I start back in on the data. The naming of schools is a serious business, and must certainly affect student performance. With that in mind, the editorial staff of Teaching in the 408 has conducted the following analysis of the interplay of school name and student achievement.

California has a rich pioneering and naturalist tradition, and schools named for John Muir boast a respectable API average of 734. Schools named for Bret Harte, who wrote extensively about pioneering, are not far behind, with an average API of 718. Lagging behind, however, are those school explicitly referencing the gold rush or the folks who undertook the adventure, with an average API of 635.

California also has a rich history of activism and social protest. Mr. Chavez, whose work sponsored today's free time has namesake schools with an average API of 694. His long-time partner, Ms. Huerta, is slightly behind at 665. National symbol R. Parks (694) beats out the Reverend Kind (657), but both are trumped by King's one-time antagonist and short-lived collaborator Malcolm X (709).

Keeping with the realm of politics, schools named for embattled former President William Clinton (709) while being no better than those named for Malcolm X, are clearly superior to those named for former President Reagan (697).

Finally, schools that include the word "college" in their title may seem to boast superior academics, the power of this name tactic is scattered at best, with some "college"- named schools scoring eking out a miserable 431, with others putting up scores as high as 843.

It is this type of hard-hitting analysis that keeps this blog atop its lofty perch in the edu-sphere.


Anonymous H. said...

A good laugh and some tongue-in-cheek analyses are essential items in the intructor's repertoire of classroom tactics, as well as in the educator's private survival kit. So, for this much thanks.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

How about just plain stupid names? Think College Now Elementary in Oakland Unified is at the top of my stupid-name list, though it made the news for a big jump in API. So maybe stupid names are a key to success.

My teenage son was amused to learn that there's an Imhotep charter school in Philly. No one who's seen "The Mummy" can read that name without chanting IMMHOTEPP in a scary monotone.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Dan Meyer said...

How could anyone think you were jumping the shark after that!? I feel like this is either a case of too much spring break or too little.

8:50 PM  

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