A New Study Finds That Ohio Students of Color, Or Living In Poverty, Lag Behind

Nov 1, 2016

Gregory C. Hutchings, Superintendent of Shaker Heights schools, says some of the reasons students of color, or those in poverty, lag behdin is because the tests themselves can be problematic.
Credit SHAKER HEIGHTS CITY SCHOOLS

Recent reports and scores from national test results show children in poverty -- and children of color -- often lag behind other students. StateImpact Ohio’s Michelle Faust reports the problem is as persistent in Ohio as it is the rest of the country.

On average, black eighth graders in Ohio scored 37 points below their white contemporaries on a national science assessment. Latino eighth graders were 22 points behind.

At a recent City Club of Cleveland event, Gregory Hutchings, superintendent of Shaker Heights City School District, said the tests themselves can be problematic.

“I think we need to make sure that our tests, if we're going to use them, that they're unbiased, that we are using multiple ways for kids to demonstrate their mastery or understanding of the material because every child learns in a different way.”

Hutchings also stressed the importance of students getting the academic and social supports that they need to succeed, regardless of their family income.

At the same City Club event, Cathy Whitehouse, principal of the Intergenerational Schools, said it’s important to evaluate students in more ways than just test scores.

“We just know that that 2.5 hours on that test does not in any way capture all the ways that a student should be able to have to demonstrate what their achievement is.”

Whitehouse said students from depressed economic backgrounds are at an automatic disadvantage in school. Those students often have less access to academic supports including computers and books.