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Ohio Data Primer

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Module 2: Tutorial—Where Have We Been? Where Do We Want to Be?

Next, we trace the group of students who made up a school's spring 2007 fifth-grade classes back through the fourth and third grades.

The floating-bar graph below shows the steady, cumulative reading improvement of this group immediately apparent in the rising pattern of the bars from left to right. A closer look shows that the changes were most apparent at the extremes, with reductions in the Limited/Below Basic category and growth in the Advanced category. This is good news, but what about other subjects?

Now the floating-bar graphs are paneled horizontally. This makes comparison among subjects easier.

In 2007, just less than half (48 percent) of the fifth graders performed at or above proficiency in mathematics; as third graders in 2005, about 60 percent of the same students had been proficient. The proportion of students in the Basic category increased sharply in the transition from third to fourth grade and continued to increase into fifth grade.

Science and writing were tested only once for this group of students, so few inferences are possible. Still, in terms of performance judged against Ohio standards, these students appear to do better in science than reading or mathematics and nearly as well in writing.

In most schools, there will be only small differences in the students tested in each year because few families move. These paneled floating-bar graphs may be constructed so that exactly the same students are present each year or all students are present each year. Whether it is better to have all students or the same students depends on the questions being asked. If the graphs represent schools with high mobility rates, interpretation will be more complex than where enrollment is stable.

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