After we posted yesterday about the significant enrollment anomalies at ECOT when compared to comparable-sized districts serving economically-disadvantaged students (plus one other large, wealthy district for comparison), one astute reader (see bottom of yesterday’s post) questioned why we were singling out the online charter school and questioned whether or not the use of one single tested grade (10th Grade OGT) was fair.

Good point, ecotPALS, and thank you for prompting us to give it all another look.  To be fair to ECOT, we’ve decided to post the number of tested students for the other state standardized tests for the past three years as compared to ECOT’s reported enrollment.  For comparison purposes, we’ve pulled all of the numbers for Cleveland City, too, the “worst district” in the state according to state legislators.

Take a look at the full list of numbers for the 2014-15 School Year:

Tested Student Counts (District) (1)b

 

Oh, we also included ECOT’s primary competitor, another statewide online school with an enrollment of over 10,000 (ECOT claims over 15,000), that enrolls students from across the state – just like ECOT.

Here’s where this data gets kind of fun – and interesting.  Note the weird numbers for Cleveland in the earlier grades where they tested over 100% of their stated enrollment.  How is that possible you ask?  Ask any teacher in a large urban district in those grades and the answer is easy — students enrolling into Cleveland after the enrollment count is finalized by the state.  The typical scenario is that students leave the charters where they started the year and return to the Cleveland schools.  In Cleveland, where charters are opening and closing at a rapid pace, it is understandable that Cleveland’s enrollment is so volatile.

Now take a look at how ECOT compares to Ohio Virtual Academy – a school that is probably an even better comparison than the large urbans (according to our astute reader).  With the exception of the 8th grade tests, ECOT’s percentage of tested students is at least 11.6 points lower than OHVA’s for every single grade and every single test (in 8th grade, the percentages are lower by 6.3, 8.1, and 8.9).  Also notable is that fact that OHVA’s 10th Grade OGT numbers are right in line with Cleveland’s numbers — how are they able to do that when ECOT is not given they operate under the same statewide & online conditions?

Here are the numbers from the 2013-2014 school year:

Tested Student Counts (District) (13-14)

The edge in 2013-14 again goes to statewide online school Ohio Virtual Academy, but by even wider margins.

And finally, just because we can’t apparently post enough numbers to drive home the point, the data from the 2012-2013 school year:

Tested Student Counts (District) (12-13)

Once again, ECOT put up impressively low and questionable numbers, testing students in grades 3-8 at a rate of under 60%.

Side note: The figures published for Ohio Virtual Academy would be even better if we pulled their monthly enrollment numbers as we did for ECOT, but they didn’t seem to need the extra help to look better.

In closing, we apologize for the simple graphics we’re using to bring this information to you.  Next time we’ll try and have ECOT’s abysmal ratings and information integrated with rainbows, unicorns, and dancing ponies (animated, of course).

Eh, on second thought, we’ll just let the numbers do the talking.

 
  • goofproof

    It looks like ECOT tests more students in later grades than Ohio Virtual Academy. In the 2014-15 year, sometimes double the number of students over Ohio Virtual Academy. This may suggest ECOT attracts older students with situations unlike younger students.

  • ecotPALS

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    First of all, I wasn’t questioning why you took this angle with the your post or headline. Anybody who has been paying attention to your agenda for any amount of time knows exactly why.

    Second of all, my comments from your other post still stand. What your investigation has uncovered is a systemic variance both up and down between measured enrollment and measured OGT test takers at many schools at certain grade levels. Bravo! BUT you still haven’t found out what drives the variances and even though you think you have… you haven’t actually found out by how much… in reality you’re nowhere near being able to understand what these numbers actually mean. To get there, you would need to analyze the methods in which all the data was captured and account for ALL of the variables both universally applicable to all districts but also those anomalies. At the bare minimum you would need to know how many students in the pool you’re analyzing come and go and from where to where else. But that still isn’t enough. There really is no acceptable conclusion at this point, but if you felt motivated enough to publish something early, your headline could read –

    “Our investigation has uncovered that there MAY be a systemic enrollment measurement breakdown causing OVER and UNDER funding of schools by the state… possibly”

    The efficacy of your analysis was questioned but more than that the assumptions and translations made about your so-called results.

    In the real world, we use complete data to analyze and improve things.. and take extra special care when analyzing real human things like learning opportunities for our State’s kids. However, in the world of plunder and the other media bullies, you use half-data and assumption to craft clickable headlines and try to destroy things… like public school choice.

    There were so many newsworthy headlines from the thousands of students, their families, friends and teachers watching their ECOT students graduate on Sunday. I mean some really heavy stuff. You could have uncovered a years worth of real human stories for your plunderblunder in the same amount of time you wasted on these now 2 posts.

    You kind of missed the point. That was the premise of my comments.

  • gregmild

    We look forward to the State Auditor doing a deeper investigation and analysis to uncover the signifiant variances and help us all to understand why the enrollment numbers and attendance rates are so different from the number of students who are tested and so different than other schools and districts, and perhaps even provide guidance to help ECOT do better in the future.

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