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Estimation of Achievement Gaps on a Large-Scale Assessment in Hawaii

Thu, April 16, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Sheraton, Floor: Fourth Level, Chicago VI&VII


This study reports the achievement gaps in reading between Native Hawaiian students and their white peers, based on the 2011 Hawaii State Assessment. Two methods were used to estimate the ethnicity-related gaps. The first was the difference-between-means approach as required under NCLB. The second was the hierarchical linear modeling approach, which controlled for student- and school-level confounding factors. Ignoring confounding factors resulted in an overestimation of Hawaiian students’ disadvantage by 36 to 64% from grade 3 to grade 10. It is recommended that the NCLB-mandated method be replaced by hierarchical linear modeling. In addition, the paper demonstrates how to search for one single multi-level model appropriate for large-scale assessment across districts, grades and subjects.