Research Alliance: Puerto Rico Research Alliance for Dropout Prevention
Principal Investigator: Coby Meyers
Overview: REL Northeast & Islands conducted this study using data on public high schools in Puerto Rico from national and territory databases to compare methods for identifying beating-the-odds schools. Schools were identified by two methods, a status method that ranked high-poverty schools based on their current observed performance and an exceeding-achievement-expectations method that ranked high-poverty schools based on the extent to which their actual performance exceeded (or fell short of) their expected performance. Graduation rates, reading proficiency rates, and mathematics proficiency rates were analyzed to identify schools for each method. The identified schools were then compared by method to determine agreement rates—that is, the amount of overlap in schools identified by each method. The report presents comparisons of the groups of schools—those identified by each method and all public high-poverty high schools in Puerto Rico—on descriptive information. Using the two methods—ranking by status and ranking by exceeding-achievement-expectations—two different lists of beating-the-odds schools were identified. The status method identified 17 schools, and the exceeding-achievement-expectations method identified 15 schools. Six schools were identified by both methods. The agreement rate between the two lists of beating-the-odds schools was 38 percent. The analyses suggest that using both methods to identify beating-the-odds schools is the best strategy because high schools identified by both methods demonstrate high levels of absolute performance and appear to be achieving higher levels of graduation rates and percent proficiency than might be expected given their demographics and prior performance.