Making Sense of CHILDREN AT RISK's Elementary Rankings

Me with Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK.

Me with Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK.

The ever anticipated CHILDREN AT RISK rankings of Houston Area schools was released last week, and many of the public schools are either over the moon about their rankings and posting links to the front page of their websites, or they are ignoring the rankings altogether. Whatever the case, the rankings, conducted by the local non-profit are a great starter resource for parents who want to know how their current or future public school stacks up. I highlight “starter” because a school’s ability to serve your child best depends on much, much more than a test, which is the primary basis of these rankings. Even CHILDREN AT RISK indicates their calculations don’t take into consideration some of the most significant factors in a child’s success in school. 

There are numerous factors that affect the success of children and schools. Research shows some of the biggest factors for student success are parental involvement, social and emotional development, participation in extracurricular activities, teacher and parent expectations of students, and engaging class work that stimulates critical thinking.
— 2014 Texas Public School Rankings Methodology, CHILDREN AT RISK

That said, parents want to know that at the very least their children’s academic needs will be met.  This list of Houston’s “A” schools should be treated like base camp—the place you go to pitch your tent and prepare for the real work of finding a school.

Here are a couple of interesting ways to process this statistical madness (I am English teacher at my core and am exceedingly grateful for those short, intense years in math and science programs.):

If all of these numbers stress you out, and you really just want to know which schools have the most kids who are meeting or exceeding the academic standard, see columns N and O.  The nitty gritty about what percentage of kids at each of these schools rocked the state exams in math and reading can be found there.

Raw academic measurements, such as those in the Student Achievement Index, have a bias toward campuses with a low percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
— ibid.

If diversity is important to you, scroll over to columns I through L.  It’s interesting to note that 41% of the population at Roberts Elementary considers itself something other than Black, White or Hispanic.  Imagine the richness of culture possible on that campus!

Those of you are looking for a small school experience, might find it interesting to note that the second ranked school is also the largest in terms of enrollment.  While size is one of the things parents equate with individualized attention at a school, the reality is great teachers are great regardless of class size. So while West University’s size may be off-putting, there has to be something working over there for the kids to be performing second only to T.H. Rogers.  And that’s without a Pre-K!

For now, I’ll give you a moment to digest the elementary information. Things get much dicier when we start talking about my favorite--the middle children.

Need help navigating the madness? Click here to see what Crumbine Ed offers the parent(s) of school-aged children looking to make their most important choice.

For CHILDREN AT RISK'S full list of Houston Area schools, click here.