Creating Equity Metrics

In this guide, you will use data visualization and descriptive statistics to investigate equity in student testing outcomes along lines of race, income, gender, learning differences, English proficiency, and migrant status.

Objective

In this guide, you will use data visualization and descriptive statistics to investigate equity in student testing outcomes along lines of race, income, gender, learning differences, English proficiency, and migrant status.

About the Analyses

In various contexts, students of different demographic attributes captured by education data systems for reporting purposes (race, class, gender, English Language Learner status, etc.) may have systematically differing educational outcomes. These gaps often present themselves in standardized testing data, at the national, state, and local levels. The following analyses will assist your organization in describing where gaps exist and their magnitude, in order to inform the conversation about why the gaps exist and what to do about them.

Using this Guide

This guide utilizes synthetic data from Texas’s standardized exams (STAAR test, grades 3-8). Therefore, Texas districts can use this code to directly analyze the testing data files they have received from the Texas Education Agency. However, the code can be adapted to any other state or district context in which student testing outcomes are analyzed.

Once you have identified analyses that you want to try to replicate or modify, click the “Download” buttons to download R code and sample data. You can make changes to the charts using the code and sample data, or modify the code to work with your own data. If you are familiar with GitHub, you can click “Go to Repository” and clone the entire repository to your own computer.

Go to the Participate page to read about more ways to engage with the OpenSDP community or reach out for assistance in adapting this code for your specific context.

Getting Started

To complete this tutorial, you will need R, RStudio, and the following R packages installed on your machine:

  • tidyverse: For convenient data and output manipulation
  • ggplot2: For graphics
  • broom: For tidying regression output
  • FSA: To create comparative summary tables

To install packages, such as ggplot2, run the following command in the R console:

install.packages('ggplot2')

In addition, this guide will draw from OpenSDP-written functions defined in the functions.R document, which is located in the R folder of this guide’s GitHub repository. Please make sure to have downloaded the entire GitHub repository to run this code.

Giving Feedback on this Guide

This guide is an open-source document hosted on GitHub and generated using R Markdown. We welcome feedback, corrections, additions, and updates. Please visit the OpenSDP equity metrics repository to read our contributor guidelines.

About the Data

The data used in this guide was synthetically generated, and it was formatted to match the Texas Education Agency’s state test file formats ( Texas’s file formats can be found here. ). The data has one record per student. Out of the hundreds of features reported for each student by the Texas Education Agency, we selected the following features in our analysis: student grade level (3-8), school code, student ID, gender, race-ethnicity, economic disadvantage level, Limited English Proficiency level, and scale scores in reading, math, and writing (for the STAAR state test). We also used indicators of whether or not the student attended a Title 1 school, was a migrant, and was enrolled in special education. Here is a key of the features and their variable names in our simulated data set:

Feature name Feature Description
grade_level Grade level of exam student took (3-8)
school_code School ID number
sid Student ID number
male Student gender
race_ethnicity Student race/ethnicity
eco_dis Student level of economic disadvantage
title_1 Indicator if student attends Title 1 school
migrant Indicator if student is a migrant
lep Level of Limited English Proficiency
iep Indicator if student enrolled in special education
rdg_ss Scale score for reading exam
math_ss Scale score for math exam
wrtg_ss Scale score for writing exam