Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mexican American Studies Stats Show Program Works

Culturally Relevant Curriculum Works

A researcher from Tucson Unified School District has come out with a report, providing statistics that support the success of the Mexican American Studies program helping students to improve on Arizona state AIMS reading and writing testing scores.

From the report:
"Even without apples-to-apples comparison, TUSD analysis shows that the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program produces results, negating Arizona Daily Star report.

A Tucson Unified School District report issued March 11, 2011 concludes that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies program give students a measurable advantage over non-MAS students in passing standardized AIMS reading and writing tests, and that MAS students graduate at higher levels than their non MAS counterparts.

The analysis was conducted by David Scott, Tucson Unified School District Director of Accountability and Research, reporting to TUSD superintendent Dr. John Pedicone. Scott writes:

• “I find that there are positive measurable differences between MAS students and the corresponding comparative group of students.”

• “Juniors taking a MAS course are more likely than their peers to pass the reading and writing AIMS subject test if they had previously failed those tests in their sophomore year.”

• “Seniors taking a MAS course are more likely to persist to graduation than their peers.”

Scott’s analysis examined performance by MAS students against scores from the entire TUSD district rather than just the schools where MAS programs are offered (Cholla High Magnet School, Pueblo Magnet High School, Rincon High School and Tucson High Magnet School) which are primarily lower socio economic student populations relative to the entire district. Moreover, the primarily Latino MAS students were compared in Scott’s analysis with students from all ethnic backgrounds. And still the data shows that MAS students showed a distinct advantage over non-MAS students in high schools throughout the district.

“The district has no other program that creates the success for students, particularly Latino students like we have in this program,” says TUSD Director of Mexican American Studies Sean Arce. “And yet we are under fire.”

Scott’s data shows clear trends. “I find that over the last six years, students who complete a Mexican American Studies class during their senior year are more likely to graduate than comparison group seniors,” Scott writes. “The difference in completion rates ranges from 5-11 percent higher.”

An Arizona Daily Star news story by Alexis Huicochea from March 13, 2011 (“Ethnic studies claim in question”) states, “The district’s graduation rate of nearly 83 percent holds true for students who took a Mexican American Studies course and for those who did not, Scott found.”

Figures from Scott’s analysis support the advantage of MAS students over non-MAS students in AIMS reading and writing courses. On the AIMS reading course, the data shows that MAS students passed anywhere from 5-16 percent more than non MAS students over the six year period, and that in all but 1 year, the results were above 10 percent greater passing rates. On AIMS writing texts, the scores show passing rates anywhere from 5-16 percent higher for MAS students, with only one year below 10 percent higher.

Attached please find SES results of Scott’s analysis.  PLEASE EMAIL TO REQUEST FULL REPORT.

For further information contact Deyanira Nevarez at 520-975-1485 (email or go to
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