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Developing Equity Indicators for NYC Schools

Why Are Equity Indicators Needed? 

For decades, federal, state and local accountability systems have focused on educational outcomes like test scores and high school graduation rates, revealing vast disparities between students on the basis of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In our new project, we attempt to take a systematic account of the disparities in resources and opportunities that might be driving those unequal outcomes.

To that end, and in line with the recommendations in our recent Blueprint for Advancing Equity in NYC Schools, the Research Alliance is developing a set of education equity indicators aimed at informing policy decisions and enhancing public understanding of educational inequality in New York City. The work is closely aligned with The National Academies of Sciences Framework for Monitoring Educational Equity, which proposes 16 indicators designed to measure disparities in both academic outcomes and access to vital resources and opportunities, throughout K-12 education. The indicators cover 7 separate domains, including K-12 learning and engagement, access to high-quality curricula and instruction, and access to supportive school and classroom environments.

We have begun work on a set of indicators for New York City, which we ultimately hope will:

  • Provide insight about the drivers of inequality in NYC schools
  • Help meet students’ needs at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities;
  • Identify promising leverage points to help City schools recover from the pandemic; and
  • Orient the system toward greater accountability for improving equity over time.

We look forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders, over the next several years, to ensure that the indicators we develop yield authentic and actionable information about the City’s public schools. We welcome input from students, teachers, parents, administrators, school district officials, and community-based organizations about the kind of information they would find most useful. For technical information, visit our working technical appendix

COVID-19 and Equity in Education

We have begun an initial effort to develop education equity indicators for New York City as part of the COVID-19 and Equity in Education Project, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the AIR Equity Initiative. This project is taking stock of key aspects of the City’s equity and opportunity landscape in the years leading up to the pandemic and then assessing changes that have occurred in the wake of multiple upheavals connected to Covid-19.  We believe this work will provide critical evidence to inform high-stakes decisions about the long-term recovery of the system—particularly opportunities to better serve the City’s most vulnerable students.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Kathryn Hill. 

Related Publications

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Introducing the Indicators of Education Equity Project

The first in a regular series exploring indicators of equity in NYC schools, this post examines differences in academic engagement and progress in high school and highlights important questions about the factors driving these disparities.

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Access to Advanced Coursework in NYC High Schools

The second post in our series examines the degree to which students in NYC have had opportunities to take classes that would help them graduate from high school and prepare for post-secondary education, exploring how access to advanced coursework varies by race/ethnicity and neighborhood poverty.

Project Team