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Mapping the Demographics of High School Dropout Ratesand Attendance Rates for the School Year ‘07–‘08

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  • Marylands Missing StudentsMapping the Demographics of High School Dropout Rates and Attendance Rates for the School Year 0708A Study by Bill Fearrington and Louis Umerlikfor CCBCs GEOA 250 Advanced Geospatial ApplicationsMay 2009

  • Table of ContentsProposal & Scope of Work

    Introduction ......................................................................1Proposal & Scope of Work ................................................2 Purpose ..........................................................................2 Educational Institutional Profile ....................................2 Definition of Terms .......................................................3 Project Goals .................................................................4 Project Tasks ..................................................................4 Methodology .................................................................5 Assumptions ..................................................................5 Project Receivables .........................................................5 Project Deliverables .......................................................5 Quality Assurance/Quality Control ...............................5

    Maps

    Introduction to Maps ........................................................6State of Maryland Maps Introduction to State of Maryland Maps ........................7 Dropout Rates ...............................................................8 Attendance Rates ...........................................................9 Students More Than 20 Days Absent ...........................10State of Maryland Maps by Median Household Income Dropout Rates .............................................................11 Attendance Rates .........................................................12 Students More Than 20 Days Absent ...........................13 Dropout Rates by IDW Raster Image ..........................14

    Attendance Rates by IDW Raster Image............................15State of Maryland Maps by Ethnicity Dropout Rates by Caucasian Population .......................16 Attendance Rates by Caucasian Population .....................17 Dropout Rates by African-American Population ............18 Attendance Rates by African-American Population ..........19 Dropout Rates by Asian-American Population ...............20 Attendance Rates by Asian-American Population ............21 Dropout Rates by Hispanic Population .........................22 Attendance Rates by Hispanic Population .......................23County Focus Maps Introduction to County Focus Maps ............................24 Dropout Rates, Attendance Rates & Students More Than 20 Days Absent by School District ..........25County Focus Maps by Median Household Income Dropout Rates, Attendance Rates & Students More Than 20 Days Absent by School District ..........26County Focus Maps by Ethnicity Caucasian Population ...................................................27 African-American Population.......................................29 Asian-American Population .........................................31 Hispanic Population ....................................................33County Comparison Maps Introduction to County Focus Maps ............................35 Dropout Rates, Attendance Rates & Students More Than 20 Days Absent by School District ..........36County Comparison Maps by Median Household Income Dropout Rates, Attendance Rates & Students More Than 20 Days Absent by School District ..........38

    County Comparison MapsEthnicity Caucasian Population ...................................................40 African-American Population.......................................42 Asian-American Population .........................................44

    Hispanic Population ....................................................46

    Analysis

    Final Analysis ..................................................................48Recommendations ...........................................................49

    For more...

    Notes ..............................................................................50For Further Information ..................................................50Contact Information .......................................................50

    Appendix

    Appendix I ......................................................................51Appendix II .....................................................................51Appendix III....................................................................51Appendix IV....................................................................52

    2009 by Bill Fearrington & Louis Umerlik for the Community Colleges of Baltimore County

  • 1

    Introduction

    Before a student drops out of high school, most of them begin missing class first. A study by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that 59 to 65 percent of respondents [to the survey] missed class often the year before dropping out. [They] described a pattern of refusing to wake up, skipping class, and taking three hour lunches; each absence made them less willing to go back.1 Having been disengaged from school, these students dropped out. This decision alone will lower the trajectory of their future success. The decisions of these students cannot be consid-ered alone; there is also a school system responsible for their achievements. The high school dropout rate is one of the indicators of the success or failure of both individual schools and entire school systems. In the 2007-2008 school year, the Maryland Public High School System enrolled 288,733 students, and of those students 9,815 dropped out.2 This is a dropout rate of roughly 3.4%, which is slightly below the na-tional average of 3.8%, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Department of Education based on the 2005-2006 school year. Maryland is the wealthiest state in the country with a median household income estimated by the 2007 Census Estimates to be $68,080. However, Marylands dropout rate is not significantly lower than the national average. If Maryland cant lower its dropout rate even further, then it may have to devote more of its budget each year to caring for high school dropouts.

    Not only do dropouts cause Maryland to lose tax revenue because they earn nearly $10,000 less a year than the states high school graduates, they also increase Medicaid expenses because dropouts tend to have poorer health.3 In addition, Maryland must pay more to keep the prisons running as there is a link between dropout rates and incarceration rates, which doubles for dropouts compared to high school gradu-ates.4 Crime is often an outcome of marginalization and dropouts have been marginalized, said Joseph McDonald, dean of New York Universitys School of Education.5 One of the early warning signs of a student feeling marginalized is a drop in their attendance rate. Regu-lar school attendance is commonly seen as necessary for academic achievement. High attendance and low truancy rates reflect the willingness of students to en-gage in school learning and the capacity of the school system to meet their needs.6 This makes it clear that a healthy and successful school system requires a sensi-tivity towards the needs of its most at risk students, so they do not become marginalized and drop out. To further explore the issue, a stark contrast ap-pears between the dropout rate of different ethnic groups and income levels. One nationwide study published in 2006 showed that not only do dropout rates vary widely between ethnic groups (Asian: 2.0%, Black: 9.4%, Hispanic: 10.4%, White: 4.9%), but they also vary widely between socioeconomic quartiles (Lowest: 12.4%, Second: 7.7%, Third: 3.8%, Highest:

    1.8%).7 These are very important trends to uncover and understand if Maryland is going to effectively lower its dropout rate. Our study will focus on the dropout rates for the State of Maryland. Comparisons will be made for each high school district with regard to the dropout rates, the average daily attendance rate, the percentage of students more than 20 days absent, the ethnicity and the median household income. We believe that con-sidering these different datasets in concert will reveal important correlations. GIS provides the tools to create maps of high schools and their districts located within each Mary-land county. The analysis will be achieved using census data and data from MDreportcard.org.

  • 2

    Proposal & Scope of Work Purpose

    To determine if there is a correlation between several Maryland Report Card.org criteria (dropout rates, attendance rates, and percentage of students more than 20 days absent), and socio-economic demographic data (median household income and ethnicity).

    Educational Institutional Profile

    The Community College of Baltimore County provides an accessible, affordable and high-quality education that prepares students for transfer and career success, strengthens the regional work force and en-riches our community. The Geospatial Applications program provides comprehensive instruction in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), photogrammetry and remote sensing and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Geospatial techniques are used to aid in decision making in fields as diverse as business, marketing, homeland security, public policy, environment, engineering, public health, archeology and criminal justice by identifying patterns between graphical information (maps) and data. A unique aspect of the CCBC Geospatial program is the incorporation of real-world situations in all courses, starting at the introductory level. Advanced Geospatial Applications, GEOA 250 is the capstone course of the program. It requires stu-dents to draw on experience from all previous courses in the Geospatial A

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