- Wei Dewdney
Statistics are all around us; nutrition, air quality, melting points, political opinions, weather, population—anything can be a statistic.
I am by no means a data science expert; I’m just barely decent. This is not a groundbreaking scientific report. This is just a sophomore’s amateur analysis of readily available data. Using data found online and the coding language “R,” I analyzed some of Edgemont’s population statistics.
My primary focus is going to be on how race and ethnicity affect different variables in education, comparing these effects between Edgemont and New York State as a whole. Most of the data I found was from the 2020-2021 school year, which means that the data is not 100% accurate due to complications from COVID-19. Regardless, I hope my findings can help visualize Edgemont in comparison to the rest of the state.
The EHS student body is 51% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) with an Asian majority. This is lower than the state average of about 59% with a Hispanic and African-American majority. Figure 1 shows a simple comparison plotting of the racial breakdowns in Edgemont and in NYS.
One commonality we see in both NYS and EHS is the white population being the largest out of any racial group. The Indigenous student population locally and statewide are fairly similar in proportion. However, we must account for the fact that EHS only has 991 students, compared to the roughly 1.8 million students in grades 7-12 in New York State. Edgemont has a higher white, multiracial, and AAPI population. New York State has a higher Indigenous, Latinx and African-American populations.
The most noticeable differences between NYS and EHS are the large disparities between their AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander), Black, and Latinx populations. There are far more AAPI students in EHS than in the average New York public school. Later figures will reveal to us that the AAPI population in Edgemont is mostly Asian and not Pacific Islander.
Moving onto Figure 2, we see the ethnic distributions in Edgemont for the past two decades. The populations of most racial groups are climbing steadily, except for the white population and the Indigenous population. The number of white students in Edgemont has decreased since 2006, but has remained relatively steady since 2012. Comparatively, Figure 3 gives us a closer look at the growing number of students in minority populations at EHS over the last 20 years. Despite many of those increases, the number of Native American students, however, remains at almost 0.
Previously, we mentioned that Edgemont had a higher AAPI population than the typical New York high school. When we look closer at what makes up the EHS AAPI student body, we see that it’s mostly—if not entirely—Asian Americans. Figure 2 shows that, similarly to EHS’ Indigenous population over the years, there are few to no Pacific Islander students at Edgemont.
Edgemont’s graduation rates are in the top 10% of all schools in New York State. Students at EHS are well-educated and among the top 20% in overall test scores. It’s only natural that we would have a high graduation rate. Figure 4 displays the graduation rates of both EHS and NYS. The one outlier of 92% can be explained by the fact that there were only 13 Latinx students in the four-year August 2017 cohort; and one of them, instead of graduating, was still enrolled.
Edgemont had no dropouts in this cohort according to data.nysed.gov, one of my main sources for this data. Looking at the graduation rate for Indigenous students in Edgemont, we see that there is, of course, no point plotted because there were no Indigenous students in the cohort. Indeed, the data in Figures 3 and 4 show a small-to-nonexistent Native American population within New York State schools. The average graduation rate for Indigenous students in New York State is 84%.
Edgemont’s proficiency in math and reading is 88% and 83% respectively. This, compared to the state average math and reading proficiency of 54% and 52%, further shows how well-educated students at EHS are.
New York State’s average diversity score is 0.73, while 0.69 is the national average. As of the 2020-2021 school year, Edgemont’s diversity score is 0.63—lower in comparison to both the national and state averages. The score is calculated with Simpson's Diversity Index formula, which determines the probability of two randomly-selected entities being of different subgroups. The formula is D=1-(n(n-1)N(N-1)), where N represents the total population and n represents the subgroup population. Using this simple formula, I calculated the EHS diversity scores of the past two decades and plotted them in Figure 5. I’ve included some annotations to better visualize the data.
The diversity of Edgemont has been increasing over time, but we have reached a plateau in the past seven years. Will this plateau lead to an increase similar to the one after the plateau in 2007-2010? Only time and the numbers will tell.