EOS survey works to bridge achievement gap


Students can find the EOS survey on the RBHS homepage. Photo by Ross Parks

Ross Parks

Students can find the EOS survey on the RBHS homepage. Photo by Ross Parks
Students can find the EOS survey on the RBHS homepage. Photo by Ross Parks

Recently, teachers have been asking students to complete the EOS survey. They strongly suggest that  “90 to 100 percent of [students],” students complete this annual questionnaire, Media Center supervisor and specialist Dennis Murphy said.

The survey name, an acronym for Equal Opportunity Schools, is an online questionnaire meant to assess students’ perceptions on their ability and opportunity to enroll in Advanced Placement classes.

“Equal Opportunity Schools is a private company that the district has contracted with…The [survey] gives us the student data about their perceptions on AP courses,” Director of Guidance Betsy Jones said. “AP is a real easy indicator of success in college. If you can be successful in AP courses then the odds are higher that you complete…college.”

The district has been working to close the Achievement Gap, she said. This gap is the disparity in standardized test scores, graduation rates, and drop out rates among various groups of students. After years of work toward closing the Achievement Gap the district has now opted to approach the issue from a different angle, Jones said. Instead of addressing the issue as the district has in the past, they now view it as the Opportunity Gap with the help of tools such as the EOS survey.

Overall, the survey “gives us student perceptual data about talking [more advanced] courses,” Jones said, “the barriers to their education and by whom they are supported.”

 The information from last year’s survey proved beneficial to allowing guidance counselors to be aware of which students expressed interested in AP courses and as to whom the students felt their supporters within the school are.

“The [AP] courses are not typically very diverse; they’re typically the same people who are taking other AP classes,” senior Adrian Siefkas said. “Honestly, I think anyone who is willing to work hard to take an AP course could take one, you just have to be willing to get your homework done.”

The push for RBHS to readdress the issue of disproportionate achievement is not in Columbia alone. Rather, it is a movement across the nation. The goal of the district is to be able to mirror the diversity in the school’s population in the Advanced Placement courses offered in high school, Jones said.

“Even though, we recognize that AP classes aren’t the be all end all [of students success], it’s just one measure,” Jones said. “We’re trying to help have…a growth mindset to learning, rather than a fixed mindset.”
By Ross Parks
Did you take the survey? What did you think of it?