The HERC is a research-practice partnership that is part of the Kinder Institute at Rice University. The organization conducts research in partnership with 11 local school districts in the Greater Houston area, including SISD, to assist in solving education-related issues.
While the Texas Education Agency defines student mobility as students who have been in membership at a school for less than 83% of the school year—or students who have missed six or more weeks—the HERC defines student mobility as students who move between schools, between districts, over the summer or during the school year.
"We're trying to more closely capture what we think our district partners and educators mean when they're talking about student mobility," HERC researcher Patrick Gill said during the presentation. "We know that this movement creates a churn and poses challenges for both educators and students."
Gill added that changing schools disrupts students’ learning and can lead to lower reading skills, lower attendance rates and an increased chance of dropping out.
"[These effects] can be caused by many things resulting from the movements such as new relationships with teachers and peers and less knowledge of the resources that are available to you at the campus that you moved to," Gill said. "It also puts development strains on teachers and administrators that have to work with the students that are coming and going, possibly at the expense of other students' learning. So ultimately, this is something that impacts students, impacts schools and ... creates a big-picture concerns for education."
According to the study, between the 2010-11 and 2016-17 school years, SISD had an average of 31,956 students in first to 12th grades with an average of about 4,570 students entering campuses, or an entering mobility rate of about 14.3 per 100 students. During that same time frame, the Greater Houston area had an entering mobility rate of 10.2 per 100 students, while the state of Texas had a rate of 9.9 per 100 students.
Based on that same average student enrollment, SISD had an average of about 4,889 students leaving campuses, or a departing mobility rate of 15.3 per 100 students. This compares with a departing mobility rate of 11.0 per 100 students in the Greater Houston area and a mobility rate of 10.8 per 100 students in the state of Texas.
"Spring ISD has more students departing than coming in. Overall though the difference isn't that much; it nets out across the board to about 1 more student departing per 100 [students] than coming in," Gill said.
According to the presentation, about 53% of students entering SISD are coming from other Texas public school districts, many of which include Aldine, Spring Branch, Alief, Houston, Sheldon and Pasadena ISDs, while 52% of students leaving SISD are going to other Texas public school districts including Klein, Cy-Fair and Katy ISDs.
"Both students entering and departing, more than half are moving between schools in other districts. ... That rate is slightly higher than the region as a whole and the state as a whole," Gill said.
Additionally, according to the study, SISD campuses that had the highest mobility rates included Bammel, Hoyland and Anderson elementary schools and Bammel and Wells middle schools.
Gill added once 2019-20 data becomes available, the HERC plans to update the report with more recent data to more accurately reflect the current state of the district’s mobility.
"Our study goes through the 2016-17 school year; once the 2019-20 data becomes available we'd really like to update it because ... that allows enough time post-[Hurricane] Harvey for mobility to kind of settle in and because we know that a lot has changed since 2016-17, particularly in relation to things like charter schools," Gill said. "So we want to make sure that we're making this information as updated as possible."
To view the full presentation, click here.