Frequently Asked Questions
What is Discriminology?
Discriminology is a technology company, built and owned by Black teachers, researchers, and engineers. We work with community organizations to build and refine scalable technologies that enhance the capacity of families in holding their local schools accountable.
Our organization has unapologetically, focused on racial equity since our inception and therefore every decision and action we have taken has been with intentionality towards racial equity for our community. That is, we are not pivoting like many organizations in the EdTech space to do racial equity work because of funding opportunities or popularity; our organization was created explicitly by Black educators to work with and empower Black and Brown families to address the racial inequity our children face in schools using technology and data. As we look out on our peers in the education space we know that makes us both unique but also intimately proximate to the challenges we seek to address.
What are Discriminology school accountability report cards?
Discriminology's school accountability report cards combine both publicly available and crowdsourced data on over 90,000 public and charter schools. Families use Discriminology report cards to better understand how a school is performing in 4 broad categories:
Instruction time lost
Strategies for promoting equitable learning environments
Number of social workers and other mental health staff vs. number of law enforcement and security guards
These categories are further supplemented with a community forum on the bottom of each school’s report card. The forum allows members to post, share, like, and upload information on a school that other members might find helpful.
Learn more about how to get started finding and sharing information about your local schools.
Where does your data come from?
The data we use for calculating each school’s out-of-school suspension ratios and rates as well as instruction time lost per 100 students and other school information comes from The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 2015-2016 school year data set. Click here to learn more about the OCR and their data collection methods.
We also collect reviews and survey responses from Discriminology members on their experiences with local schools. In addition, each school has a set of research-based strategies for promoting equitable learning environments that our members rate their school on.
Click on each strategy below to learn more.
How do parents use Discriminology school report cards?
Every day, parents use Discriminology report cards to find relevant information about their child’s school and how students of color are treated in comparison to their white classmates. Furthermore, our school report cards use the most recent data available from the Department of Education to visualize, in a parent-friendly way, the disproportionate burden that exclusionary discipline and other discriminatory policies have on Black and Brown students.
Directly on a school’s report card, members can:
Anonymously report unfair suspensions or other activity
File a discriminatory complaint to the OCR
Rate their school in 10 different equity informed categories
Engage directly with school leaders
Ask questions or upload important information so that other members can have access to it
Share school information with their favorite social media platform
Take quick surveys about the overall quality of their child's learning environment
How do you calculate the likelihood of student subgroups (e.g., race, gender, disability status) being issued a suspension over other student subgroups?
Discriminology uses risk, risk-ratios, and risk-gaps to illustrate disparities in discipline across different student subgroups.
How do you calculate risk?
Risk is the percentage (i.e., how many students) of a student subgroup (e.g., Black males) that have experienced a particular outcome (e.g., suspension, gifted program, school related arrest, etc). The suspension risk for Black students is a straightforward calculation that divides the number of Black students suspended by their overall enrollment. For example, if a school serves 100 Black children and 15 of them were issued an out-of-school suspension, the ‘‘risk’’ for Black children to be suspended, at this school, would be 15 percent (15/100 = 15 percent).
How do you calculate a risk-ratio?
A risk-ratio (i.e., how likely) is calculated by dividing the risk value of a particular outcome for one student subgroup by the risk of another student subgroup for that same outcome. For example, consider a school with 100 Black students and 200 White students. In total, there are 50 students that have received at least one out-of-school suspension, 25 of whom are Black and 25 that are White.
The risk value for Black students would be 25 percent (25 Black students suspended / 100 Black students enrolled) and for White students it would be 12.5 percent (25 White students suspended / 200 White students enrolled). By dividing the risk for Black students (i.e., 25) by the risk for White students (i.e., 12.5) we get a risk-ratio of 2.0 for Black students at this school.
Generally, a risk ratio of 1.0 indicates that children in a given racial or ethnic group are no more likely than children from another racial or ethnic group to receive an out-of-school suspension. In the example above, a risk ratio of 2.0 indicates that Black students are twice as likely as White children to be issued an out-of-school suspension.
How do you calculate a risk-ratio for a school with little to no students for a comparison group?
The use of the alternate risk ratio is one method for calculating risk ratios when there is an insufficient number of children in the comparison group at the school level to provide meaningful results (e.g., a school in which little to no White children are enrolled).
For example, consider a school that serves 500 children; 100 White, 100 Hispanic and 300 Black. This school suspends 100 Black children and no White or Hispanic children. We could calculate a risk for Black children by dividing the number of Black children suspended (100) by the total number of Black children in the school (300) and determine a risk of 33 percent (100/300 = .33)
However, when we attempt to calculate the ‘‘risk’’ for White or Hispanic children, we notice that the total number of White and Hispanic children suspended is zero (0). As such, we can’t calculate a risk ratio (i.e., Black risk / White risk) for Black students using the normal method.
For instances where zero appears in the denominator due to an insufficient number of students in the comparison group, we use either the district, state, or national average for the risk value of the underrepresented student group.