• When you see a difference in the experience of your students, how do you know how relevant that risk or experience may be?
  • What is significant versus what is a difference or typical variation in a diverse learning setting?
  • When you have limited time, staff, and resources, where should you prioritize your efforts when you find differences in your student, staff, or community group experiences?

Here is where knowing about Risk Ratio can help you.

Populations will shift in size and scope, so it is important to use a ratio to compare risk over time.  When disproportionality is identified, it is an opportunity to gather further information to problem solve on an individual, small group, or system level.  Using risk ratio to complement your Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework can help to efficiently identify disproportionality and provide critical information to effectively mitigate risk and improve student access and opportunity for learning.

A risk ratio is calculated using a two-part fraction process.

Risk Ratio Index

Watch this 10-minute video to explore more ways to use risk ratio with a case study showing how to calculate risk ratio step-by-step.  MCIU has also created a tool to help simplify this process for academic and behavior measures.

In general, the results of a risk ratio center around the value of 1.0.  A value of 1.0 is an equal representation across a measure between a group of study and all others not in the group of study.  A value less than 1.0 is an underrepresentation and a value over 1.0 is an overrepresentation.Risk ratio can be used to study a wide variety of variables across multiple demographic identities, including, but not limited, to:

  • Behavior referrals (majors, minors)
  • Grades (i.e., D/F risk)
  • Suspensions
  • Rate of disciplinary referrals to suspensions
  • Length of suspensions
  • Opportunity for placement in higher level courses (e.g., AP)
  • Graduation rates
  • Attendance rates
  • Achievement rates in academic screeners/assessments

As part of the 2006 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Pennsylvania set threshold values for what is considered significant disproportionality calculations and requires Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) to action plan when racial or ethnic disproportionality is significant in the areas of:  identification of students with disabilities (3.0), placement of students into special education (3.0), and discipline of students based upon race or ethnicity (2.5).

For more information, please visit the resources below or contact the Office of Professional Learning for further support.