Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not An Exceptional Performance

The latest NAEP results are out, and they're not particularly impressive.  4th grade scores were unchanged, but 8th grade scores inched upwards (doesn't it always seem like it's the opposite?).  More importantly, racial and income achievement gaps were unchanged.

Here's something I learned from poking around their data explorer: the black-white achievement gap is larger in large cities (294-256=38 points or 12.9%) than it is in the country as a whole (293-261=32 points or 10.9%).

I also found these charts particularly interesting:

These are all 8th grade math scores, but the 4th grade math scores look similar.  Since NCLB began in the 2002-03 school year, students who were in 8th grade in 2008-09 were in 2nd grade at the time -- meaning that NCLB has been in effect during every tested grade.  As such, we'd expect to see a narrowing of gaps not only between students from of different races and socioeconomic statuses, but also between low and high achievers.  And, except for the leap between 2000 and 2003, we've seen none of these. 
update: It's also worth noting in the second chart that the "proficient" cut-off score is 299 -- something all students are supposed to able to reach by 2014 (yes, I know that NCLB only actually applies to the state tests and not NAEP).  By now, we should be able to see more students that were a little below the proficient cut-off now making it.

One final note: D.C. looked better than perhaps any state in the report's breakdown of which states saw score increases since 2007.  That could be good news for Michelle Rhee.  Of course, it's also worth noting that D.C. still has lower scores than any state -- and by a fairly large margin.


Anonymous said...

are the scores an improvement before or after the erasures?

Corey Bunje Bower said...

The erasures reported were on the local accountability tests. I have no idea if there was any cheating on the NAEP tests, but if there was then it wasn't enough to move D.C. out of last place in the country in 4th and 8th grade math scores.