Progress? Latest education assessment scores

Scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released officially yesterday.

Education Week said:

Fourth grade math scores on NAEP, called “the nation’s report card,” rose from 238 to 240 from 2005 to 2007, while 8th grade performance climbed from 279 to 281, both on a 500-point scale. The 2007 NAEP results were released today.

Those gains continued an overall upward trend in NAEP math scores in both grades that dates to the early 1990s, while reading scores have been more stagnant over that time. While the gains in math were smaller than in some previous testing cycles, they were still statistically significant, as were the increases in reading.

“It shows that the public attention to math instruction and professional development of teachers is having a positive impact,” said James Rubillo, the executive director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, in Reston, Va. The movement for stronger standards that dates to the 1980s “has brought math and reading to the forefront of attention,” he said.

In reading, the subject that has seen the greatest investment of federal and state education spending over the past several years, 4th graders’ scores have risen from 219 to 221, also on a 500-point scale, since 2005. Eighth graders’ average mark increased from 262 to 263, which was a statistically significant gain, though that test score dipped slightly from the NAEP reading test given five years ago.

Two point gains on a 500 point scale sound measly to me. That’s less than 1%, after five years of a program that should have produced much more significant gains.

Is the No Child Left Behind Act badly misnamed?

Perhaps, instead of spending money on testing and forcing teachers to teach to the test or else, we should try putting some money into getting the best teachers, by providing significant pay raises, and put more money into providing the resources teachers need to make their classrooms successful — books, projectors, software, film, video, grading machines, classroom tools, classroom supplies (paper and pencils), preparation time, and parental involvement.

Other resources:

One Response to Progress? Latest education assessment scores

  1. bernarda says:

    -There is also a problem in higher education.

    Over all, the average prose and document literacy scores for Americans were basically flat between 1992 and 2003, though the scores on quantitative literacy rose from an average of 275 to 283, out of a maximum of 500. The scores of women rose in two of the three categories (document and quantitative literacy) over that period, while those for men fell in two of the three (rising only in quantitative). Scores for black Americans rose, while those for Hispanics declined.

    Scores rose as one moved up in educational attainment, as the table below, examining prose literacy, shows. But the table also shows that scores fell from 1992 to 2003 for virtually every educational level, and the declines were steepest, by and large, the further up the ladder one moved. The contrast was even steeper in the realm of document literacy. Scores declined by three points or less for those who had at most a high school degree, while the average document literacy score for college graduates dropped by 14 points, to 303 from 317, and by 17 points for those with some graduate education (to 311 from 328).

    -An interesting site, not on education but reading habits.

    “In the April 23 edition of the New York Times, an article by Dinitia Smith on PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature, revealed an unsurprising but nonetheless distressing fact: “Andrew Grabois, the senior director of the R. R. Bowker company, which keeps track of publishing industry figures, said this week that of the 185,000 books printed in English in the United States in 2004, only 874 were adult literature in translation. [Salman] Rushdie called the low number of translated books ‘shocking.'”

    Finally an unrelated documentary site.

    Welcome to Chronicling America, enhancing access to America’s historic newspapers. This site allows you to search and read newspaper pages from 1900-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).


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