NAEP Scores Drop; Duncan Says,"Don't Worry"

Now what if there were NO Common Core standards being enacted?  Would he be quite so calm?  He was quite happy in 2013 when the scores went up and he crowed about how all eight states using CCSS showed improvement in at least one score with none declining.  Today?

“Big change never happens overnight,” Duncan said. “I’m confident that over the next decade, if we stay committed to this change, we will see historic improvements.”

From The Answer Sheet:

NAEP is often called the nation’s report card because it is the only measure of student achievement given periodically to a sampling of students around the nation. It is seen by many as a high-quality test though it has many critics, too, some of whom say that the NAEP definition of “proficiency” is unnaturally high, and that the test cannot measure many of the qualities students must develop to be successful.

My Post colleague Emma Brown reports in this story that math scores for fourth-graders and eighth-graders across the United States dropped this year, the first time since the federal government began administering the exams in 1990. Reading scores weren’t much better; eighth-grade scores dropped while fourth-grade performance was stagnant compared with 2013, the last time the test was administered. Since 1990, scores had generally edged up with each administration, though achievement gaps between white and minority students have remained large.

From educator and activist, Carol Burris:

NAEP is a truth teller. There is no NAEP test prep industry, or high-stakes consequence that promotes teaching to the test.  NAEP is what it was intended to be—a national report card by which we can gauge our national progress in educating our youth.

During the 1970s and ’80s, at the height of school desegregation efforts, the gap in scores between our nation’s white and black students dramatically narrowed. You could see the effects of good, national policy reflected in NAEP gains.

Considering that the rationale for the Common Core State Standards initiative was low NAEP proficiency rates, it would appear that the solution of tough standards and tough tests is not the great path forward after all. For those who say it is too early to use NAEP to judge the Common Core, I would remind them that in 2013, Education Secretary Arne Duncan used NAEP increases to do a victory dance about the states that had already implemented the Core at that time—and I never heard any reformer complain.

All of Arne’s superstar states had eighth-grade scores that dropped or did not budge.


Anonymous said…
If NAEP is considered an accurate test - 'a truth teller' as it says in the article - why not this sort of test vs SBAC or MSP or whatever. Or why not ISEE or one of the tests private schools accept. All of these have been around for eons, are well established at benchmarking a students ability in the various subject, and are probably not that costly or tech-intensive. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel and come up the SBAC etc. What is wrong with old school tests - very rarely will the subject matter being tested have changed.
I fear it's just for the sake of the profitmaking of big ed.

old school
Anonymous said…
Old School,

NAEP is definitely not given to every child. It is given to scientifically selected random samples of student groups in each state.

MSP produced individual results for each child. Back in the old days it was often ITBS (The Iowa Test of Basic Skills)

CCSS and PARCC and SBAC followed out of GATES funded push for national standards and associated testing. Vendors made big money off of this from Hardware sellers to book publishers to test materials makers etc.

Looking at 2015 NAEP results confirms your suspicion: "for the sake of the profitmaking of big ed."

Arne Duncan is trying to fool us with talk about it takes time for big change to occur. News for Arne - there were a lot of statistically significant changes in NAEP scores this time round and almost all were lousy.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Arne tries to explain NAEP math results


-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Massachusetts the NAEP top scoring state is looking to get out of both CCSS and testing.

Testing the Tests: Why MCAS Is Better Than PARCC

Maybe no more Obama/Duncan excuses will be accepted.

"Don't Worry, Just Leave."

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Here is a really interesting piece from amazingly enough Breitbart News =>

Only a Third of U.S. 8th Graders Proficient or Above in Math, Reading

However, Ze’ev Wurman, former U.S. Education Department senior policy adviser, disagrees.

“The current significant declines in three out of four NAEP indicators, and a stagnation in the fourth one, are probably not a blip,” he tells Breitbart News.

Wurman continues:

Many states already experienced stagnation, or even slight declines, in the 2013 NAEP. Then it was a blip — Common Core had been seriously introduced only in a handful of states at the time, and a couple of years of implementation were insufficient to attribute causality. The 2015 NAEP results actually seems the continuation of a trend rather than a blip, where Common Core upheaval harms states’ achievement. In fact, one can already discern a small negative correlation of about 0.3 between the intensity of Common Core implementation in the state (as defined by Tom Loveless of Brookings) and the decline in NAEP scores since 2013. It is insufficient to attribute causality but it certainly does not seem “just a blip” as some try to argue.

It is also interesting to note that Secretary Duncan pointed to Massachusetts, that supposedly saw a drop in test scores after raising standards two decades ago before becoming a consistently high-achieving state, as his way of “excusing” the NAEP drop. It seems Duncan attempts to rewrite history. Massachusetts suffered a significant decline only in fourth grade reading once in 2003 … truly a “blip.” Otherwise it continued its impressive climb to the top of the states … until losing ground since 2011 in all four NAEP indicators. That certainly is not even close to past Massachusetts’ record, despite what Mr. Duncan would have us believe.

Wurman notes that Kentucky, the first state to adopt the Common Core standards in 2010, now has five years under its belt with the controversial standards.

“In fourth grade Kentucky’s achievement has generally held steady and even slightly improved since 2011, yet in eighth grade the state saw its achievement dropping by 2 points in reading and 4 points in math,” he observes. “One could say it is not the greatest advertisement for Common Core.”

Senior fellow at American Principles Project Jane Robbins tells Breitbart News, “I fully expect the NAEP to be ‘revised’ to align with Common Core’s diminished expectations so that we don’t have any more embarrassing results.”

-- Dan Dempsey

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