Sunday, November 03, 2019

National Assessment of Educational Progress Scores Out

Or, as they are referred to in shorthand, NAEP.   Frequently called "the nation's report card," they are a snapshot of a set of students in 4th and 8th grades for reading and math in public schools in the U.S.  The scores are mostly flat with a continuing gap between white/Asian students and non-Asian students of color. 
Approximately 296,900 students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment. 
Washington State scores were among those that remained mostly flat.

From the NAEP blog:
The dominant theme that emerges is the appearance of a growing divergence in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. This divergence is seen for the nation as a whole, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

This post compiles results from the first year available for all states, 2003, through 2019. Results are divided roughly into decades. The first period is between 2003 and 2009 (the “2000s”) and the second period is between 2009 and 2019 (the “2010s”). All results were produced by the online NAEP analysis tool, the NAEP Data Explorer.

However, most of the gains occurred between 2003 and 2009.

Between 2003 and 2019, the nation made gains in both mathematics and reading at both grades with the exception of reading grade 8, where the nation made no gain. 

What we observe in the 2000s is progress across the performance distribution in mathematics and at the lowest achievement levels in reading. For example, scores in grade 4 mathematics at the 10th percentile in 2009 were five points higher than in 2003—and so were scores at the 90th percentile (see figure 3a). At grade 8, scores in 2009 were six points higher at both the 10th and 90th percentiles than in 2003.

The story is different between 2009 and 2019, where we see a divergence in growth between the lowest and highest achieving in both subjects and grades. The score at the 10th percentile dropped between 2009 and 2019 in both subjects at both grade levels. On the other hand, the score at the 90th percentile rose in both subjects and grades.
This phenomenon appears across major student reporting groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Black students, Hispanic students, and White students, as well as students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) all show a growing divergence in achievement between the group’s lowest and highest achieving students. 
Reading Toplines
  • Lower reading scores at both grades in 2019 than in 2017
  • Score decreases differ by gender nationally and across state
  • Scores lower compared to 2017 for lower-, middle-, and higher-performing students at both grades except for the highest performers in grade 4
  • Over the long term, higher-performing students made gains while the lower-performing students made no significant progress
  • Reading scores lower for White and Black students at grade 4 and for all racial/ethnic groups except Asian/Pacific Islanders at grade 8 compared to 2017
Math Toplines
  • Mathematics scores increase at grade 4, decrease at grade 8 compared to 2017
  • Scores increase at the 25th and 50th percentiles in fourth grade compared to 2017; eighth-grade scores decrease at the 10th and 25th percentiles
  • No significant score changes for most racial/ethnic groups at grades 4 and 8
There are also insights from the Student and Teacher Questionnaires.

I'll do a second thread on what pundits are saying as well as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.


Anonymous said...

There’s really not much of a story here - not a statistically significant change warranting all the scare headlines. Washington State continued to run exactly in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the country. We can choose to be resentful or grateful for that.

Choose Math

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wait for Part Two of this thread; that's where the real questions are.

Anonymous said...

Does Common Core play into this at all? Didn't Common Core shift reading more to non-fiction reading? Also, Common Core in the younger grades is not age appropriate. I wonder if that has had an affect.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I think that's a long discussion about CC but I'm hearing from some that yes, that may definitely be an issue for reading.

Anonymous said...

I think that there is evidence that the way reading is being taught is playing a big part in not only the decline in scores but also the divide between students of different socio-economic status and students of color.

This article is a must-read for anyone interested in effective teaching strategies: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/54452/why-deeply-diving-into-content-could-be-the-key-to-reading-comprehension.

It really does seem that SPS focus is in improving scores is wrongly directed.

NW Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

NW Parent, I have seen a big uptick in stories about how reading is taught so I agree with what you say.