Search results for: "NAEP"

The accountability hawks have decided that NAEP testing must be canceled this spring because of the pandemic, but the burdensome, useless, meaningless annual testing of every single student from grades 3-8 should not be disrupted. Betsy DeVos proposed canceling NAEP, and the director of the National Center for Education Statistics complied. There will be no NAEP 2021.

This is backwards.

If we want to understand the impact of the coronavirus on American students, NAEP testing should go forward. NAEP—the National Assessment of Educational Progress—has been administered to scientific samples of American students since the late 1960s. Since 1992, it has provided state-by-state comparisons. It disaggregates scores by race, gender, income, English language status, disability status, and other criteria. It measures achievement gaps among whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. It supplies the same valuable information for a score of urban district that volunteer to be tested. No stakes are attached to NAEP results.

In short, NAEP is the ideal gauge for measuring the impact of the coronavirus on students in every state and many cities.

The tests that should be canceled are the state tests mandated by ESSA, which every student in grades 3-8 is required to take. Many students will opt out. The scores rank students on a meaningless axis from advanced, proficient, basic, to below basic, or rank them 1-4. The mandated tests tell teachers nothing worth knowing since they mainly reflect family income and education. They do not tell teachers anything about what students know and understand since teachers are not permitted to see the questions or to know how students answered them. The results of these tests, useless as they are, have high stakes. They will be used to punish or reward students, teachers, and schools.

Yet NAEP will be postponed, and the state tests for individuals will go forward this spring! The meaningful measure will be canceled but the punitive and meaningless measure will be preserved.

Politico reported:

HITTING PAUSE ON THE NATION’S REPORT CARD  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos before Thanksgiving added another item to Congress’ to-do list, calling on lawmakers to postpone upcoming national tests that gauge student achievement in reading and math. DeVos said it would be impractical to conduct the National Assessment of Educational Progress, originally slated for January, during the pandemic because “too few schools will be providing in-school instruction or welcoming outside test administrators this winter to ensure a sufficiently large sample.”

— DeVos said in a letter to congressional leaders that she was halting any further expenditures to prepare for the federal assessments. But she urged Congress to include legislation in any year-end government spending deal to “lift the mandate for 2021 NAEP administration and postpone the administration of NAEP tests until the assessment will be able to produce useful results, likely in 2022.”

— It appears that DeVos’ request has bipartisan support. The Democratic leaders on the congressional education committees, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said in a joint statement that postponing NAEP was “unfortunate” but also “understandable” given the circumstances. And Sen. Lamar Alexander(R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate education committee, said DeVos made “the right decision” and that Congress should act quickly to provide the one-year delay. “I will work with my colleagues to secure congressional approval of this request in the remaining weeks of the year,” Alexander said.

If NAEP had been administered in 2021, it would have told policy makers precisely what they want to know, at a cost of about $50 million.

If the individual tests are administered, with large numbers of students absent due to the pandemic or opting out in protest, it will provide no useful results but cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why would DeVos cancel the efficient measure while imposing the pointless measure?

For sure, it’s a win for the test producers but a loss for students, teachers, and common sense.

James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable, regularly sends out news bulletins about education. His group might be thought of as the antithesis of the Broad Academy; they are educators with experience, not tyros looking to move up quickly with minimal experience. Harvey has wisely inveighed against the common perception of NAEP’s proficiency level, which advocates of the Common Core and the CC-aligned tests (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) treated as if it were “grade level.” It is not.

Harvey writes here about the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is often called “the nation’s report card.”

Here’s a good summary of what ails NAEP and how its results are reported
What’s the actual lesson to be learned from NAEP scores?According to Forbes contributor Peter Green (r), nothing much.
Green argues that despite the hope among many that NAEP data would help us to evaluate the effectiveness of different education policies, “In education, it’s fruitless to imagine that data will settle our issues.” He points out also that, “The three NAEP levels (basic, proficient, and advanced) do not necessarily mean what folks think they mean . . . NAEP’s ‘proficient’ is set considerably higher than grade level,” as noted on the NAEP site.


The Roundtable has taken strong exception to NAEP’s definition of proficiency. The Roundtable’s 2018 report, “How High the Bar?” concluded that not even 40% of fourth-graders in Finland and Singapore (nations typically thought to be world-class in terms of student achievement) can be deemed proficient in reading by the NAEP standard. The fact that uninformed policymakers and advocates conflate “proficiency” with grade-level performance is one of the absurdities of the current national conversation about schools.

Those of you who have followed this blog for many years know that I don’t put much stock in twelfth grade NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores. Having served for seven years on the NAEP governing board (the National Assessment Governing Board), I know that twelfth graders are a perennial problem. Unlike students in fourth and eighth grades, the seniors know the test doesn’t count. They are not motivated.

Bearing that in mind, it is nonetheless surprising that the recently released NAEP 12th grade reading and math scores have barely budged since 2005.

Even if kids aren’t trying hard, their scores should have gone up if they were actually better educated.

I argued in Slaying Goliath that NAEP scores for fourth and eighth grade have been flat for the past decade. And these kids are doing their best.

NAEP scores show the abject failure of “education reform” inflicted on students and educators since passage of No Child Left Behind. NCLB, Race to the Top, VAM, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, Common Core: a massive failure.

It’s time to throw out the status quo. It’s time for a new vision. It’s time to respect educators and stop tying their hands and giving them scripts. It’s time to end the regime of test and publish.

Are you listening, Joe Biden?

The National Center for Education Statistics released NAEP scores in history and geography, which declined, and in civics, which were flat.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went into her customary rant against public schools, but the real culprit is a failed federal policy of high-stakes testing narrowly focused on reading and math. If DeVos were able to produce data to demonstrate that scores on the same tests were rising for the same demographic groups in charter schools and voucher schools, she might be able to make an intelligent point, but all she has is her ideological hatred of public schools.

After nearly 20 years of federal policies of high-stakes testing, punitive accountability, and federal funding of school choice, the results are in. The “reforms” mandated by No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as the federally-endorsed (Gates-funded) Common Core, have had no benefit for American students.

Enough!

When the ESSA comes up for reauthorization, it should be revised. The standardized testing mandate should be eliminated. The original name—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—should replace the fanciful and delusional title (NCLB, ESSA), since we now know that the promise of “no child left behind” was fake, as was the claim that “every student succeeds” by complying with federally mandated testing.

Restore also the original purpose of the act in 1965: EQUITY. That is, financial help for the schools that enroll the poorest children, so they can have small classes, experienced teachers, a full curriculum including the arts and recess, a school nurse, a library and librarian, a psychologist and social worker.

Here is the report from Politico Morning Education:

MANY STUDENTS ARE STRUGGLING’: Average scores for eighth-graders on the Nation’s Report Card declined in U.S. history and geography between 2014 and 2018 while scores in civics remained flat, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The results follow disappointing scores for math and reading released in October.

— “The results provided here indicate that many students are struggling to understand and explain the importance of civic participation, how American government functions, the historical significance of events, and the need to grasp and apply core geographic concepts,” stated Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner of assessment at NCES, which runs the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, known as The Nation’s Report Card.

— The digitally based assessments were administered from January to March 2018 to a nationally representative sample of eighth-graders from about 780 schools. The results are available at nationsreportcard.gov. They will be discussed at a livestreamed event, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

— Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in a statement, said “America’s antiquated approach to education is creating a generation of future leaders who will not have a foundational understanding of what makes this country exceptional. We cannot continue to excuse this problem away. Instead, we need to fundamentally rethink education in America

Open the link to find links to the NAEP reports.

John Merrow writes here about the stagnant scores reported on NAEP, PISA, and every other measure. They are an indictment of the test-centric policies of Bush, Obama, and Trump, he says.

He writes:

Given the PISA results and the harsh truth that NAEP scores have been disappointing for many years, it’s time to rename NAEP. Let’s call it the National Assessment of Educational Paralysis, because paralysis accurately describes what has been going on for more than two decades of “School Reform” under the test-centric policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Unless and until we renounce these misguided “School Reform” policies developed under No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, educational paralysis will continue, and millions of children will continue to be mis-educated and under-educated.

Right now, too many school districts over-test, which means their teachers under-teach. Too often their leaders impose curricula that restrict teachers’ ability to innovate.  At the same time, these narrow curricula have curtailed or eliminated art, music, physical education, recess, drama, and even science.  Today many districts judge teachers largely by student test scores, leading teachers to devote more and more class time to test-prep, not teaching and exploration of idea.  This is what I and others label the ‘test-and-punish’ approach to education, instead of a far more desirable ‘assess to improve’ philosophy.

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, writes here about the use and misuse of NAEP scores to advance disruption in the schools.

 

A new wave of “misnaepery” is heading towards Oklahoma and other states. After most or all of the corporate reform agenda became law in about 90 percent of states, reading scores dropped so much that even a reform true believer dubbed NAEP as “National Assessment of Educational Stagnation and/or Decline.”

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/07/24/37naep.h32.html
https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cDovL2VkdWNhdGlvbmdhZGZseXNob3cubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M%3D&episode=NzEzNTA2MzJjMDI0NDA0YmJmMjM4NjVhNzAwODE4NzE%3D&hl=en

After test-driven, market-driven reform was implemented, from 2013 to 2019, the nation’s 8th grade math scores for African-Americans dropped by five points. But I would argue that 8th grade NAEP reading scores are the most important and reliable metric, and they dropped seven points in six years for African-American 8th graders.

Today, Oklahoma’s 4th grade NAEP reading scores have dropped to four points below the 1990s pre-HB1017 tax increase level. And since accountability-driven, competition-driven reforms were supposed to improve outcomes for our poorest children of color, it is shocking that from 2013 to 2019 black student 8th grade scores dropped 15 points!

https://www.educationnext.org/make-2019-results-nations-report-card/

https://fordhaminstitute.org/national/commentary/worst-news-naep?utm_source=Fordham+Institute+Newsletters+%26+Announcements&utm_campaign=f22e67acec-20160918_LateLateBell9_16_2016_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5fa2df08a3-f22e67acec-71894457&mc_cid=f22e67acec&mc_eid=3095764e3b

Rather than admit their mistakes, reformers have retained their original meme that was used to justify hurried and risky reforms to blow up the education “status quo,” so that “disruptive innovation” can spark “transformative change.”

Two contradictory misnaepery themes are being rushed into the breach by the Fordham Institute. The smiley-faced meme is that teachers and students will naturally rise to meet far more “rigorous” standards. On the other hand, the conservative Fordham Institute has been blaming states like Oklahoma for supposedly hurting student performance by ending high school graduation exams. It is also arguing that we should return to the punitive policies of the former Chief for Change State Superintendent Janet Baressi and retain even more 3rd graders based on reading tests. 

First, ignoring the damage done by their experiments, accountability-driven, competition-driven reformers argue that radically higher testing standards will produce transformative improvements. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was a leader in the reaction against Baressi’s privatization agenda, so I can’t be too critical when she has to adopt some policies pushed by Education Next and other “astroturf” think tanks. Rightly or wrongly, she revised the state’s standards and assessments. There are no stakes attached to these metrics, and they allow the State Department of Education to say, “Oklahoma’s new standards [are] one of only 17 ‘A’ grades in the nation, up from the previous rank of 47th and a grade of ‘D.’”

So, for instance, Oklahoma’s 2017 8th grade math tests set a proficiency level which is at the NAEP proficiency level, basically comparable to around a 300 on that rigorous standard. The only groups in the United States were average scores reach that level are white and economically advantaged students in Massachusetts, a state where per capita income is nearly 50 percent greater. Oklahoma’s NAEP scores currently correlate with a level just above Kazakhstan.  Advantaged students in Massachusetts perform at the level of the counterparts on PISA and TMMS in the top performing states and nations, except for South Korea.

https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/naep_timss/profiles.aspx
https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA-2015-United-States-MA.pdf
https://www.epi.org/publication/bringing-it-back-home-why-state-comparisons-are-more-useful-than-international-comparisons-for-improving-u-s-education-policy/#_note11

Of course, now that we listened to conservative reformers at the Fordham Institute and raised our expectations, Oklahoma students will soon join students at the top of the world’s education systems …

Fordham and other national reformers are also launching a second round misnaepery memes.  The 2015 NAEP was its first test of 4th graders after Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act required the retention of 3rd graders who don’t pass a reading test. Once Chief for Change Baressi was defeated by a pragmatic Republican, Hofmeister, educators were allowed more judgment in deciding whether to retain students. Until last year, however, little funding was available for interventions to assist struggling readers, much less adequate training and supports for inexperienced and emergency teachers in early elementary grades. (Oklahoma has hired more than 3,000 emergency certified teachers in a year.)

The 2015, 4th grade test scores increased by 2-1/2 percent. A conservative Republican reformer claimed they “were attributed to the 2014 implementation of a law that barred students from being promoted to the fourth grade if they read at lower than a second-grade level.” Those gains disappeared during the next two NAEPs. So, it is argued that more teeth needs to be restored to the retention policy.

But we also need to ask what really prompted the one-year jump in test scores. As in other states, the retention of low-performing readers can provide a temporary boost in NAEP scores. If you add up the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who would have been in 4th grade during 2015, but who were retained, the total comes to about 9,000. Before the RSA, the more typical number of retentions was about 4,000. That means that about 5,000 more of the lowest performing students were missing from the 2015 4th grade class of about 47,000. The retention of more than 10 percent of the tested class could explain the one-time test score boost. As those students subsequently entered 4th grade, test scores dropped back to normative levels.

https://ocrdata.ed.gov/DistrictSchoolSearch#
https://oklahomawatch.org/2018/12/14/oklahoma-nearly-tops-nation-in-holding-back-early-grade-students/
https://journalrecord.com/2019/11/07/free-market-friday-student-results-continue-to-decline/

And what happened to that year’s economically disadvantaged students when they took 8th grade tests in 2019? Their scores were down by 2-½ percent in comparison to their 2015 8th grade peers.

Who knows what will be Fordham’s next misnaepery-driven attack on public education. After all, they were one of the think tanks who argued that the No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted in 2002 deserved credit for the NAEP gains of the late-1990s! And now it is proclaiming an “Agincourt-level disaster” is the result of weakening NCLB accountability. The thing we know is that the Fordham spin will be picked up, amplified, and used by rightwing lobbyists throughout the nation to slander public schools.

One of the perks of being Secretary of Education is that he or she selects member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which is the oversight body for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The board is designed to be bipartisan and to represent people from different walks of life. As the NAGB website states, The Governing Board is made up of 26 members, including governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives, and members of the general public. Members are appointed by the U.S. secretary of education.

When I was appointed to NAGB by Secretary Richard Riley on behalf of the Clinton administration in 1998, the board was truly representative and diverse and collegial. We worried constantly, as did Congress, about keeping “politics” out of the decision making process.

That was then, this is now. Now we have a Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is actively hostile to public education. It is reasonable to assume that she wants NAEP to show public schools in the worst possible light to provide ammunition for her crusade to destroy them. No one questions whether her selections are “political.” Of course they are. Unlike Secretary Riley and other secretaries, no one she selected disagrees with her dire diagnosis of public education.

Peter Greene writes here about her choices for NAGB here. Here are the folks who will shape future assessments. My only hope, as a former member of the board, is that their ability to mess up NAEP will be constrained by the professional staff, unless she has replaced them with rightwing zealots and by the limited nature of the decisions that the board makes (whether and when to test the arts or history or civics or “grit”).

After four years in which to replace retiring members, DeVos will have put her stamp on NAGB. Perhaps the standards will become so high that no one reaches NAEP Proficient, not in public schools or charter schools or religious schools, and we can declare all of American education a disaster and throw up out hands in feigned despair. Greene sees the slant of this board as reason not to take NAEP results seriously in the future. The media, however, will continue to see NAEP as the gold standard, so I am hoping the new additions will not render it useless.

Nancy Bailey read a list of organizations who were blaming teachers for not adhering to the “science” of reading and thus blaming teachers for NAEP reading scores.

She got steamed and pointed out that none of these individuals or organizations criticizing teachers are known as teachers themselves.

She got so steamed that she names names in this post. 

These are the organizations, she says, that have the sheer audacity to blame teachers for what they themselves can’t do!

They write the policies that constrain teachers but take no responsibility when their policies fail.

Busybodies! When are they held accountable?

After listing the groups, she concludes:

This conversation should take place, because something is wrong when parents are unhappy with their child’s schooling. It isn’t a debate that will be won by yelling at each other on social media, but by working together at the school level.

It should include a state department of education in each state that investigates problems and isn’t about getting rid of public education. The U.S. Department of Education should also be working to better address the controversy surrounding reading and what’s behind denying students with reading disabilities their IDEA rights.

Universities should review how they teach reading, but they also shouldn’t be forced by these groups to destroy reading practices that have worked for years.

It is, however, difficult to do this at this time. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the previous education secretaries, never taught, never studied reading in a university setting or worked to remediate student difficulties, and have themselves been about the business of destroying schools and de-professionalizing the teaching profession.

If you think the NAEP scores are poor, look at the groups mentioned here. It has been a rigged game for years!

Leonie Haimson explains here why NAEP scores have been flat or declined for the past decade: the combination of the recession of 2008 (and its aftermath) and the Common Core was a hard blow to students and teachers.

She writes:

The poor results are most likely a consequence of several factors, including the damaging double whammy experienced by schools in 2009-2011 – when the great recession hit, which led to thousands of teacher jobs lost and class sizes increasing sharply, and the imposition of the Common Core standards…

Many states and districts, including NYC, still have not recovered from the sharp increase in class size that occurred starting in 2008.   Just as class size reduction benefits students of color and from low income families the most, increases in class size hurt their opportunities to learn the most, helping to explain the widening achievement gap over this period.

In addition, the corporate-style policies that proponents claimed would help narrow the achievement gap, including the Common Core standards and state exams aligned with those standards, adopted in nearly all states starting in 2010, likely contributed to the decline in performance on the NAEPs as well.

The Common Core emphasizes informational text rather than literature, and  “close reading” strategies, with students assigned to analyze short passages, often excerpts from literature, in isolation from any larger context.

In essence, Common Core led to a curriculum designed for test prep, but devoid of engaging relevance and content for many students. To make things worse, the assigned texts are often two or three Lexile grade levels above the actual reading level of the students to whom the reading is assigned, in a misplaced intent to provide more “rigor.”

Close reading involves analyzing and re-analyzing individual passages, focusing on details and interpreting the author’s particular choice of words, structure, and intent, without any reference to anything in the student’s own experience or prior knowledge: “Students go deeper in the text, explore the author’s craft and word choices, analyze the text’s structure and implicit meaning” etc..  It is a process that is more suited to a graduate seminar in literary criticism than elementary or even high school English classrooms, and has been imposed upon classrooms throughout the United States in a misguided effort to sharpen their analytic “skills”.  It is hard to imagine anything more boring, and more likely to turn off a young reader.

Haimson then quotes several teachers who explain how the CCSS has ruined instruction for their students.

She continues:

Strangely enough, the NY Times story on the NAEPs mentioned neither the recession nor the Common Core in attempting to explain why there has been no  progress since 2009. In a Twitter exchange with one of the reporters, she said no one had mentioned Common Core to her in years.   

I don’t doubt that few if any of its original proponents now mention Common Core  – given its abysmal failure to improve results in our schools — but that doesn’t mean that millions of students and teachers aren’t still wrestling with its flaws every day in classrooms throughout the nation, as evidenced by the above tweets.

In any case, the last quote in the Times article was from Jim Cowen, the executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success, an organization established to promote the Common Core standards, decrying how the state tests — those explicitly aligned with the standards — have become too easy and there was a need for “accountability” — but not apparently for those who promoted the flawed standards themselves.

Digital reading may also have contributed to the NAEP score debacle.

All in all, Haimson concludes that the scores are a damning indictment of the Gates/David Coleman/Arne Duncan agenda. Add to that the NCLB agenda.

But you can be sure that there will be no accountability for any of them.

 

 

I am not sure that I agree with Steven Singer’s point here, that NAEP scores tell us nothing other than that students from affluent homes have higher test scores than students who live in poverty. 

His main point is undeniable. All standardized test scores are highly correlated with family income.

We could use income and poverty data to learn what the test scores tell us, without wasting billions on standardized tests and corrupting instruction.

But I think that NAEP does tell us something we need official confirmation for: the utter failure of Disruptive Corporate Reform.

The Disrupters have promised since No Child Left Behind was proposed in 2001 that they knew how to raise test scores and close achievement gaps: Test every child every year and hold schools accountable for rising or falling scores. That will do it, said George W. Bush, Margaret Spellings, Rod Paige and Sandy Kress. They rode the wave of the “Texas miracle,” which turned out to be non-existent. Texas in 2019 is stuck right in the middle of the distribution of states.

Then came Jeb Bush, with his fantastical claims of a “Florida miracle,” which are now repeated by Betsy DeVos. Look at the NAEP scores: Florida is right in the middle of the states. No miracle there.

Arne Duncan has been promoting Tennessee, which as one of the first Race to the Top states, which is also ensconced in the middle of the distribution.

Look for yourself.

Two states that were firmly under the control of Reform heroes, Louisiana and New Mexico, are at the tail end of the distribution.

What do the NAEP scores tell us?

Don’t look for miracles.

Don’t believe propaganda spun by snake-oil salesman.

Look to states and districts that are economically developed and that fund their schools adequately and fairly.

The scores in states may go up or down a few points, but the bottom line is that the basics matter most. That is, a state willing and able to support education and families able to support their children.