"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Thursday, October 04, 2007


From Monty Neill at Fairtest:
Below find a study of results from the 2007 NAEP tests which show all too clearly that under NCLB, the rate of improvement has declined (there is no improvement at all grade 8 reading) while score gaps are either not closing or only very slowly. Based on improvement rates from 2003 to 2007, it will take Blacks between 15 and 120 years for the average Black to score proficient, depending on the test and grade. Hispanics will fare slightly better.

President Bush and some others have claimed that the NAEP shows NCLB is working. The data shows otherwise. The conclusion is that the educational crisis that does affect Black, Hispanic, Native American and low-income children is being made worse by NCLB, not better.

Congress needs to pass a different education law, one that will actually help schools improve.

Monty Neill

NAEP Results Show NCLB Is Leaving Children Behind

By FairTest

The evidence from a look at NAEP scale scores shows that the rate of improvement on NAEP has slowed since NCLB was passed. Based on four years of evidence, NCLB, as a form of high-stakes-test based "school reform," is a failed strategy. Congress must pass a new education law, one that will actually help schools improve.

In general:

* NAEP gains have slowed or stalled since NCLB was passed.

* Score gaps by racial groups for the most part have not narrowed.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics:

"The average 8th-grade reading score . . . remains below the level of achievement shown in 2002."

“[Mathematics] gains made since 2003 are . . . not as large as those realized during some earlier periods.”

Below, find summary comments from each of the tables available in the attached short report. In each category, the comparisons are from the 2000-2003 pre-NCLB period (except grade 8 reading, which is from 1998) and the 2003-2007 NCLB period.

This material is on the web at http://www.fairtest.org/NAEP%20results%20show%20NCLB%20failing.pdf. Please review it there if the attachment did not come through.

Grade 4 Reading

The rate of improvement slows for all groups, and for Hispanics the rate of closing the gap slows, from the pre-NCLB 2000-03 period compared with the NCLB period. The actual rate of improvement is about 1 point per year in the latter period for Blacks and Hispanics, down from 2 points per year in the pre-NCLB period. At the current one-point/year improvement rate, the average Black will score Proficient in about 35 years. About half of Black fourth graders will still not be proficient. Hispanics will show similar results. Since 2002 (five years), overall grade 4 reading scores have gone up 2 points, while grade 8 reading scores have dropped one point. Since 2002, the gap between students from high and low income families is nearly unchanged, reduced one point in grade 4.

Grade 8 reading

Black, Hispanic and White reading scores were identical to 2002: there has been no improvement. For all groups, the longer trends are flat: gains are 0 to 2 points for various groups from 1998-2007, with an overall decline of 1 point in 9 years. At the current rate of improvement of ¼ point per year, the average Black will score Proficient in about 120 years. While Hispanic improvement was better in latter period, the 9-yr improvement is 2 points, same as Blacks. Basic = 243, Proficient = 281. Since 2002 the gap between students from high and low income families is nearly unchanged, reduced one point in grade 4, two points in grade 8. Also, lower scoring students are not improving: both the 10th and 25th percentiles were lower in 2007 than in 2002. Compared with 2003, there is no change -- 217 for the 10th percentile, 242 for the 25th. (There was no 2000 grade 9 reading test.)

Grade 4 math

The rate of improvement and the rate of closing the gaps dramatically slows, from the pre-NCLB 2000-03 period compared with the NCLB period (for Blacks, from 4 points/year to 1.5 points/year). At the latter rate, it will take more than 15 years for the average Black to score "proficient" (about half will not be proficient).

Grade 8 math

Improvement rates for Blacks and Hispanics remained flat in the 03-07 period compared with the 00-03 period. Gains by B & H are in the 1.5-2 point per year range in the latter period. The rate of closing the gap slowed for Blacks. With a 2-point per year increase, the average Black will not quite reach proficient in 20 years. With a slower improvement rate, Hispanics will take longer.
A final note: you may also want to review FairTest's summary document on the looming crisis that will be caused by most schools in most states being declared "failing" under NCLB. That is available at http://www.fairtest.org/nattest/bushtest.html#anchor126090.

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