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

Monday, April 09, 2018

Get Ready for Betsy's Propaganda on New NAEP Results

It's been thirty years or so since conservative thought leaders like Checker Finn and Diane Ravitch came up with the brilliant ploy to misuse NAEP test results from the "Nation's report card" as an ongoing cudgel against public schools.  The simple and elegant plan was to make NAEP's "Proficiency" cut scores unattainable by the majority of American students.  

By raising proficiency targets to the unattainable level, the scores would show most student not meeting "proficiency"standards.  This news, repeated every few years when new NAEP scores were published, could be used to demonstrate the failure of American schools/teachers and, thus, demonstrate the need for more and more testing accountability standards and assessments, along with the need for corporate and mayoral steering of schools.

Gerald Bracey and every other testing experts understood the scam, and Bracey had the courage to write about it and talk about it and try to make the public aware.  To no avail.  

The story of American public school failure became the ascendant meme, despite scientific evidence to the contrary (read Bracey's story of the suppressed Sandia Report, which was quashed by the U. S. Department of Education).

The fact that NAEP's fanciful cut scores remain unaltered today almost three decades later is a strong testament to the power of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the corporate education industry to shape policy.

And that is why this press release is now necessary (now more than ever) for all to read and to share with school boards, parents, teachers, and media folks.






SEATTLE, April 9, 2018 – As the U.S Department of Education prepares to release the latest findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the American people should understand that the misleading term “proficient” sets a performance benchmark beyond the reach of most students in the world.

A detailed analysis released in January concluded that the vast majority of students in most countries could not demonstrate proficiency as NAEP defines the term.

The authors of the analysis, the National Superintendents Roundtable and the Horace Mann League, linked NAEP’s proficiency benchmark to the performance of students around the world on international assessments such as TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

The report on this work (How High the Bar?) concluded that:
  • In no nation do even 40 percent of students meet the NAEP Proficient benchmark in Grade 4 reading.
  • Only one nation has 50 percent or more of its students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 science (Singapore).
  • Just three nations have 50 percent or more of their students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 math (Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Japan). 
Citing U.S. Department of Education documents, the report criticized the Department for misusing the term "Proficient." The term, as the Department acknowledges, does not mean performing at grade level. Surprisingly, according to the Department’s statements, it does not even mean proficient, as most people understand the term.

Roundtable and Horace Mann League officials have insisted that the problem can be addressed without lowering standards by changing the term “proficient” to “high.” Without such a change, they maintain, the misuse of the term will continue to confuse both the public and educators, as in the past it has confused U.S. Secretaries of Education.

CONTACT: JAMES HARVEY: Office (206) 526-5336
                                                  Cell    (206) 579-9272


National Superintendents Roundtable
9425 35th Avenue, NE, Suite E
Seattle, WA 98115

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