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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Again, NAEP Shows Failure of Testing Reforms

The new NAEP scores are just out, and, per always, the hand-wringing has already begun.  Compared to 2017, scores disappoint, especially for reading.  

Below are charts showing the trajectory of scores over time for 4th and 8th grade students in Math and Reading.  Below the charts are a few observations.

When we look at these NAEP scores over time, one thing that stands out is the general tendency for scores to improve, however gradually.  When you look at the NAEP scores beginning in the early 70s to early 19990s through today, that trend is consistent--a gradual improvement over time, with bursts of punctuated improvement or decline.

A second aspect that stands out is that the rate that NAEP scores increased was greater before testing accountability became mandated by federal law than it was after.  From 1990 to 2002, before NCLB's testing accountability regime was passed or took hold, the rate of NAEP score growth for almost all grade levels and percentile rankings was higher than it was after 2002, when the NCLB testing madness began in earnest.

Also note that the longer that NCLB remained in effect, NAEP score growth slowed or even declined for some categories.  

NAEP score growth during the first 7 years of NCLB was greater than the last seven years of NCLB.

And when we look at the struggling students (10th and 25th percentiles) who were specifically targeted by NCLB testing accountability reforms, we see even more graphic examples of NCLB ineffectiveness in raising academic performance as measured by test scores.  

Without exception, 10th and 25th percentile students in 4th and 8th grade Math and Reading show declining NAEP scores from 2009 to 2019.  In fact, scores for 8th grade Reading students in the 10th and 25th percentiles actually declined over the past 20 years, from 1999 to 2019.  

We cannot forget that these sharp declines in Reading accompanied a growing focus on direct instruction and phonics as the officially sanctioned approach to reading.  We should not forget, either, the decline of school libraries in public schools during the past 20s and the near total absence of libraries and, certainly, of librarians in the 7,000+ charter chain gang schools across the U. S.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that the plan! Make the next generation stupid so that they can't discern between right and wrong.
    Looks like their plan is working, but some day things will change. Not sure I'll be around to see that day.