Thursday, August 11, 2011

FYI: From the Wall Street Journal

August 10, 2011, Internet.

Headline: State Education Tests Trail National Standards

Question: How do state tests of reading and math compare to students’ performance in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?

Quotes: “States have increased the difficulty of their elementary-school math and reading tests, but the standards are still far below what students are expected to know on national achievement exams, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

“The data help explain the disconnect between the relatively high pass rates on many state exams and the low scores on the national tests, known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

“Between 2007 and 2009, eight states made it tougher for students to pass one or more of the exams given to 4th- and 8th-grade students, while New Jersey and South Carolina lowered the bar, according to data from the National Center on Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP. The remaining states made no changes.

“Still, virtually every state uses math and reading exams that are far easier to pass than the national test.”

Comment: I’m not much for statistical manipulation. Seems the NAEP has a scale that converts performance in state tests in reading and math to  performance in the NAEP, and the states’ scores that call the students’ performance “proficient” are, by NAEP standards, “basic.” Is anyone surprised? 

We’re in the throes of another godawful mess created by politicians. We should have learned from the godawful mess created by No Child Left Behind that politicians are in over their heads and we should somehow have kept politicians from messing with economics, but we didn’t and look at the godawful mess that created: A lower U.S. credit rating from Standard and Poor.

I’d say let the NAEP do the testing, but their testing is done in piecemeal fashion with some students taking part of the test and others taking other parts. Still, if we want consistency, we’re going to have to have a national test created and supervised by the National Center on Educational Statistics. Forget local control of education. National standards are in place. See my reviews of the Common Core States Standards in this blog from March through July 2010. I thought they were pretty good. RayS.

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