Monday, August 22, 2005

California Test Scores

The California Dept. of Education in their press statements of Aug. 15, on the STAR and the CAHSEE test results and major newspapers want you to believe that California students are doing better. And they are: on state tests.
But, we should also look at national tests. The national test is NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Lets keep looking at the data.
If you continue to look a the most recent NAEP scores in California you find that while there has been a significant gain in math and a small gain in reading at the 4th. grade level, and a gain in math at the 8th. grade level, there is also a decline in reading scores at the 8th. grade level both as a scaled scores and as a percentage of students at or above proficient.

What does this mean?
Well, mostly it means we should be cautious with the data. The state standards are closely tied to the state tests. And, the curriculum is designed to raise scores on the test.
But, the national tests NAEP, are more a test to compare over time.
As Linda McNeil and Angela Valenzuela demonstrated well in the Texas “Miracle”, state test scores, when tied to harsh sanctions, can be manipulated and modified in a number of ways, such as reclassifying large number of kids as English Learners.
I have not yet seen the data in reading scores which gives me confidence.

For another view on this data see the EdTrust web analysis.
http://www2.edtrust.org/edtrust/etw/
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