Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Older students less successful on math NAEP

This from Ed Week by way of KSBA:
The proportion of 13-year-olds taking algebra has grown steadily for at least two decades, but the increase in the number of students taking harder mathematics classes is not translating into higher average math scores by 17-year-olds on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, according to long-term trend data released today.

Average scores for 9- and 13-year-olds in math on NAEP have risen since 2004, but scores in that subject for 17-year-olds have not budged significantly since then.

In fact, flat scores in math for the older students have persisted since the early 1970s. That’s despite the fact that the proportion of 13-year-olds taking algebra has more than doubled—from 13 percent to 30 percent—from 1986 to 2008.

Meanwhile, reading scores increased for 17-year-olds since 2004.

“If you ask me, what is the single most perplexing problem since I’ve gotten involved in education, that’s it,” Darvin M. Winick, the chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, said in a telephone interview. “The data is not only flat, but it is flat while the kids are taking more math.” ...

The story is slightly different for reading.

Reading scores increased 3 points, to 286, for 17-year-olds from 2004 to 2008, which is considered statistically significant. That differs from the math trend for 17-year-olds, in which the change in scores during that period is not considered significant. But, as is true with math, the reading scores for 17-year-olds in 2008 were not considered significantly higher than those in the early 1970s.

In both reading and math, average scores climbed a significant amount (by at least 2 points) for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds. They increased 4 points, to 220, for 9-year-olds in reading and 4 points, to 243, in math. For 13-year-olds, scores increased 3 points, to 260, in reading and 3 points, to 281, in math...

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