Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moving up in math!

This from Susan Weston at the Prichard Committee:
2009 NAEP scores released today show Kentucky fourth graders performing at the national average in mathematics. Given our history of being behind in math, it is a sweet, sweet thing to see. Two snapshots of the data are below... We've got a long road to travel, my friends, but this result is a milestone worth some mighty celebration.

Kentucky is one of eight states that had a statistically significant increase in 4th-grade mathematics scores from 2007 to 2009. Mathematics scores for Kentucky 8th graders were not significantly different from the national average.
Scale scores for Kentucky 4th and 8th graders in 2009 are at or near the national average. The NAEP grading scale ranges from 0 to 500.

1 comment:

Richard Innes said...

You really can't see what is happening when you look at NAEP so simplistically.

The problem is that demographics around the rest of the nation have been shifting drastically over the past two decades. That gives Kentucky a huge advantage when you average all scores together, because our NAEP samples still have very high percentages of high scoring whites while the white percentage elsewhere has dropped quite dramatically. The effect is to make it much harder for school systems in the rest of the country to show progress -- until you disaggregate the data.

When you look at disaggregated NAEP scores, the Kentucky 4th grade picture doesn't look all that impressive.

For example, white fourth grade students in Kentucky were 10 NAEP scale score points behind the national average in 1992 and are now 7 points behind. That's not much improvement for 17 years.

The situation really gets sad when we look at the black fourth grade scores. In 1992 black fourth grade students scored 8 points ABOVE the national average for blacks. In 2009, Kentucky blacks scored 2 points BELOW the national average.

NAEP math scores for our eighth grade blacks did a similar above to below slide between the early years of KERA and 2009. In 2009 Kentucky's blacks had a NAEP proficiency rate of only 8 percent. That's all.

I have graphs for these results and much more over at www.bluegrasspolicy-blog.blogspot.com for anyone who really wants to understand the new NAEP results.

Of course, if you just want to feel good, don't look beyond the simplistic stuff. You can even talk yourself into thinking math is moving along just fine while our eighth grade blacks are getting terribly left behind, and our white kids aren't really doing all that hot, either.