Saturday, November 07, 2009

Does CNN's Anderson Cooper Shape His News?

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday was supposed to be on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 the other night.

Then, he wasn't.

Here's the way his non-appearance rolled out, according to Holliday.

This from Commissioner Holliday's Fast Five for Friday email:

Anderson Cooper 360-

The appearance that did not happen.

Tuesday, we received a call from CNN that the producers wanted the commissioner to appear on the AC360 show to talk about national standards.

Wednesday, I got a call from staff of the show, wanting to talk about details of the program.

It became apparent that they did not really want to discuss national standards, but a recent report that compared state test scores to NAEP scores. The show was basically trying to allege that states had actually lowered standards so more schools would meet adequate yearly progress (AYP).

While I was not in Kentucky in 2007 when the Kentucky Core Content Tests were changed, I do know how the standards-setting and test development procedures are handled. I also knew that while the NAEP comparison cut score on our 4th-grade mathematics had actually dropped one point, I also knew that our NAEP proficiency levels had increased, and Kentucky was one of only a handful of states whose levels actually had increased.

Apparently, they did not know that last part.

I also told them that national standards and national assessments would resolve this issue and that I supported the efforts of CCSSO and NGA.

Apparently, that was not the type of show they wanted ... so, they called back in 15 minutes and canceled the appearance.

Never mind - I got to see the final game of the World Series!!!!


Garrett said...

Worthless sensationalist "news" networks...this is why I don't watch cable news networks. CNN, MSNBC, and especially Fox News are all more interested in riling up their viewers and increasing that viewership than actually reporting impartially. I'll stick with my Stephen Colbert for entertaining news, and the internet for actual news.

Susan Weston said...

I think "fourth grade mathematics" should be "fourth grade reading." The study looked at fourth and eighth grade reading and mathematics in 2007, with comparisons to 2005. But in 2005, our elementary math test happened in fifth grade, so the study leaves that out.

Richard Day said...

Thanks Susan.

Richard Day said...

Yeah, Garrett...and we'er never sensationalist on the internet. ; )

Richard Innes said...

CNN shaping news? Was there ever any doubt?

All that aside, I have not seen the comments you credit to Terry Holliday, but there is a mistake in what you published (his or yours, I can't tell). Kentucky did indeed get one point of NAEP Scale Score equivalent inflation when CATS was reset in 2007, but it wasn't in math, it was in fourth grade reading (Table 11 in "Ma
pping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2007," NCES 2010-456). In eighth grade math, the inflation was much more notable at 6 NAEP Scale Score equivalent points.

NCES 2010-456 unfortunately only did comparisons when states tested math or reading in either 4th or 8th grade in both 2005 and 2007. Since we didn't finally test math in 4th grade and reading in 8th grade until 2006, the NCES document does not show inflation that also occurred in these KCCT tests.

However, I did examine that using a "NAEP Ruler" technique I developed several years ago. The "Ruler" plots the position of the proficiency rate from the KCCT on a scale that runs from zero at the NAEP rate reported for Kentucky for Basic and Above and 100 at the NAEP rate of "Proficient or Above."

The results show KCCT inflated across the board in both math and reading in both grades. Read about that here:

and here:

More recently, I applied the NAEP Ruler technique to the new 2009 NAEP math results. There was a further, notable decay in scoring rigor on the KCCT between 2007 and 2009 which was NOT supposed to happen. Read about that here: grades.

Richard Day said...

His. Thanks, Dick.