This year the federal testing program (the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP) expanded to include 18 urban districts. ...The new participants in 2009 testing include Baltimore; Detroit; Fresno, Calif.; Jefferson County, Ky.; Miami-Dade (County); Milwaukee; and Philadelphia.
NAEP is recognized as the gold standard of achievement assessment: its tests are excellent, combining multiple-choice questions with short-answer questions and constructed-response questions so that students actually have to explain what they know or how they would solve a problem or write a short essay. NAEP is a no-stakes exam; no teacher or student gets a reward or a punishment based on its results. And no one can prepare for NAEP because no one knows who will take it. For all these reasons, NAEP tends to be more trustworthy than state exams, which typically produce inflated scores.
In 4th grade, the highest-performing district is Charlotte, followed closely by Austin. The districts that have made the biggest gains since 2002 are Atlanta and Washington. The new additions to TUDA include some very low-performing districts, such as Baltimore, Detroit, Fresno, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. The districts in which 50 percent or more of 4th grade students are "below basic" are Atlanta, D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Fresno, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit. In Detroit, a depressing 73 percent of students in 4th grade are "below basic." Nationally, 34 percent of students in this grade are "below basic."
A demographer would probably see a close correlation between NAEP scores and poverty.
Eighth grade reading scores have been stagnant nationally. The overall reading scores for the nation in this grade were precisely the same in 2009 as they were in 1998. Among the TUDA districts, two saw significant improvements in this grade: Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Four urban districts are at the national average for this grade:
Austin, Charlotte, Jefferson County, and Miami-Dade. This is very impressive. These four districts seem to be doing something very right: Their profile for 8th grade students looks very similar to the national profile and is significantly higher than the large-city average. What is especially impressive about Miami-Dade is the strong performance of its Hispanic students in 8th grade; the white-Hispanic gap in Miami is only 12 points, compared with 28 points in New York City, 30 points in Houston, 31 points in Austin, and 32 points in Los Angeles....
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Ravitch gives a Shout Out to Jefferson County
This from Diane Ravitch at Bridging Differences: