No Big Changes in DC’s NAEP Scores This Year

As I predicted, there was no miracle in DC under Michelle Rhee’s reign.

At least not one you can see on the NAEP scores for fourth or eighth grade students in reading and math.

There was some slight improvement in math, but not reading. But the math scores have been going up considerably since the mid-1990’s, so I’m not surprised that the scores have continued to rise here. I just don’t think Rhee had much to do with it, since the increase started while she was still an utterly floundering TFA newbie teacher trainee in Baltimore. Don’t believe me? Look for yourself at these two graphs for the fourth grade. They do NOT show any miracles. Just slow, incremental improvement among black students and white students since the early 1990’s. There is no huge jump for 2009 or 2011, the way Rhee’s propaganda machine would have you believe.

To make it easier, I have both a graph and a table.

The one above is for math. The next one is for reading:

Notice that there has not been much improvement in DC on the black-white score gap. DC’s African-American students tend to score lower than black students do in other states, but our European-American students score much, much higher than any other measured group anywhere in the nation.

Having some personal experience with the poverty levels and percentages of broken families in DC’s black community on one side, and the number of families with advanced technical and professional degrees in DC’s white community on the other side, I can’t say I’m really surprised at the gap, and why it’s so hard to counteract.

All the scores are what NAEP calls “Scale Scores”, which are supposed to represent something to do with how well, on the average, students in a state or region do in a specific topic. They do not reveal exactly how they calculate that. “Black-White Gap” means just that, the difference in average scale scores between the average black student and the average white student, at those grade levels.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Thanks so much for this Guy — We all look forward to your analyses. I’m sure DCPS is reading here too – and grousing as they go.

    Here’s the little bit I’ve done, minus the charts and graphs and White/Black comparisons. It’s is adapted from comments I posted earlier today on WaPo articles.

    DC officials called the 2011 math increases “impressive” but they’re not impressive at all when compared to greater increases in the past. Fourth grade math scores increased three points (219 to 222) from ’09 to ’11. This is down from a five point increase between ’07 and ’09 (214 to 219) and is equal to or lower than increases in previous years (three points between ’05 and ’07 and four points between ’03 and ’05 – way before reform).

    Check it out in the upper right hand column NAEP DC snapshot page:

    Eighth grade math scores increased by the same number of points (6) between ’09 -’11 as they did between ’07-’09. Where are the effects of reform here?

    Eighth grade reading between ’09 and ’11 is completely flat at 242. There was a one point increase between ’07 and ’09 (from 241 to 242). But between ’05 and ’07, before reform came to DC, there was a larger three point increase (from 238 to 241). While reading scores have been creeping upward at a dismal pace for years, reform has been no help at all. All that money for IMPACT, all those principals and teachers fired and new ones hired, all that merit pay for teachers — and nothing.

    The situation is a bit worse in 4th grade reading.
    What officials are calling “flat” for the 4th grade reading scores is actually a one point decline, from 202 in ’09 to 201 in ’11. This is pitiful compared to the five point increase (193 to 202) between ’07 and ’09 and the six point increase (191-197) between’05 and ’07 – prior to reform.


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