This week, the 2011 NAEP scores were released. The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only assessment of student learning that is given to students across the nation- making it a significant tool for comparisons across states. A representative sample of 4th and 8th graders take the exam in reading and math every two years.
On the whole compared to 2009, the new data showed small improvements in math and relatively flat scores in reading. In Oregon, scores held steady compared to 2009 with no significant improvements or declines.
State Superintendent Susan Castillo said of the results, “While we didn’t see drastic changes from the previous NAEP results, we are not seeing the improvements in student performance that we know Oregon needs in order to compete nationally and internationally.”
Indeed, looking further back to 2003 some states have made substantial progress, particularly for their low income students, while Oregon has not.
Here’s a chart of 4th grade reading scores that splits out higher income and low income students and shows their progress between 2003 and 2011. While higher income students in Oregon have made gains over the years, low income students have not.
An analysis of NAEP scores by The Education Trust shows that although Oregon may be holding steady in scores, we are falling behind other states. One of the key findings of their analysis stated, “California, Michigan, Missouri and Oregon consistently rank among the bottom states in both performance and improvement, overall and by subgroup, in both subjects and grades.”
We don’t believe “consistently ranking at the bottom” is good enough for Oregon’s students. We will continue to work with educators and other stakeholders to strengthen our education system and help move Oregon towards becoming one of the top performing states in the nation.