Two recent events provide the opportunity to revisit a couple of recurrent themes in my blogs. The first of these events was the release of the NAEP science results from the 2011 administration. The results were predictable – no significant growth in the number of students achieving at the proficient level. Only about a third of all students tested performed at this level or better. Sound familiar?
The same general pattern was apparent when I reviewed the results from the last NAEP reading and mathematics assessments. And the reasons are also the same. There are no “breakthroughs” in NAEP results because this snapshot assessment program tells us as much about student ability as it does about student achievement. Not all students of a given chronological age will reach the same achievement levels at the same time – particularly when the resources invested per student are essentially uniform. The number of hours of instruction per day, week and year are broadly equivalent across the United States and students are focused on the same relatively narrow curriculum. (more…)