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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Can you say grade inflation?



Better yet, can you pronounce it?

Two national reports released Thursday morning show a big disconnect between what we think high school seniors are learning, based on the classes they take and their GPA’s – and what standardized tests show they’re learning.

High school seniors who graduated in 2005 completed a more rigorous curriculum than their counterparts in 2000 – at least on paper - and their grade point averages were one-third of a letter grade higher than their peers in 1990, according to one of the reports, which were both put out by the organization that administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Yet, the other report shows, their reading scores were the lowest since 1992.

The percentage scoring at the basic level or above on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as "The Nation’s Report Card," dropped from 80 percent in 1992 to 73 percent in 2005, the report showed. The percentage scoring at the proficient level or above dropped from 40 percent to 35 percent. The results are based on a statistically representative sample of 21,000 students in 900 schools nationwide.

"On the surface, these results provide little comfort and seem to confirm the general concern about the performance of America's high school students," said Darvin Winick, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and sets policy for NAEP, in a press release. "The findings also suggest that we need to know much more about the level of rigor associated with the courses that high school students are taking."

Click here to see the full report.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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