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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Two thoughts in the afterglow of the Nation's Report Card



Much was written when the NAEP scores came out last week, as observers and educators picked apart the results and tried to determine their significance.

This week, two well-known edu-bloggers offered some keen insights well worth some attention.

First, Matthew Ladner, from Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, notes in a post for the Redefined choice blog all the celebration that some Floridians wish to enjoy in looking at some of the outcomes that shed Florida's scores in a positive light. Then he suggests that it's time to get real:

"Back here in the real world, you’ve got 27 percent down and 73 percent to go. Everything that has been done to this point remains completely and totally inadequate against the enormous needs of Florida’s future. If you think otherwise, simply study the chart: if a little better than a one-in-four shot is not good enough for you as a theoretical Florida child, you cannot think of this as good enough for all too real children in practice."

Next, Columbia sociologist Aaron Pallas writes on his blog for the Hechinger Institute that many people -- including U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- misunderstand or misuse NAEP data to drive their own political agenda:

"Every two years, the federal government assesses a sample of fourth- and eighth-grade children in reading and mathematics in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as students in a sample of urban school districts. When the scores are released, policymakers and pundits scramble to interpret the results, frequently putting their own spin on the differences in performance between different years.

"One common mistake ... is to treat the difference between the scores in a given administration and those in the previous administration as an indicator of growth or decline. As Matt Di Carlo has repeatedly warned, the fourth-graders in Arkansas in 2013 are not the same students as the fourth-graders in Arkansas in 2011 ...."

Just some thoughts to keep in mind when someone trots out the NAEP results to prove their point.

[Last modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 12:57pm]


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