A decade of stagnation: Little progress on closely watched federal test, as big disparities persist
Scores on the exams known as the “nation’s report card” have barely budged over the last two years, new data show.
The minimal progress on the federal math and reading exams given to fourth and eighth graders will be a disappointment to officials who have hoped that their policies would boost students’ performance or help close yawning gaps between groups of students.
But score analyzers, beware: It’s difficult to draw conclusions about the benefits of specific policies based on the results. NCES, the federal agency that administers the tests, warns against it.
Still, advocates on all sides will use them to argue for their preferred changes to education policy. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has already praised the gains in one state, Florida, and highlighted the disappointing national results.
Also: Did computer testing muddle this year’s results?
A critical question has hung over the release of scores on national math and reading tests: Can state trends be relied on, given this year’s switch to digital tests?
John White, Louisiana’s superintendent, first raised this question in a letter to NCES, the group that administers NAEP. Now, in a letter obtained by Chalkbeat, the head of NCES has responded to White.