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Thursday, November 18, 2010

SD Test Scores: Better than Current Average, But No Better than 1992

Here's a math question probably not covered on the standardized tests our bureaucrats so treasure: How do we take a number that says South Dakota's education system has not improved and make it say our education system is great?

Cue Tom Oster, South Dakota education secretary:

South Dakota’s 12th grade reading and math scores are well above the national average, according to results released today by the National Assessment Governing Board. South Dakota was one of 11 states to participate in a 2009 pilot program that provided state-level results for the National Assessment of Educational Progress at 12th grade.

In reading, South Dakota’s 12th graders had an average score of 292, compared to the national average of 287. In math, South Dakota's 12th graders had an average score of 160, compared to the national average of 152.

That asterisk next to Oster's name is in the original press release. Is that what you get when the governor-elect is replacing you?
“Our students have typically performed well at both grades 4 and 8, and our 12th graders were no different,” said Secretary of Education Tom Oster.* “South Dakota was one of five states with higher average scores than the nation in both reading and math” [South Dakota Department of Education, "South Dakota's NAEP Pilot Scores among Best," press release, 2010.11.18].

Turn now to the national news on those test scores, which takes a little longer-term perspective:

A national education assessment released Thursday shows that high school seniors have made some improvement in reading, but remain below the achievement levels reached nearly two decades ago.

...Students scored an average of 288 out of 500 points in reading comprehension, two points above the 2005 score but still below the 1992 average of 292. Thirty-eight percent of 12th grade students were classified as at or above the "proficient" level, while 74 percent were considered at or above "basic."

"Today's report suggests that high school seniors' achievement in reading and math isn't rising fast enough to prepare them to succeed in college and careers," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said [Christine Armario, "12th-Grade Students Still Below '92 Reading Scores," AP via Yahoo News, 2010.11.18].

Eight years of No Child Left Behind, and our students still aren't doing any better than they did years before John Boehner, Ted Kennedy, and George W. Bush decided Washington knows best what your local schools should do. Time to get NCLB out of the way and try a new plan!

1 comment:

  1. Wrong metrics. Oster and Duncan are clueless. The only metric that matters is the international metric. We are in a global economy. Comparing and contrasting our mediocre school results with those of other states achieving mediocrity is the road to perdition.


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