Monday, October 01, 2007


Diane Ravitch -- surprise! -- takes the mixed messages and makes it seem all one-sided.

Just a few months ago, the state Education Department celebrated large gains for eighth-grade students in both reading and math. In  May and June, The New York Times ran front-page stories heralding major improvements in the state test scores for eighth-graders: "Eighth Graders Show Big Gain in Reading Test" and "City Students Lead Big Rise on Math Tests."  
In grade 8, the Education Department reported, the share of students meeting state reading standards jumped from 49.3 percent to 57 percent - a remarkable single-year rise, especially in a grade where academic performance had stagnated for several years. Similarly, the portion of eighth-graders meeting state math standards jumped from 53.9 percent to 58.8  percent.
These are very impressive gains. Unfortunately, they all  failed to show up in the NAEP results (a fact the Times mentioned not on its front page but at the end of a story on page A20).
Only in fourth-grade math did New York students post a solid NAEP gain - from a score of 238 in 2005 to 243 in 2007. In eighth-grade mathematics, where the state had found big increases on its own tests, the  NAEP score was 280 in 2005 and 280 in 2007. New York saw no significant change in fourth- or eighth-grade reading: The fourth-grade score went from 223 in  2005 to 224 in 2007; the eighth-grade one, from 265 to 264.  


NY Post, 9/28/07

September 28, 2007 -- The release this week of national test scores in reading and math was an embarrassment for the state Department of Education. Scores nationally and in many individual states showed modest gains from 2005 to 2007, but New York did not -- even though the Education Department had trumpeted "gains" on its tests just weeks earlier.

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