NAEP test results in: Alabama, you’ve got some homework to do

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The Nation’s Report Card released the results of their 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics assessments on Tuesday; and Alabama didn’t fair so well.

Although the state’s scores remained the same as the scoring in 2015, the last year the assessments were made, Alabama scored well below the national average in reading and mathematics.

The NAEP — the nation’s  largest representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas — has been testing students using the same criteria for many years, and there is no way to teach to the test.

Administered every two years to students in grade 4 and 8 in both reading and math, it is considered the “gold standard” of tests in the education community as there is no way to exaggerate or falsify the results.

NAEP scores

[Photo Credit: NAEP, 2017]

The impact of digital testing?

Last year’s administration of “the nation’s report card” was the first to be conducted in a digital format, which Some education experts believe could have affected the results.

But Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of assessment for NCES, said in a conference call with reporters on Monday the differences were similar to what would typically be found as a result of “sampling variability.”

“We’re confident that these results are valid and are apple-to-apple comparisons for the states and for the nation,” Carr said. “We are just ecstatic about being able to move these assessments into a digitally-based format.”

A deeper look into Alabama’s results

Alabama 4th Graders:

  • 63 percent of students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level in reading, the national average was 67 percent
  • 73 percent of students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level in mathematics, the national average was 79 percent
Reading Grade 4

[Reading, grade 4
Difference in average scale scores between all jurisdictions and Alabama, for All students, NAEP 2017]

NAEP Mathematics Grade 4

[Mathematics, grade 4
Difference in average scale scores between all jurisdictions and Alabama, for All students NAEP, 2017]

Alabama 8th graders:

  • 67 percent of students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level in reading, the national average was 75 percent
  • 55 percent of students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level in Mathematics, the national average was 69 percent

[Mathematics, grade 8
Difference in average scale scores between all jurisdictions and Alabama, for All students NAEP, 2017]

NAEP Reading Grade 8

[Reading, grade 8. Difference in average scale scores between all jurisdictions and Alabama, for All students, NAEP 2017]

What do the results mean for students?

“It is clear our nation’s education system continues to fail its mission of educating our children. Overall test scores remain flat highlighting the one-size-fits all government school system does not meet the educational needs of all students. Education freedom is the solution to the problem. Education choice provides every child with the ability to pursue the education that fits their personal education needs,” said Lennie Jarratt, Project Manager, Education of The Heartland Institute.

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