Nov 7 2013
06:34 pm

...although the story up at KNS says only that "Tennessee students" are so positioned.

What results of the 2013 NAEP really indicate is that, in spite of rapidly adopting the most aggressive and punitive reforms in the nation since 2010, ostensibly to close the student achievement gap, Tennessee has made zero, zip, nada progress on that front.

Interested readers may access breakout data at NAEP's website that answer the question "what states are closing achievement gaps?"

There, we may examine the data referenced in the KNS article--4th grade reading and math scores and eighth grade reading and math scores--in a manner that measures our success in closing the gap between white and black students' scores and also between white and Hispanic students' scores.

And we will discern that in over 48 comparisons of test scores spanning 21 years, Tennessee narrowed (not closed) a gap in only two comparisons in two years of one test at one grade level in one subject area. And that was before we adopted the 2010 reforms.

In the remaining 46 comparisons, the gap widened in one instance and remained unchanged in the other 45 instances.

If you didn't already know that the ed reform effort isn't really about closing the student achievement gap and that housing segregation works for white folks, you may want to spend some time with NAEP's various drop-down menus linked above.

jcgrim's picture

SCORE, Duncan, Huffman/Haslam twins spin data

My inbox is being spammed with all types of hyperbole and misleading data interpretation to support the corporate reforms.
A sample of the advertising litter:

'Outstanding progress by TN students' from "We're not going to spend money on THOSE kids"- SCORE's Jamie Woodson.
'Report card proves critics were wrong' from BAM radio(Voice of the Education CommunityTM, and a statement from Duncan.

I expect more garbage from DoEd's messaging machine in the next few days.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I might have added that not only do NAEP data reflect gains just for white students, they also reflect gains in just English and math.

And even those gains relate just to the English and math material covered on the test.

Let's not get swept away by the spin.

jcgrim's picture

Lies support cruelty

Check out this from data Gary Rubenstein (an educator). His analyses supports Tamera's:

TN is in the negative range of achievement for our free-lunch students. These are the very students corporate deforms were marketed to 'save' from failing schools. Deformers (including McIntyre) should be should be ashamed. Instead, they spend money on press releases that lie about the effects of their cruel and unusual punishment.

What kind of person designs education policies on the backs of the poor and disenfranchised? What kind of person purposely marginalizes education expert analyses by favoring only the voices of billionaires?

If we continue to gloss over TN's child poverty rate we'll continue down the rabbit hole of cruelty and ignorance.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Education Week on this subject yesterday:

Jack Buckley, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which oversees NAEP, said during a call with reporters that while he was "heartened" to see some positive results, such as the gains in 8th grade reading, he was disappointed not to see more improvement. He singled out, in particular, the lack of progress closing racial and ethnic disparities in the test results.

The Huffman quote:

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin S. Huffman credited much of that state’s score gains to its ratcheting up of academic standards: in 2009, with its own new standards and tougher new tests, and again in July 2010, when it adopted the common standards. He also pointed to the state’s weeklong intensive trainings for teachers on the common core, and the instructional feedback its teachers receive as part of the state’s revamped teacher-evaluation system.

“These things are not magic, but they’re hard work,” he said. “They’re hard to implement, and there’s a lot of push back associated with raising standards. It’s not easy, but it’s not magic.”

Tamara Shepherd's picture


And Diane Ravitch directs our attention to the big picture (November 9 post) :

If test-and-punish strategies work, why don’t they work everywhere?

D.C., Tennessee, and Indiana raised test scores, but the gains in other reformy states were small or negligible.

Below the national average were hard-driving reformy states including Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Ohio, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

That highly reformy state Wisconsin made no gains at all.

Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts actually lost ground.

It is impossible to conclude, as some leaders have, that D.C., Tennessee, and Indiana have the right formula because so many states with exactly the same formula made no progress at all. Some of the states that were unlucky enough to win Race to the Top mandates made little or no gains or lost ground.

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