Just in time for Halloween, parents get a scary story. The NAEP scores are in and, nationally, the scores declined.
For the first time since the early 1990’s math scores of 4th and 8th graders dropped. Looking specifically at 8th grade, the numbers took a significant drop in the category of ‘at or above proficiency’. Those scores went from 35% in 2013 to 33% in 2015.
The reading wasn’t any better. 8th graders went from 36% in 2013 to 34% in 2015.
The majority of states implemented Common Core. Supporters told us the standards would ‘move the needle’ on achievement.
Common Core moved the needle alright — in the wrong direction.
Turning Towards NC Scores
First – Click on our state on the map to see the historical scores chart and see the trends. Trends are important as we shall see.
4th grade math 2013: 245 4th grade reading 2013: 222
4th grade math 2015: 244 4th grade reading 2015: 226
8th grade math 2013: 286 8th grade reading 2013: 265
8th grade math 2015: 281 8th grade reading 2015: 261
The scores in North Carolina also went down in every category except 4th grade reading. The proficiency scores went down accordingly as well.
I wouldn’t credit Common Core with that reading increase, but rather Read to Achieve catching kids prior to 4th grade who would have otherwise brought scores down.
Back to those trends:
“The big idea is to look at the trend over time. That would be true of any test,” state schools Superintendent June Atkinson said. “Look at the trend since 2000 and see how we are progressing in North Carolina in reading and mathematics.” – ABC11 (10/28/15)
Dr. Atkinson is likely well aware that, since 1990, national scores have only increased.
This is the first year we’ve seen across the board decrease.
So is Atkinson then blaming the test? Because looking at the NC trend since 2000 that Atkinson references, scores mainly climbed with a few drops. That speaks more to what DPI implemented in our state specifically at the time though, seeing as how nationally scores continued to rise.
At any rate, Dr. Atkinson appears to be taking a page out of Arne Duncan’s book with wanting to have it both ways and is thus spinning results accordingly.
I doubt we’ll see Atkinson adopting Russ Whitehurst’s spin of ‘it’s the implementation and all those mom’s disrupting testing’. To do that, she’d have to admit she lied to the General Assembly about the sixty some-odd million of Race To The Top grant money she claimed went into professional development.
Also, to complain about implementation would only shine an enormous spotlight on her now that she’s decided to run for reelection. After all, there was no implementation; DPI dumped it on teachers a month before school started and said, ‘figure out your own resources! Bye!’.
Under Her Watch
Remember, Atkinson took office in 2005. Under her watch, the state shifted to Common Core and implemented the standards during the 2013-13.
During that 2012-13 school year, the READY accountability model was also put into place. DPI aligned all the North Carolina tests to Common Core at that time.
READY is described this way:
The READY Accountability Report provides analysis of all end-of-grade (EOG) and end-of-course tests (EOC), which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Reading and Mathematics and the Essential Standards in Science, for all public schools and public charter schools. The READY Report presents data on (1) school growth, (2) current year school performance, and (3) school performance on progress targets which includes the federally-required Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).
The NC test scores for 2012-13 were a disaster, with huge proficiency drops. DPI told us that this drop was predicted because we had new standards. Yet that one year’s drop was bigger than it’s ever been in a standards shift in this state.
How big? Between 2011-12 and 2012-13, scores dropped 37.3%. For comparison, are two other years in the last 20 years when we had a drop. Notice that 2012-13’s percentage is double that of the largest of the two other years below.
- 2005-2006 – 18.4% drop in proficiency
- 2007-2008 – 13.2% drop in proficiency
- 2012-2013 – 37.2% drop in proficiency
In 2014, DPI and the State Board of Education adopted an altered proficiency ranking system for North Carolina tests. The scale would add a level, going from 4 achievement levels to 5. This change arguably made the number of kids who were proficient appear to rise. It also made comparing past results near impossible.
In 2015, after three years of Common Core, the scores dropped in all but one area. Trend or not, the correlation to Common Core can’t be ignored since it is also playing out similarly in every other state who adopted the standards.
Perhaps they’d like to pass that time in the waiting for the Great Pumpkin with Linus.
- Proficient Yesterday, Failing Today, Trust Us, All is OK!?!
- Another Year of Testing Data and What Does it Matter?
- 2013-14 Scores: NC 3rd Grader Reading Proficiency 60.2%?
- NAEP results may be bad news for Common Core
- What Would Happen if CCSS Were Scrutinized as an Experimental Drug Application? Would These Standards Be Pulled From the Shelves Due to NAEP Results?
- Obama’s ‘Testing Cap’ Comes At Convenient Political Moment