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Bonnie Sutton

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Achievement Gaps NAEP Common Core

started by Bonnie Sutton on 16 Feb 12
  • Bonnie Sutton
    The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education

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    February 16, 2012

    Brown Center on Education Policy
    The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education
    Today, we released the 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education. Researched and written by senior fellow Tom Loveless since 2000, the report uses empirical evidence to explore important questions in education policy and analyzes the state of American education, with a special emphasis on student learning measures, achievement test scores trends, and education reform outcomes.

    Here's a brief summary of the three studies in this year's report:
    Predicting the Effect of the Common Core State Standards on Student Achievement: The Common Core will have little to no effect on student achievement. The quality or rigor of state standards has been unrelated to state NAEP scores, Loveless finds. Moreover, most of the variation in NAEP scores lies within states, not between them. Whatever impact standards alone can have on reducing within-state differences should have already been felt by the standards that all states have had since 2003.

    Measuring Achievement Gaps on NAEP: The Main NAEP consistently reports larger SES achievement gaps than the Long Term Trend NAEP. The study examines gaps between students who qualify for free and reduced lunch and those who do not; black and white students; Hispanic and white students; and English language learners and students who are not English language learners. Loveless writes that, "The biggest discrepancy between the tests is with ELL students. That suggests that the role language plays on the two tests-which is quite different, even in math-may be influencing the magnitude of the gaps."

    Misinterpreting International Test Scores: Educators & policymakers often misinterpret International Test Scores in three ways: 1) Dubious Conclusions of Causality, 2) The Problem With Rankings, and 3) The A+ Country Fallacy. The errors are usually committed by advocates of a particular policy position who selectively use data to support an argument, argues Loveless. Dubious Causal Conclusions-refers to attributing a change in test scores to a single policy change. The case of Poland is used to illustrate. It accomplished large gains on the PISA reading test. The theory that tracking reform produced the gains is not supported by the evidence. The Problem with Rankings-shows how rankings can distort a nation's relative standing by exaggerating small changes in test scores or, the reverse, making large changes appear less significant than they really are. The A+ Country Fallacy-refers to the habit of pointing to high performing countries and assuming that their policies must be good.
    Download the full report (PDF) »
    View past Brown Center reports »

    In a related video, Tom Loveless provides an overview of the 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education's key findings and conclusions.

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