NAEP long-term trend scores were released yesterday, and the results are quite positive.
The report shows reading and math comparisons for 9-, 13-, and 17-year old going back to the 1970s. That's historically interesting but for those primarily concerned about current public policy, the comparisons between 2004 and 2008 are most noteworthy. Overall scores in both subjects are up with nearly all gains reaching statistical significance (save 17-year old math scores). In many cases, all-time highs were hit.
The disaggregated data had some very encouraging news as well. ????Low-performing students made significant gains.
In a number of cases racial achievement gaps got smaller (though not reaching statistical significance). In most cases when gaps didn't close, it was the result of both White and minority students making gains.
In total, the improvement among 9- and 13-year olds is pretty strong and convincing; gains among 17-year olds less so. ????My former ED boss, Margaret Spellings touted the influence of NCLB, saying, "Accountability is working. Where we've paid attention, grades 3 through 8, we are getting the best results. Where we have paid less attention, high school, we're not."
Some of my Fordham colleagues will likely disagree,...