The redoubtable Paul Barton, formerly of the Educational Testing Service,  prepared this March 2001 report for the National Education Goals Panel. Based on NAEP data, it seeks to track and explain state-level performance trends. He's done some interesting "quartile analysis" as well as taken a close look at minority/white achievement gaps. Three sentences from his executive summary are worth repeating: "States are generally making more progress in mathematics achievement than in reading....Good readers are getting better at the same time weak readers are losing ground....States have not generally reduced the achievement gap between top and bottom quartiles or between white and minority students." There's lots of useful state specific data, too, in which you'll find nuggets of important information. (For example, between 1992 and 1996, just two states - Georgia and Massachusetts - narrowed the white-minority gap in 4th grade math.) If you'd like your own copy, contact the Goals Panel at (202) 724-0015, surf to www.negp.gov or e-mail [email protected].

The Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) made quite a splash in the U.S. when its 1995 results came out, mostly because it showed American kids sorely under-performing their counterparts in many other lands in math and science, especially in the upper grades. The 8th grade portion of TIMSS was given again in 1999 to countries, states and even school districts that opted to participate (in the regular study or a related "benchmarking" study), and the results were recently released. Besides national data for the U.S. (not very different from 1995), we have new data for 13 states and 14 districts (or consortia of districts) that can now be compared directly with other countries. The small district of Naperville, Illinois made quite a splash when its kids did as well - in both math and science - as high-scoring Asian lands. But there's more here. Several urban districts that were brave enough to participate, for example, yielded results comparable to those of middle-eastern lands. Data on home resources and instructional emphases are sometimes illuminating, sometimes puzzling. (For example, Jersey City surpasses Naperville in its emphasis on "reasoning and problem solving in math class" yet its results match those of...

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Lisa Duty

One could argue that 2011 was the
year of “digital learning” in Ohio and across the nation. In September, the
White House announced its “Digital Promise” campaign, while a number of states
have been embracing initiatives and campaigns in this realm, aided and
encouraged by national groups like the Digital Learning Council and the
Foundation for Excellence in Education. Ohio’s biennial budget launched the
Ohio Digital Learning Task Force and charged it with ensuring that the state’s
“legislative environment is conducive to and supportive of the educators and
digital innovators at the heart of this transformation.”

Our two organizations –
KnowledgeWorks and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute – are committed to seeing
Ohio become a leader in the implementation of digital learning opportunities
for the state’s 1.8 million students. Ohio now stands at an important
crossroads and 2012 could be a pivotal year on whether we move forward in the
digital learning environment.

Our state has been a path-breaker
when it comes to availability of full-time e-school options that leverage
technology in learning. In fact, if all 33,000 children currently enrolled in