Reading and math achievement in improving across the nation, concludes a study by the Center on Education Policy. The study found no evidence that the federal push for “proficient” performance has shortchanged advanced or low-achieving students.
. . . even though NCLB creates incentives for schools to focus on ensuring students reach the proficient level, states posted gains at the advanced and basic-and-above levels as well. At the basic-and-above level, 73 percent of the trend lines analyzed across various subjects and grades showed gains. At the advanced level, 71 percent of the trend lines analyzed showed improvement.
“If accountability policies were indeed shortchanging high- and low-achieving students, we would expect to see stagnation or decline at the basic and advanced levels,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO. “Instead, the percentages of students scoring at the basic-and-above and advanced levels have increased much more often than they have decreased, especially in the lower grades.”
Students improved more in math than in reading. Most of the gains were seen in elementary and middle school, though high school scores improved slightly.
Is it too cynical to think it would be bigger news if it went the other way?
Education Week has more on the study; many of the comments from educators dismiss the importance of higher reading and math scores.