Race to nowhere

The Department of Education is backing away from its decision to use National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results to measure states’ progress, reports Flypaper, citing Education Daily. Instead of using a single national measure, the department will factor in results from state exams.

“Race to the Top” is a play on the “Race to the Bottom,” Flypaper points out. States “have rushed to set passing scores on their own tests at laughably low levels.”

Now states will be able to claim that they have “narrowed achievement gaps” when all they’ve done is make their tests so easy to pass that virtually all kids — black and white, rich and poor — do so, magically erasing any group differences.

There will be no need to race if each state can set its own finish line.

Race to the Top’s teacher evaluation measures have been softened as well, complains Center for Education Reform.

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  1. I know that New York City’s scores doubled last year. It was funny how that happened during an election year! The politicians must have just tried extra hard to motivate students to do well and it worked!

    According to the national measures (from what I hear), we only actually increased 3%.

    Shouldn’t there be a reward for the states who are resisting the easy out of lowering their standards and are actually trying to keep their standards high?

  2. NAEP tests are ludicrous. I agree that we can’t just let states declare their own standards, but we have to have something better than NAEP.

  3. Vicki Abeles says:

    Check out the recently completed documentary, Race to Nowhere, a close up examination of education and childhood.

  4. Why is the NAEP seen as the be all, end all, of American testing metrics, particularly when one understands the no-stakes issues associated with the high school administration of it?

    We need national standards, but we also need to know that the students being tested are actually trying on the test, that they have some stake in the outcome.


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