Sunday, November 10, 2013

State students do well . . .

While focusing on our bond results I found a number of possible topics for posting including this one from KPLU on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results.  The focus is on how  Washington fourth and eighth grade students did on the reading and math assessments.  Historically. our students have scored above the national average and that continued with only five states scoring significantly higher on all four assessments.

The state’s reading scores have climbed significantly in recent years, as has the fourth-graders’ math score. At most, five other states scored statistically higher in all four categories.

“We’re proud of how our students are doing and the work that our teachers are doing,” said Washington State Superintendent Randy Dorn. 

In this Education Week blog post by Catherine Gewirtz we read that Secretary Duncan tries to tie gains in some states to the federal Race to the Top competition.  

"Tennessee, D.C. and Hawaii have done some really tough, hard work and it's showing some pretty remarkable dividends," he said. "Lots of folks sort of scoffed when we invested in Hawaii through Race to the Top. People thought that that was a loser, that Hawaii could never do anything. ... Hawaii, to their tremendous credit, has proved a lot of skeptics wrong."

Of the 12 early Race to the Top winners, however, only six—Delaware, Tennessee, New York, Florida, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia—produced statistically significant gains on the NAEP since 2011, according to the NCES data.

So much for gains being driven by the millions spent on this and other federal competitive grant opportunities.  Though he tried to tie reforms required under the NCLB waivers to the modest overall gains it didn't resonate with all at the press conference.

Pressed to say how national gains of barely 1 point on a 500-point scale in three of the four subject areas was a victory for billions of dollars in federal investment, Duncan noted only that "scores actually went up across the board," and that the federal stimulus money saved many teachers' jobs. 

It would seem that we are doing pretty well in our state without  additional federal financial support and without some of the initiatives the Secretary favors. 

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