Tennessee and Its Most Recent Performance on the NAEP

Following up on three posts over the past few months — the first about Tennessee Commissioner Huffman’s (un)inspiring TEDxNashville talk in which he vociferously celebrated Tennessee students’ recent (albeit highly questionable) gains on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores, the second about Huffman’s (and the Tennessee Department of Education’s) unexpected postponement of the release of its state-level (TCAP) standardized test scores, test scores that were, by law, to account for 15 to 25 percent of Tennessee students’ final grades, and the third about some of the “behind the scenes” details surrounding what might actually be going on in Tennessee —  it seems Tennessee’s most recent NAEP scores are in!

Recall that two years after Commissioner Huffman arrived “Tennessee’s kids had the most growth of any kids in America” on the NAEP. This was celebrated by both U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama, as evidence that tying accountability measures to teacher-level growth in fact works to increase student achievement.

Well, as per the most recent NAEP scores just released, Tennessee students’ mathematics and reading scores have gone, more or less, flat. More specifically, and as per Gary Rubenstein’s recent post, in Tennessee “3-8 Reading dropped from 50.3% to 49.5% while 3-8 Math increased from 50.7% to 51.3%. Now these are small changes and not tremendously ‘statistically significant’ either way.  But they are pretty ‘flat.”  Recall as well that this is the state in which “the best” VAM is being used state-wide for such purposes (i.e., the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System [TVAAS], or what is more commonly known as the Education Value-Added Assessment System [EVAAS]).

In addition, “the largest drop of any grade in any subject was 3rd grade reading which dropped from 48.8% to 43.8%, a drop of 5%.  This might be statistically significant, but more importantly, this is the group of students who had the most opportunity to benefit from the reforms put in place in Tennessee, so ‘reformers’ should expect that group of 3rd graders to outperform previous groups.  Third grade math also dropped from 59% to 56.5%.”

Again, do read and see (in terms of graphs) more here. Definitely worth a view as this evidences well that history has, yet again, repeated itself. History has repeated itself, in fact, for now over 30 years when this was observed post the introduction of such accountability measures in Florida back in the late 1970s.

And how was it that Einstein defined insanity??

3 thoughts on “Tennessee and Its Most Recent Performance on the NAEP

  1. Do you mean TCAP or NAEP are just released and flat?

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    • NAEP – National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Nation’s test. This did not reference TCAP scores, as NAEP is typically used as state-level gauge as state scores are (too) often suspect (e.g., given local changes to tests, test policies, cut scores, etc.).

  2. Our third graders had more testing than any other past year. That means less instructional time, not to mention what those tests did too student morale. It is pretty difficult to want to try hard when tests are making your feel stupid.

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