Sunday, October 23, 2005

Test Scores Move Little in Math, Reading

By Lois Romano, Thursday, October 20, 2005; Washington Post Staff Writer

Reading scores among fourth- and eighth-graders showed little improvement over the past two years, and math gains were slower than in previous years, according to a study released yesterday. The disappointing results came despite a new educational testing law championed by the Bush administration as a way to improve the nation's schools.

Most troubling for educators are the sluggish reading skills among middle-school students, which have remained virtually unchanged for 15 years, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which administers the federal test and bills itself as the "nation's report card."

Though the tests have been taken by fourth- and eighth-grade students about every two years since 1990, the latest NAEP scores were the first tangible testing numbers available since the implementation of No Child Left Behind -- the Bush administration's premier and controversial education initiative requiring all states to test students annually as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds.

"No one can be satisfied with these results," said Ross Wiener, policy director for the Education Trust, an advocacy organization that backed No Child. "There's been a discernible slowdown in progress since '03, at a time when we desperately need to accelerate gains. The absence of particularly bad news isn't the same as good news..."

So DIBELS and scripted, prescribed lessons are not working either. Let's not even discuss NAEP, for now. I believe that this shows that this is a problem that is not going away soon. The one good thing that has come out of NCLB is the whole nation is focussing on the same issues, unfortunately the feds keep sticking their noses in with things like the Reading First grants and reading programs that have not been researched but have great political connections. Hopefully the country will soon realize NCLB, Reading First and more and more high stakes testing are not the answers that we need.

No comments: