Two different versions of the same story, one from the AP, the other Bloomberg.
The AP first:
Handing out dismal grades, the Nation’s Report Card says America’s high school seniors lack critical math and reading skills for an increasingly competitive global economy.
When I read or hear “competitive(ness),” my first instinct is to hold on to my border.
Only about one-quarter are performing proficiently or better in math and just 4 in 10 in reading. And they’re not improving, the report says, reinforcing concerns that large numbers of today’s students are unprepared for either college or the workplace.
Scores on the 2013 exam in both subjects were little changed from 2009, when the National Assessment of Educational Progress was last given to 12th-graders. The new results, released Wednesday, come from a representative sample of 92,000 public and private school students.
The report follows the just-released and seemingly more encouraging research that U.S. high school graduation rates in 2012 reached 80 percent, a record.
Proficiency in math and reading, probably a watered down metric as it is, isn’t increasing, but high school graduation rates are increasing. That should be a scandal, that one can get a high school diploma for having little more than a pulse.
One possible explanation is that lower-performing students who in the past would have dropped out of school are now remaining in the sampling of students who take the exam, said John Easton, acting commissioner of the Education’s Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.
Or, another possible explanation is that the universe of high school seniors, even the ones that stay in school that long, gets regressively more diverse and NAM by the year.
Wednesday’s results are likely to embolden supporters of the Common Core standards that are being rolled out in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Designed to develop critical thinking skills, they spell out what math and English skills students should master at each grade.
I’ll get to that at the beginning of the Bloomberg article.
Students who reported rarely or never discussing reading interpretations in class averaged lower scores than those who had such discussions daily or almost daily.
You don’t say. The interested do better than the uninterested?
An overwhelming majority reported that reading was enjoyable. Students who strongly disagreed with that idea had scores much lower than those who strongly agreed.
Of course reading can be enjoyable. Those books about green eggs and ham were very enjoyable. But it’s a tad of a leap from there to Thucydides and his account of the Peloponnesian War.
Math scores were higher, on average, for students who took calculus and lowest for students who had not taken a math course beyond Algebra I.
So you’re telling me that passing calculus means you’re better at math than someone who flunked Algebra I. Hmm.
Even as 12th-grade scores have stagnated, fourth- and eighth-grade students have made slow but steady progress on the exam since the early 1990s; most progress has come in math.
Michael Petrilli, executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said it’s unclear why younger students are doing better while high school seniors are not.
“This is one of the great mysteries of education today is why are we not seeing the same improvements at the 12th-grade level as the fourth- and eighth-grade level,” Petrilli said.
One speculation is that high school seniors simply aren’t motivated when they take this exam. More ominously, another thought is that students are taking watered-down classes and “all we’ve done is put them in courses with bigger titles,” said Mark Schneider, the vice president at the American Institutes for Research. He is the former commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.
My speculation has to do with that whole HBD thing about racial differences in brain maturation.
At all levels, there continue to be racial disparities.
Among high school seniors, white and Asian students scored higher on average in the recent results in both reading and math than black, Hispanic and American Indian students. Asian students scored higher than white students in math but did not do significantly better in reading. As in past years, male students did better than female students in math, but females outperformed males in reading.
HBD at work again.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that despite the good news related to graduation rates and scores in younger grades, high school achievement has been flat in recent years.
Arne, I said something about how something should be a huge scandal. Quit casting high school graduation rates as some sort of good news, because it’s not.
“We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as a nation we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students,” Duncan said in a statement.
Got some magic potion to raise IQ? Other than eugenics, which I’m sure you’ll dismiss reflexively.
Community colleges and four-year institutions have been trying to improve their remedial education programs, given that only about one-quarter of students who take remedial classes end up graduating.
It’s estimated that more than one-third of all college students, and more than one-half in community colleges, need some remedial help, according to research from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Another scandal. Why do colleges have remedial courses?
Now, on to Bloomberg.
U.S. high school seniors, whose school years have encompassed the sweeping education initiatives of two presidents, failed to demonstrate improvement in math or reading on a national exam.
Now, compare that to what was said in the AP article about the “necessity” of Commune Core. They admit that today’s seniors have spent the virtual entirety of their school years in the eras of either No Child Can Get Ahead or Race to the Bottom, all to no avail. The ones a bit older them were subject to the Outhouse Based Education scheme. So the solution to one pie in the sky education scheme failing then the next one then the one after that is to start in on a whole new one that will fail and be forgotten and not missed and whose documents will be found in any convenient dumpster within five years.
“Stagnation is unacceptable,” David Driscoll, chairman of the board that administers the test, said in a statement. “Achievement at this very critical point in a student’s life must be improved to ensure success after high school.”
Okay, here’s another one. If you find some magic potion to raise IQ, please pass it along to Arne Duncan.
The results paint a similar picture to that of SAT college entrance exam performance. The high school class of 2013 showed no improvement from the previous year and fewer than half of the test takers were prepared for college-level work, according to the College Board, owner of the SAT. Concerns about academic performance of U.S. students propelled education industry and political leaders to create the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which has become controversial as states balk at increased government intervention in education.
Well, actually it propelled David Coleman to make the lateral move from Commune Core to the College Bored (deliberate misspelling), so he can jigger the SAT around Commie Core to “prove” the “success” of it in the coming years.
The achievement gap between black and white students has remained steady at about 30 points in math from 2005 to 2013. The score gap between blacks and whites in reading widened by 5 points from 1992 to 2013.
Well, at least we know the civil rights industry will have a continued reason for existence, should beg letters containing “Trayvon” ever start failing to haul in money.