Saturday, October 17, 2009

Improving Math Scores - Fact or Fiction

"Vermont is also one of only five states or jurisdictions to show improvement in its scores for both fourth- and eighth-graders. Both Nevada and the District of Columbia showed improvement, as did the three states — Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — that use the New England Common Assessment Program."

Ignoring DC and NV because they were a mess before - anything is an improvement there - you are left with this observation:

The only states that use the NECAPs are the only states with an improvement.

It's a pretty good trick. When you can't continually improve the scores using an old test (NSREs were used from 1998-2006), you change the test. Now the schools are getting to know the NECAP and redoing their curriculum to match it. Look for improvements to continue as teachers focus more and more on the new set of material.

Then we'll reach a plateau. Horrors! What do we do?

Change to a different test, of course. Set the cut score so that averages stay stable and then let the schools begin to adapt their curricula to it. Repeat as necessary.

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