Skip to comments.Spending and grade point averages are up, so why are the test scores down?
Posted on 02/27/2007 8:30:38 AM PST by Reagan Fellow
The U.S. Department of Education released 12th grade NAEP scores last week and the results are discouraging.
Reading scores of 12th grade students have declined significantly since 1992. The percentage of high school seniors scoring below basic in reading increased from 20 to 27 percent between 1992 and 2005. During the same period, high school seniors scoring proficient in reading dropped 14 percent.
Separately, the Department released a study showing that since 1990, high school grade point averages are up across the country. Also, the percentage of students taking college-prep classes climbed from 40 to 68 percent. In addition, 12th graders in 2005 averaged 360 more hours of classroom instruction than their 1990 counterparts.
Despite all of that, the Class of 2005 performed worse on the NAEP than students in the early 90s. Id like to remind you that Bill and Ted were students during that time
Although the Department of Education did not mention it, inflation adjusted per pupil spending increased more than 20 percent between 1990 and 2002. It has increased even further since then.
As another famous Bill once said, its time for a change.
MORE Money....equals....LESS results.....DUH.
"If we don't raise our test scores, we lose money!"
"OK, let's ask easier questions - more people will pass - we'll keep our money!"
Of course, the excrement collides with the rotary air-mover when the kids reach the NAEP (or the real world), but the schools don't have a dog in that fight.
Just a theory.
No wonder educators don't like tests.
Because money makes no difference and the grades are fraudulent.
Scores are down due to less teaching of basic skills! This youtube describes the deplorable condition of many math classes. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI&mode=related&search= Reading is no better. Where is the science?????
Extra money in my local school system goes toward hiring additional administrators or building a new school board building (beauracracy) - rather than directly benefiting the students or hiring additional/skilled teachers.
Educrats are the problem!
The kids don't have to read much anymore. Even in college courses little reading is required, not even in phlilosophy.
WOW....I watched about 3 minutes.....I always wondered what the grandkids were doing when they were multiplying with some weird process!!! This is WA State where I am.....
ping to WA STATE Freepers
College courses don't require much reading???Which colleges. Source? I have a whole bookshelf of college books that have been read cover to cover, that will argue with that statement. I think you are making that up.
I am in Georgia. California backpedaled on "reform math" a few years ago and the Texas Public Policy Foundation wrote a poor review in the late 90's, but many other states use "reform math." We "afterschool" in the afternoons after public school. The kids love it - hah!
Hm. Test scores in the City of Chicago are up. I'd love to see a breakdown of where scores have gone up and where they've gone down. Correlations to race, ethnicity, family income, urban/rural, state, school district spending/pupil, etc. would be illuminating.
Most of my students sell their books back to the bookstore as soon as the semester is over.
Probably not a causative connection, though.
Educational fads such as the "whole language" approach and (sigh, again....) a lack of emphasis on phonics is probably more to blame for the decline in reading scores.
My last university teaching assignment was in the College of Education, or "Center for Excellence" as it preferred to call itself, in the mid '90s. I was "disenfranchised" (not asked back) after too many students found my syllabus to be too difficult. Proudest moment of my life actually.
During the 1970s I was a young English teacher on the Navajo Reservation. Many of my students lived, literally, in mud huts. They did not speak English as a first language. Almost all lived in circumstances of real poverty.
Those kids, bless their hearts, had higher levels of literacy and writing skills than my spoiled, lazy white university students twenty years later.
I'm so glad to be out of educationalism.
I don't like tests, either. Kids in my school district spend at least 20 days every year taking various mandatory tests.
And since there's monetary impact to the test scores, -- big, gasping surprise -- the schools have taken to teaching to the tests.
The current emphasis on "testing" is a crock, foisted on us by idiots who want to pretend they're doing something about education.
My son graduated from high school in 2006. He's about the last group of the "whole language" nonsense. Second son will graduate in 2008, and everything had changed for him in first grade--back to phonics, for the most part.
I bet the test scores will start going back up.
Thanks for that Youtube link. What a horror. Did we learn nothing from the New Match debacle? Is there something wrong with teaching the simplest, most direct way of problem solving? Is that what PoMo math looks like? The incredible thing is that test scores haven't gone through the floor. At best, we're creating a generation of math-phobes.
When GPA is up and test scores are down, it means more parents are doing their childrens homework for them. But unfortunately, they can take the test for them.
Maybe Businesses can sue the schools for turning out poor quality employees. A Sector could agree to a set of standards all employees must meet for their given discipline. Instead of firing employees for poor performance, maybe they could sue the colleges and universities for a loss of productivity etc. Then fire the poor performing employee, and that ex-employee in turn sues the same school for creating the problem.
It was of my Dad and the MP's he commanded that were assigned to SHAEF.
My step-granddaughter saw it and asked what it was. As she is an 11th grade student I figured she would not know the term SHAEF, so I explained that it was my Dad and all the MP's assigned to Eisenhower's command in World War II.
Her reply: "Who was Eisenhower?"
In addition to her grammar, we are now also working on her knowledge of American History.
Hmmm...anyone here familiar with the concept of grade inflation? Nah, teachers would NEVER do that.../sarc
If you don't like testing, then come up with an alternative. Just letting the teachers go on the way they are is not an acceptable alternative.
When a system is failing year in and year out to produce what it promises and when it's only proposed fix is "give us more money," then the rubes putting up the money have the right, no, the duty, to question the experts who aren't delivering results. Testing is one obvious, maybe not the best, way to start trying to figure out what is broken.
And Education is broken in this country. As long as we keep shoveling money down the hole, the educators have no apparent interest in making the system any better, except to increase the number of teachers in the union and what they get paid. The teachers and the administrators ARE the problem.
I personally would shut down every public school, ban anyone who has taught there from being employed again as a teacher in the new system, and ban anyone with an education degree from being a teacher in the new system. Vouchers for everyone and let the chips fall where they may. There would be a few years of chaos and then we would have an education system that outperforms the current one at half the cost.
Because it's harder to get standardized tests to lie about how much kids have been taught.
Worse--if you give Johnny or Jane a bad grade, they'll feel bad and mommy and daddy will have to come defend their underachieving little booger-eaters.
Agreed. The math curricula I've seen have been really wretched. My kids happen to have good math teachers at present, which is their only saving grace.
MONEY is required for THOSE "educational fads"....
Ah, I see. So something that's demonstrably unhelpful must remain in place until I come up with the alternative?
How ... stupid. And how very like the educational problem you purport to want to fix.
The alternative is actually very straightforward.
First, require teachers to get a real college degree, rather than an "education" degree. Then require a teaching certificate, which would consist of an additional year of classes which comprise the small set of classes which are actually useful.
"Specialty" teachers can take additional classes, and get additional certification.
THEN ... get good curricula, the characteristics of which are known, because they've passed the test of time.
THEN -- and only then -- does "testing" make sense, but only as an instructional tool, and not some idiocy designed to promote "competition" between schools.
The trouble with that is that it'll clog the courts and encourage the lawyers.
The REAL problem is that an education is not really prized. Oh, everybody knows that more education = more $$$ in a vague sense, but in fact, especially in minority communities, education is seen as "acting white" and is shunned.
A kid should be responsible for his own education after a certain point, but if all your friends discourage you, are you gonna get new friends, or go along?
Not doing a very good job of teaching to tests are they?
Maybe there are too many tests. When I was in HS in NYC [a long time ago], the State Board gave 'Regents' tests which the teachers taught to and did a very good job. Tests were in English, History and Economics. Diplomas were with or without Regents credit. I believe this single test helped teachers, students, and schools.
Tests provide measure in health, sports or learning. Tests are for admission to professions. Knowing the 'score' is how the game is played.
It depends on the school, of course.
If "they" happen to be a school filled with well-off kids from two-parent families, they generally do great on the tests.
And if "they" happen to be a school filled with poor kids from a place near the street named for MLK, they'll almost always do poorly.
Testing can't deal with that kind of difference.
You are correct and indeed that is what is happening now. Many colleges are requiring subject areas for middle and high school teachers. The hold-outs are the elementary education majors. The trend now is to earn a degree in a subject area, then the masters in education, spend a semester student teaching, complete comps and/or thesis and ready to rock and roll in the real world.
Here is yet another example of "grade inflation". When I went to school, I was never considered "gifted". I was "merely" very good at math (and various other subjects). Good enough to score an 800 on the SAT Math section. (That's the highest possible score, for those of you unfamiliar with the test.)
I can guarantee that your "gifted (in math)" child will never score an 800 on the SAT Math, unless she becomes proficient in arithmatic.
Our society needs to get away from awarding imaginary attributes to children, and start educating them again.
I have known a lot of people who are very good at math, and every one was also very good at arithmetic, and had been since an early age.
Also, if you really have "gifted" kids, they should read a few hundred books before they finish high school. SAT Verbal reasoning skills have declined even more than SAT Math skills in the last 35 years, and those are developed mostly by extensive reading of well edited material.
Testing shows that difference. Whatever dealing there is lies beyond the purpose of tests. What to do about 'high blood pressure' is not the purpose of the test.
Yes, children may have it hard if their parents [parent] are not learning role models or have split up. I doubt tests or educators can be of much help. I don't think it would be socially acceptable to put them in different schools for different education. Sort of separate but unequal.
Because they're dumbed down. A 85% is now an A in some schools. Used to be a B- or C+.
The purpose of testing is flatly stated as being to identify and deal with "failing" schools, and to reward "good" schools.
Which conveniently ignores the fact that the test-fodder (i.e., kids) have different achievement levels for reasons other than what the schools are providing.
Yes but who am I gonna sue?
Exactly. My point is... if she naturally catches on to math easily (but has not been doing math for three years because her book and teacher require that a calculator be required for every step) then what about the kids who struggle in math? Reform math is putting them at an enormous disadvantage.
Bookcase. My bad.
That's a little better. Actually I have three bookcases full of what I should have read in school if the school knew what to read, but the school didn't demand it. I am actually working my way through it now that I am retired and have time. All that reading doesn't actually mean much except that when someone says Marcel and Albertine I have some idea what is going on.
If she were my child, I would be drilling her on standard arithmetic algorithms, until she had it all down cold. It would be helpful to come up with some sort of incentive for good performance.
The thing that school teachers don't understand is that people who work with math, professionally (i.e. engineers, actuaries, accountants, scientists), do many calculations in their heads. You don't always have a calculator handy.
It has been many years since I took the SAT, but calculators were not allowed when I took it, and I doubt if they are allowed now. Besides there are many problems that will simply take too long to solve, if it all has to be punched into a calculator.