As we listen to the phony info about NAEP scores put out by those who support Del Marsh’s politically-motivated attempt to repeal the Alabama College & Career Ready standards, we have to wonder SO WHAT?
Like in SO WHAT do standards have to do with how a state scores on the tests known as National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?
Fortunately, several reporters have asked the same question and come up with some good answers. One is Bryan Lyman with the Montgomery Advertiser. Go here to see his entire article. Trish Crain with AL.com also weighed in. Here is her piece
Let’s look at excerpts from Bryan’s article.
“Supporters of the Common Core repeal moving through the Alabama Legislature cite the state’s poor performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) as a reason for doing away with the standards, with an implication that the Common Core is responsible.
Education experts say: Not so fast.
“I’m not a Common Core advocate or opponent,” said Tom Loveless, a retired educator and education policy analyst who analyzed NAEP scores following implementation of Common Core at the start of the decade. “All the evidence I have, even though it’s not conclusive, it pretty strongly suggests Common Core does not make any difference.”
While the effects of Common Core generally are still under study, most experts who have studied the issue agree with Loveless’ assessment. In short, they argue, even if Common Core is having an effect, it’s likely one of many factors and not the sole one. Alabama’s NAEP results were already below national averages before the state implemented Common Core eight or nine years ago, and experts note NAEP scores nationwide have stagnated in the last decade, in states that adopted Common Core and in states that didn’t.
Common Core has long been a target of conservatives who associated it with the Obama administration. The federal government did not develop the standards for Common Core, though it encouraged their implementation in the Race to the Top program in 2009 and 2010.
The impact of the standards on student performance is uncertain. A 2017 survey of studies on Common Core’s effect found several difficulties in determining the impact of standards against the impact of other factors, such as existing budgets; state and local school policies and how quickly states implemented standards. Michael Hansen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said in a phone interview that there were no “strong, convincing” studies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) until it had been in place for 10 years.
“Where we are now, we are four, five years removed from Common Core implementation,” he said. “We’ve had (only) two, maybe three iterations of NAEP in this period.”
Texas, which never implemented Common Core, saw its math scores for eighth-graders fall from 288 to 282 from 2013 to 2017. Its eighth-grade reading scores also fell that year, from 264 to 260.
Experts caution that NAEP on its own will not prove or disprove the value of education policy. Matthew Di Carlo, a research fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute in Washington, D.C., said NAEP scores are valuable in showing the performance of students between states, but added that “there are many, many options for policy changes that might improve those scores or other types of student performance.”
NAEP scores are changing over time, or how high or low they are, that happens for any number of reasons, both school-related and non-school related,” he said. “It’s extraordinarily difficult to pin down whether NAEP scores did improve or didn’t improve because of a specific policy or small set of policies.”
In Alabama, where the state provides most of the money for public education, cuts after 2009 were significant. From a budgeted amount of $6.2 billion in 2007, the state’s Education Trust Fund budget fell to $5.2 billion in 2010. The budget did not return to its 2007 levels until 2017.”
And once again we see facts vs. political rhetoric. Which do you believe?