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James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable, regularly sends out news bulletins about education. His group might be thought of as the antithesis of the Broad Academy; they are educators with experience, not tyros looking to move up quickly with minimal experience. Harvey has wisely inveighed against the common perception of NAEP’s proficiency level, which advocates of the Common Core and the CC-aligned tests (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) treated as if it were “grade level.” It is not.
Harvey writes here about the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is often called “the nation’s report card.”
|Here’s a good summary of what ails NAEP and how its results are reported|
|What’s the actual lesson to be learned from NAEP scores?According to Forbes contributor Peter Green (r), nothing much.
Green argues that despite the hope among many that NAEP data would help us to evaluate the effectiveness of different education policies, “In education, it’s fruitless to imagine that data will settle our issues.” He points out also that, “The three NAEP levels (basic, proficient, and advanced) do not necessarily mean what folks think they mean . . . NAEP’s ‘proficient’ is set considerably higher than grade level,” as noted on the NAEP site.
The Roundtable has taken strong exception to NAEP’s definition of proficiency. The Roundtable’s 2018 report, “How High the Bar?” concluded that not even 40% of fourth-graders in Finland and Singapore (nations typically thought to be world-class in terms of student achievement) can be deemed proficient in reading by the NAEP standard. The fact that uninformed policymakers and advocates conflate “proficiency” with grade-level performance is one of the absurdities of the current national conversation about schools.