Tag Archives: NAEP

Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

U.S. Students from Educated Families Lag in International Tests

So I lifted the title of this post from the very nice piece over at Education Next. Recommended reading if you have a few minutes. If you have a few more minutes, you might want to go through the longer, … Continue reading

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Vergara: How bad is California?

The Vergara decision is a smack in the chops to how California does public education. Is education in California really all that bad? Yes. It’s not fair to call California’s K-12 system a total failure, but California certainly way under … Continue reading

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Literacy challenges

This week we’ll stray a little from straight education economics and discuss some of the findings in the most recent issue of The Future of Children, Literacy Challenges for the Twenty-First Century.” There’s so much great, and accessible, material here … Continue reading

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  1. Alexi says:

    My specious spuealction is this stall has all the hallmarks of the thesis of Cultural Literacy . That thesis was that the US does a great job of teaching the mechanics of reading (what a 4th grade test would mostly measure) but a poor job teaching the underlying cultural meaning of words that is necessary to decode more complicated passages that might contain previously unknown words or ideas. Part of the thesis is that this results from reading pablum rather than content in the early grades. I see this all the time in my college students. They have a superficial understanding of most words, particularly those that might have been encountered if they had been reading something with more content than My Little Goat or whatever they read in K-5 these days. Their strongest reading skill appears to be skimming over detail to seek well, they don’t know what key word they are looking for because my class content doesn’t fit into the one of the specific types of standardized tests they were trained to barely pass. So they simply skim, which means they have a lot of trouble simply reading a problem literally, paying attention to every word. Paying attention to adjectives and modifying prepositional phrases is a particular weakness. And since they are definitely above the average HS graduate, one assumes that a typical 8th grader sees only nouns and verbs and misses the higher-order content a test like NAEP presumably examines.

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Strong unions and education

Lots of reformers “know” that teacher unions are the obstacle to fixing our educational woes. Facts please? Here’s a picture of the relation between teacher union strength in a state and educational outcomes as measured by 8th grade math test … Continue reading

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Math homework

Look at this picture of 8th grade math scores according to the amount of daily homework. Note that students in the first column are running roughly two years behind students in the second column. Now I have no idea what’s … Continue reading

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Petrilli’s pondery

Mike Petrilli makes a point and raises a question about progress in teaching math in Education Next and Fordham’s Flypaper.  One of the great mysteries of modern-day school reform is why we’re seeing such strong progress (in math at least, … Continue reading

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2 Responses to Petrilli’s pondery

  1. Dick Startz says:

    Fair points. But applying ocular statistics to Petrilli’s graph it looks like the drop has been equal at higher percentiles. Maybe even greater. Without having thought through your math, wouldn’t that suggest a pretty minimal effect?

  2. Jesse Rothstein says:

    I don’t think we can dismiss the selection story so quickly. You have assumed that there is a perfect correlation between test scores and latent graduation propensities. But that can’t be right — my guess is that the correlation is relatively weak. That would mean that the effect of the changing selection would be spread throughout the distribution, not just at the very bottom. Combine that with a hypothesized rightward shift in the latent, unselected distribution and it seems to me that Petrilli’s figure could well be consistent with a selection story.

    I’m too lazy to take the idea to data, but it seems to me there are two ways to do it. First, you could assume that the latent 12th grade distribution shifted rightward by the same amount as was observed for the 8th grade distribution, and ask whether any feasible correlation between selection and test scores could generate the observed selected data in Petrilli’s figure. Second, you could use the NELS to estimate the correlation between test scores and continuation probabilities, then apply those to the changing selection seen in your second graph to estimate the trend in the unselected distribution.

    I don’t have any idea what either would show. My hunch is that selection will account for a meaningful portion, though not all, of the slowdown between 8th and 12th grades.

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Happy New Year

It’s sort of natural for those advocating for school reform to focus on things that are wrong–wrong things being the ones we all want changed. Negativity is a bummer of a way to start out the new year. So I … Continue reading

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