Yesterday, results from the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released showing disappointing but not altogether unexpected results in states across the nation.
ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque weighed in, saying, “It is our experience that when standards and expectations are raised, there is a lag time before students and schools adapt. But the ultimate result is that student achievement improves.”
The 2015 NAEP results also revealed that some states, like Mississippi, are making strong improvements in student learning.
“This is an outstanding achievement for Mississippi. The credit truly goes to the students and to the hardworking teachers and caring families who support them — they understand that learning to read by third grade is critically important,” said Mississippi Governor Bryant. “The state has placed a special emphasis on literacy to ensure that children across the state have the opportunity to succeed. The NAEP results show the positive effect of that work and make a strong case for state-led reform efforts like those included in the ‘Education Works’ agenda.”
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves also commented.“Mississippi’s students and teachers have worked incredibly hard, and I am thrilled to see their efforts pay off. By increasing investment in the classroom, teachers have received better-quality professional development, children are getting the help they need to improve literacy, and schools are responding to increased accountability for student learning.”
The past two years have brought unprecedented changes across state education systems. More rigorous standards, new state assessments and a mix of other reforms, including K-3 reading programs, have required schools to adopt new curricula and new teaching strategies focused on in-depth knowledge and critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, states have modified their accountability systems and overhauled their teacher evaluation systems. These efforts, designed to ensure all students are prepared for college or a career after graduation, take time to implement.
It is important to remember that NAEP is about long-term trends. States with a track record of systematically transforming education through a command focus on early literacy, raising expectations for students and teachers and holding schools accountable for student learning have seen improvements over time on the Nation’s Report Card.
“Florida has taken bold steps over the past 15 years to advance academic achievement and that has been reflected by a steady rise in student achievement on NAEP over this period,”Levesque further remarked. “I firmly believe that with a continued commitment to these reforms, the upward trajectory will resume in the future, better preparing our children for success in college, a career or military service.’’
The NAEP results have revealed several bright spots of student achievement:
- Benefiting from packages of powerful reforms, Louisiana and Mississippi’s students made strong improvements in fourth-grade reading and math.
- Arizona is a state gaining on the nation, surpassing the national average in eighth-grade math for the first time and making improvements in eighth-grade reading and math and fourth-grade reading.
- A number of states that have emphasized K-3 reading — including Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and Washington — have experienced a notable increase in fourth-grade reading scores.
- Although Florida’s overall math and reading scores were not statistically different in 2015, the state continues to lead the nation in fourth-grade reading outcomes for traditionally underserved students.
- Florida’s Hispanic fourth-grade readers outperform their peers in every state and score as well or better than the average student in 31 states and D.C., and only three states have a smaller white-Hispanic achievement gap.
- Florida — along with Massachusetts — leads the nation with the highest fourth-grade reading performance of economically disadvantaged students.
- D.C. and West Virginia also saw notable improvements in fourth-grade math and eighth-grade reading, respectively.
Stay tuned for more on this subject as we continue to unpack the 2015 Nation’s Report Card.