NAEP science: Scores rise across country and in Georgia. But few kids are at top level.

NAEP — known as the Nation’s Report Card – released its 2011 science assessment for grade 8 this morning. I had a preview of the scores yesterday in a conference call. In January and March, 122,000 8th graders from all 50 states and Washington, DC, took the science NAEP.

(The administration of this test has been changed to align with the TIMSS, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, to facilitate international comparisons.)

On a sale of 0 to 300, the average 2011 scale was 152. In 2009, the average was 150. The students were tested in the areas of physical, earth/space and life sciences. The average score for students in Georgia in 2011 (151) was higher than their average score in 2009 (147).

NAEP has three levels, basic, proficient or advanced. (The cuts score for basic was 141, for proficient 170 and for advanced 215.)

Only 2 percent of 8th graders scored at the advanced level and seven out of 10 tested below proficient, adding to the chronic concern that the United States is still trailing in the race for a future where science and technology skills will be paramount.

“Science test scores are slightly up, and the achievement gap is narrowing, and that’s good news. Today’s results offer encouraging signs that our nation’s eight graders are improving in science education.And for the first time, all 50 states participated in the science assessment with no states showing a decline in science scores,” said US Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement.

“While the reasons for the improvement aren’t stated in the report, it’s clear that we should continue the administration’s mission for every child to have access to high-quality, rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.There is much work ahead if our kids are going to be competitive in the global economy. While the percentage of students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels in science were higher in 2011 than in 2009, when the last assessment was done, there was no significant change in the percentage of students at the Advanced level. This tells me that we need to work harder and faster to build capacity in schools and in districts across the country. We have to do things differently, that’s why education reform is so critical,” he said.

In 2011, the score for eighth-graders overall rose from 150 to 152. Scores also rose for students at the 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. At the 90th percentile, however, there was no significant increase

The 2011 scores reflect improved performance overall except among the students scoring at the highest levels. Those performing at or above basic rose from 63 percent to 65. Those performing at or above proficient rose from 30 to 32 percent. However, those performing at the advanced level remained at 2 percent.

While the achievement gap is narrowing, whites still outperformed other groups. White students scored on average 163; Asian students scored 161; Hispanic students scored 137; Black students scored 129.

The white/black score gap fell from 36 to 35 points. Scores increased since 2009 for both groups, but the increase for black students was large enough to narrow the gap. The white/Hispanic score gap also narrowed since 2009, dropping from 30 to 27 points. Again, the 5-point score increase for Hispanic students was large enough to narrow the gap despite an
increase in the average score for white students. There was no significant change in scores for Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native students.

There continues to be a gender gap with with male students outscoring females by 5 points. The average score for male eighth-graders in 2011 was 154 points, 5 points higher than the average score for female eighth-graders. This represents an increase for both groups given that in 2009 the average score for male students was 152, and 148 for female students.

There is also a persistent socioeconomic gap with students who receive free and reduced lunch scoring lower (133) than their peers who do not receive free/reduced lunch (161).

In looking at correlations, students who reported hands-on science activities in school and out of school had higher scores.

According to Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics: When NAEP assessments are administered, we ask the teachers of the students being assessed to fill out questionnaires that provide information on classroom practices. Among other things, we asked teachers about the frequency with which they have students perform hands-on projects in class. The more often students performed hands-on projects, the higher the average NAEP score. Two percent of students had teachers who said they never or hardly ever had students perform hands-on tasks, and these students had the lowest average score. Twenty-five percent had teachers who said they had students perform hands-on tasks once or twice a month, and 56 percent had teachers who said they had students perform hands-on tasks once or twice a week. Sixteen percent had teachers who said they had students perform hands-on tasks every day or almost every day.

Here are the Georgia stats from the NAEP report:

•In 2011, the average score of eighth-grade students in Georgia was 151.

•The average score for students in Georgia in 2011 (151) was higher than their average score in 2009 (147).

•In 2011, the score gap between students in Georgia at the 75th percentile and students at the 25th percentile was 47 points. This performance gap was not significantly different from that of 2009 (48 points).

• The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 30 percent in 2011. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2009 (27 percent).

• The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 63 percent in 2011. This percentage was greater than that in 2009 (58 percent.)

•In 2011, Black students had an average score that was 33 points lower than White students. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2009 (32 points).

•In 2011, Hispanic students had an average score that was 23 points lower than White students. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2009 (24 points).

•In 2011, male students in Georgia had an average score that was not significantly different from female students.

•In 2011, students who were eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch, an indicator of low family income, had an average score that was 28 points lower than students who were not eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2009 (28 points).

“This is an extremely encouraging report of our students’ progress in science education,” said state school Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “As we move away from No Child Left Behind and begin using the College and Career Ready Performance Index, I am confident we will continue to see science results increase, because science will have the same focus and accountability as every other content area. No matter what subgroup of students you look at, these results show us that more of our students are getting the science knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of the many science-related jobs in the labor market.”

“We know that economic development in the 21st century will be driven by advances in the critical STEM fields,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “These promising gains made by Georgia students demonstrate that we are on the right track towards ensuring that all students will be college and work ready.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

46 comments Add your comment

Ernest

May 10th, 2012
10:26 am

Maureen, do you have a link to this report? I’m curious how we compare to other states with respect to the FRL program and overall scores, to see if there are any correlations.

Maureen Downey

May 10th, 2012
10:28 am

teacher&mom

May 10th, 2012
10:30 am

I try to implement many hands-on activities in my science classes. However, I am also funding more and more of these activities out of my own pocket.

This year I had to eliminate a few activities because I could not afford to buy the materials.

I’ve taught science in this State for over 18 years (rural districts). I’ve never had sufficient materials or supplies. Georgia talks a good talk about science, but fails to make sure funds are available at the classroom level.

drew (former teacher)

May 10th, 2012
10:53 am

I’m surprised the Georgia scores aren’t worse. The last couple of years I taught middle school, science and social studies both took a hit in terms of classroom time. Of course it was all about test scores. From a testing standpoint, math and reading were deemed more important than other classes. In order to boost math and LA/reading scores, extra classroom time was added to math and and reading classes, while the same amount of time was taken from science and social studies classes…math and LA/reading classes met everyday, while science and social studies classes only met three times per week.

And while I wholeheartedly agree with the benefits of hands-on activities, it’s hard to find time for them when class time is being cut. And regardless of class time, I knew science teachers who wouldn’t do hands-on activities and/or labs because of safety issues related to chronic discipline problems. They were simply afraid that someone might get injured, leading others to be sued/fired, etc.. To use JT’s mantra: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.”

mathmom

May 10th, 2012
11:01 am

What a shame that the top kids have not progressed. My belief is that because of the ramifications of NCLB, the needs of those top kids are too often ignored while teachers concentrate on the lower level students’ difficulties. As bright as they are, top kids need a lot of guidance, but when teachers’ jobs (and administrators’ jobs, too) depend on “proficiency,” whatever that is, that is where a lot of funding, time, and energy will be spent.

Parent Teacher

May 10th, 2012
12:19 pm

No statistical gain. 2 points is meaningless. Says it over and over again. As drew (former teacher) says, you can’t improve by cutting and shifting class time from science if you want to improve science.

Old Physics Teacher

May 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

mathmom,

Amen,

Where society places their importance, there is where we spend money. NCLB (No Child Gets Ahead) demands that we bring up the bottom to “average,” whatever that is defined as today (tomorrow? ehh… we’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow)) “Who cares about the top kids – they’ll learn on their own!” How many times have you guys heard that?

We’re all preaching to the choir. Until the legislators are spanked, removed from their power elite status, and sent to the corner to wear a dunce cap, nothing will change. We’ll redefine “average” to be the lowest score, and the top kids … well… who cares about the top kids except the parents (who move them to private schools) and the teachers (who will soon start retiring)? I weep for public schools.

catlady

May 10th, 2012
12:25 pm

Now, if the scores rose 70 points, on average, in Georgia, I HOPE we would wonder and investigate how it happened…

Jerry Eads

May 10th, 2012
1:19 pm

I know this will fall on blind eyes, but for the record:

(1) The NAEP “levels” have been discredited as unrealistic many times by individuals quite qualified to make such judgments. Saying that 2/3 of the nation’s 8th graders are incompetent is just silly. They may well be incompetent as nuclear physicists. And your point is?

(2) There is no evidence that a state’s kids actually had an opportunity to LEARN the content that’s on the NAEP tests – we do not know whether a state’s “standards” expose kids to that particular content.

We love to assume that any old test is just as simple as a ruler or bathroom scale. Johnny grew a quarter of an inch last month. You gained 2 pounds last week. Developing tests that actually have any relationship to what’s taught in any particular classroom is a VERY tall order and MUCH harder than bulding a ruler or a bathroom scale or, for that matter, using one.

I’m unaware of any analysis that indicates the relationship between state “standards” and NAEP test content. There is not a national curriculum, although that’s what NAEP represents. One is coming – it’s called the Common Core. IF that “reform” actually comes to fruition and IF we’re able to support teachers in shifting away from being forced to teach the simplistic factoid recognition presently required and toward the thinking and reasoning supposedly demanded by the Common Core, and IF NAEP chooses to actually test that content rather than whatever its developers decide is important, THEN perhaps the data from NAEP will be worth pondering. Until then, it’s really just more irrelevant white noise distracting us from actually teaching kids better.

Oh – I should probably note that NAEP is likely one of the most carefully constructed tests in the world, whether or not it measures anything meaningful. IF it measures something meaningful and does so accurately, then a 2-point shift in the performance of the state’s 8th graders (126,512 of them as of 3/1/12) is in fact enormously significant from a statistical perspective. Whether it’s useful or meaningful are different questions.

Richard

May 10th, 2012
1:22 pm

Don’t forget that statistics can say anything the interpreter wants them to say. So I have my own interpretation of these stats:

Fist, the idea that an 8th grader can learn physical sciences is insane since there are mathematical concepts at work that an 8th grader most likely hasn’t been exposed to at that time (calculus & trig). Science in the 8th grade is practically a reading course with a science textbook. A test in science at that level is no different than a history test (just a bunch of facts than can come from a flash card).

Which means that if scores are going up, either the questions are getting easier, the students spend more time memorizing, or there’s an actual improvement in reading abilities. All three possibilities, avoid the purpose of education which should be to increase intellectual capabilities of the student body.

Attentive Parent

May 10th, 2012
1:47 pm

Jerry-the most recent announced plans are for NAEP to be replaced by PISA according to my notes as part of the Common Core.

NAEP is not the kind of assessment of facts you are implying either. It is, first and foremost, Ralph Tyler’s tool for tracking what is going on in classrooms.

Funny how the NAEP science release is timed for the release of those new Common Core science standards.

Create controversy. Offer Solution that is actually a more extreme version of the policies and practices that created problem in first place. Pick Nifty Name or mount a PR campaign for Solution. Hope no one actually reads the fine print before the implementation can be put in place.

Which is why reason I now refer to it as the Common Core Deception.

Attentive Parent

May 10th, 2012
1:49 pm

Which is one reason why.

Never type with a cat seeking affection nearby.

Mary Elizabeth

May 10th, 2012
2:06 pm

“The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 63 percent in 2011. This percentage was greater than that in 2009 (58 percent).”
—————————————————————————–

It is good that more students scored at or above the NAEP Basic Level than in 2009 (by 5 percentage points). However, that also means that 37% of students scored below Basic Level in 2011 on the NAEP. From my past experiences as a schoolwide Reading Specialist, I would think that these students will be the same students who will most likely drop out of school. When I taught summer school to all countywide students who had failed end-of-curriculum courses for their high school diplomas, I noticed that those students who had scored lowest on the science end-of-year tests had, also, scored lowest on the Nelson Reading Tests, which we had administered in-house.

I believe the 2011 NAEP scores, especially of those students who scored below Basic Level, may indicate that those students have poor reading skills, as much as poor science skills. I would urge teachers, and administrators, to pinpoint and to address each student’s reading level who scored below the Basic Level on the NAEP.

Ernest

May 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

I like the context sensitive graph provided with the chart. An interesting observation is that MS is the only state where the percentage of whites is lower than the percentage of blacks. Also, GA has the highest score of all the states that border it.

I say this only as an observation but given the delta in our white/black percentage (7) and factoring in the performance gap in white/black students, our scores are pretty good when compared to other states. I’d be interested in seeing how the test questions map to our standards, as that could shed insight also.

Maureen Downey

May 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

@To all, Here are the comments from state school chief and governor on NAEP results:
“This is an extremely encouraging report of our students’ progress in science education,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “As we move away from No Child Left Behind and begin using the College and Career Ready Performance Index, I am confident we will continue to see science results increase, because science will have the same focus and accountability as every other content area. No matter what subgroup of students you look at, these results show us that more of our students are getting the science knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of the many science-related jobs in the labor market.”

“We know that economic development in the 21st century will be driven by advances in the critical STEM fields,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “These promising gains made by Georgia students demonstrate that we are on the right track towards ensuring that all students will be college and work ready.”

Pluto

May 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

I wonder how cutting teachers loose and piling students in class rooms like cordwood will affect near term and beyond performances. I teach chem and physics and I will be performing more demos because firing up the bunsens with unmanageable class sizes is a recipe for getting fired. I used to be a big proponent for hands on instruction but now I will minimize it.

Jerry Eads

May 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

Sorry, parent, didn’t mean to imply that NAEP is only factoid recognition (not recall – that would be short answer, not multiple choice). “Standards” in many states are mostly and are mostly represented on minimum competency tests as factoid recognition. As was argued above, current 8th grade science curriculum may not be what the college-educated would think of as science – with understanding of method, inference and so forth. IF NAEP indeed manages to measure cognitive processing skills (use your favorite placeholder here – terms such as thinking, problem solving, reasoning) then it may NOT represent what most 8th grade students are exposed to. If they haven’t had a chance to learn what’s on NAEP, don’t blame the kids or teachers. Blame those who require the testing of minimalist standards – the de facto curriculum. We’ve been doing this to ourselves for almost 40 years; I for one dearly hope the Common Core effort drags us (if kicking and screaming) out of the minimum competency barrel and beyond the “high expectations” represented by 6th percentile cut scores.

Mary Elizabeth: Precisely. To the extent that a science test requires a certain level of reading skill, it’s a reading test, not a science test.

Ron F.

May 10th, 2012
3:02 pm

“Developing tests that actually have any relationship to what’s taught in any particular classroom is a VERY tall order and MUCH harder than bulding a ruler or a bathroom scale or, for that matter, using one”

AMEN! I also think it’s nearly impossible to test an entire year’s worth of standards in any given test. You might have a few questions per standard, and how is that fair? I’ve found far too many discrepancies and questions pertaining to material/skills we hadn’t even taught that year.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

May 10th, 2012
4:12 pm

We Georgians are lucky that in John Barge we no longer have a chair-warming SSOS. We should expect great academic strides from our kids under the superintendency of a person with the wit, passion and energy to lead our teachers and students to deliver them.

Mary Elizabeth

May 10th, 2012
4:38 pm

Jerry Eads, 2:52 pm

“Mary Elizabeth: Precisely. To the extent that a science test requires a certain level of reading skill, it’s a reading test, not a science test.”
=====================================

Thanks for highlighting my 2:06 pm comments, Jerry. If educators, from the lower teacher to the highest official in the DOE, want to reduce student drop out rates and increase standardized test scores throughout Georgia, they will find a way to pinpoint each student’s reading level, grades 1 – 12, and address those varied reading needs for every student within all the content areas. Increasing reading skills, increases competency in every curriculum area, including mathematics, as well as test scores. Moreover, increasing reading ability builds self-confidence because the student is empowered as a result, and he or she knows it.

Ron F.

May 10th, 2012
5:00 pm

Mary Elizabeth: I see progress in raising awareness of children’s reading levels with Common Core. The fact that all disciplines will have literacy standards will, hopefully, bring teachers together to discuss kids’ abilities and ask questions. If that goes like I hope it will, we’ll start looking at and really using the information years of testing provides and try to find ways to help these kids. I don’t know how many people really understand the fact that many of our kids who are passing mandated tests really aren’t reading “on grade level” and many are two years or so behind. It’s time to finally see reading instruction as a K-12 process.

Ron F.

May 10th, 2012
5:02 pm

Dr. Spinks: so far, I agree with you that Barge is a much better, definitely more reliable super than any we’ve had in a long, long time. I’m not sure how he managed to get the job, since the sensible and truly committed to children’s success rarely do. I just hope the politics of education doesn’t cause him too much trouble…or that he can handle it when it does.

momtofour

May 10th, 2012
5:10 pm

But there are glimmers of hope for our students. Our small Catholic school in Kennesaw has 450 students, of which 150 are middle school, and has two robotics teams and two Science Olympiad teams. Our robotics team won first place in the State competition and just last week won first.place in the World competition. This competition included teams from 16 countries. Our Science Olympiad team won 3rd in this year’s regional and an opportunity to go to the State competition. Our 7th graders are required to participate in science fair. This year we sent 7 students to the county science fair, with 6 winning 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in various fields. Two students went on to the Georgia State Science Fair, winning 1st and 3rd in their events.

My point is not just to brag, although we are extremely proud of these kids, but to highlight what can be done when parents and teachers work together, and when parents encourage their kids to participate in science programs. We have approximately 50 students participating in either robotics or Science Olympiad, which is 33% of our middle school population. We have teachers and parent volunteers coaching the teams, working together several times a week to prepare the students for competition. Just imagine what would happen if every school had this level of teamwork.

Attentive Parent

May 10th, 2012
5:54 pm

Ron-if you remember the powers that be did everything they could to get Brad Bryant there instead.

John really does want to do right by Georgia’s schoolchildren which is a welcome relief from past supers.

I am not a fan of the Index or the Waiver. John is so busy he has to rely on the accuracy of what others tell him. Neither that Index or the Waiver operate in the manner Governor Deal or John have been led to believe. I have been in several meetings in the last several weeks where I thought my poor arm would fall off as I wrote down quotes on how these criteria are supposed to work vs what the language in the belly of those documents actually says. Sometimes I feel like the only person reading the fine print.

Of course the Attentive Parent Glossary of Terms helps.

Glory Oljace

May 10th, 2012
5:55 pm

The most significant success that can be gleamed from the exam data is that leaders from all fields are talking about the importance of STEM education! As a 21-year veteran of Minneapolis Public Schools, I’ve seen the destructive effect that NCLB has had on students. I’ve also felt the frustration of teaching reading and math to the exclusion of science, social studies, and everything else. Thankfully, experts from all fields recognize the need for STEM programming. Thanks for keeping STEM front and center!

carlosgvv

May 10th, 2012
6:30 pm

“whites still outperformed other groups”

This after 50+ years of one social experiment after another in an attempt to bring minority student scores to the white level . Cheating hasn’t worked either so it’s back to still more social experiments.

No social experiments of any kind will achieve what cannot be achieved.

Anonmom

May 10th, 2012
7:38 pm

So still I worry that no one is paying much attention to where our “top” doctors are going to come from ten-fifteen years from now…..

Tony

May 10th, 2012
7:41 pm

The fact that Georgia’s students gained in science comes even as the state has refused to provide for its students the resources that make science education meaningful. It is shameful that teachers have to purchase materials out of their own pockets just so kids can do hands-on science activities. The politicians remarks about their emphasis on the importance of STEM education sickens me because they lack the fortitude to actually fund our school budgets adequately.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

May 10th, 2012
8:12 pm

Ron F.,

John’s going to need us folks who care about our kids to “have his back.”

Really amazed

May 10th, 2012
11:03 pm

Sure they did, just like ALL of them meet or exceed the CRCT. Creative numbers game. I wonder what the cut scores were this year. Did they lower them from last and even if they did, would the DOE admit it.

abacus2

May 10th, 2012
11:05 pm

Teaching science using hands-on activities is essential, however it is expensive and time consuming. I too have had to drop many activities because of funding and my loss of income due to furlough days and insurance increases; I simply can no longer afford the $700+ i was spending each year. I have to come in early and stay late to set up labs and clean equipment afterwards. Science teachers don’t get extra prep time. Is it any wonder that there is a shortage of science teachers? Ig Georgia won’t exceed in science until they stop expecting us to work miracles with no support. BTW – I left a science occupation in the “real world” to teach. And yes, you CAN teach physical science to 8th graders. Expect them to learn, support their efforts, and they will learn. Stop lowering the d**ned bar!

abacus2

May 10th, 2012
11:12 pm

Cats DO affect typing ability. Capitalize that I and omit the Ig (Nikki’s contribution). New glasses would probably help, too.

Louis Brandeis

May 10th, 2012
11:44 pm

And today the henchmen at the DOE/SBOE finished the job Fulton County Schools started and close down a Blue Ribbon school with a math and science focus. Fulton Science Academy will close within weeks. Can you hear the other state’s laughing? This ranks right up there with our former state superintendent using state funds for cosmetic surgery. At least she didn’t harm children. We will one day look back at this debacle by the DOE/SBOE like the Monkey-Scopes trial and wonder just how were we so shallow in our thinking.

Digger

May 11th, 2012
12:18 am

How else is everyone going to pass unless the bar is really low? Plus,be careful what you wish for. Do we really want everyone learning, say, genetics? Add a dose of genetics to common sense, and some very politically incorrect conclusions can be reached.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

May 11th, 2012
2:51 am

(A)bacus2,

I, too, have cats who exhibit an interest in keyboarding.

One shows an interest in computer repair as well.

ScienceTeacher671

May 11th, 2012
6:22 am

When they’re giving me up to 35 students in a science class, with no budget for lab supplies, I can’t believe the state is really serious about science education.

And they aren’t going to do well in science when they are 3-4 years below grade level in reading and math.

Mary Elizabeth

May 11th, 2012
7:46 am

Ron F, 5:00 pm

“I don’t know how many people really understand the fact that many of our kids who are passing mandated tests really aren’t reading “on grade level” and many are two years or so behind. It’s time to finally see reading instruction as a K-12 process.”
===================================

Ron, I am glad to know that the Common Core Standards have given an emphasis toward developing reading skills. Your post was very well said. The timing could not be better for teachers to use the diagnostic results of standardized and other testing to charter their individual students reading levels and, then, use “reading-in-the-content-area techniques to enhance their students’ reading abilities while they are in the process of teaching their curriculum area content. “Killing two birds with one stone,” in other words. For students who are in need of one-on-one tutorial help in addressing their low reading skills, I am hopeful that schools will build strong parent and adult volunteer programs, with some tutors coming from local churches and businesses.

All educators should realize that, as I was taught by my reading professor, when I earned my M.Ed. degree in 1973, students will always present teachers with a wide range of reading scores because students will learn at different rates and the higher the grade level, the wider the range of those reading scores will be, as a result. The best teachers can do is to be aware that this wide range will invariably occur, not to expect every student to reach the same standard goal at the same point in time because that is an unrealistic goal and will only lead to frustration and possible student drop outs, and to continue to try to narrow the range of reading scores within their individual classes.

Mary Elizabeth

May 11th, 2012
7:51 am

CORRECTION: A sentence in my post, above, should have read “. . . to chart their students’ reading levels, not ” to charter their students reading levels. . . “

Mary Elizabeth

May 11th, 2012
7:57 am

carlosgovv, 6:30 pm

“This after 50+ years of one social experiment after another in an attempt to bring minority student scores to the white level . Cheating hasn’t worked either so it’s back to still more social experiments.

No social experiments of any kind will achieve what cannot be achieved.”
=========================================

These remarks are not only biased and pessimistic, they are untrue. I spent the last 16 years, of my 30 year teaching career, as a schoolwide Reading Specialist and Reading Department Chair in a major all-black high school in DeKalb County, from 1984 – 2000.

NBCT

May 11th, 2012
8:48 am

The DOE should bring back the Science Mentor program. That was one of the most beneficial and successful programs that they had.

Jerry Eads

May 11th, 2012
1:42 pm

Too many good thoughts to comment on all. Yes, John is an infinite improvement over the last two.

As a not so brief chide :-) , remember that “on grade level” was hijacked by testing many decades ago, and by definition, the middle score of all the kids of a grade at a particular month, is “on grade level.” BY DEFINITION, HALF the kids are BELOW grade level. ‘Tis where the tongue in cheek “all the kids are above average” on PHC comes from.

We never face the reality that the grade level emperor truly has no clothes. What IS acceptable “at grade” performance? Only the 50th %ile? 40th? Not long ago (they may have changed it since) the passing score of one of the reading tests was about the 6th %ile. Do you think 94% of the kids are “above grade level”? What do we DO with that information? Simply retain the kids who “fail” for another year so we ensure they drop out (that’s what the research shows that we do)? And on and on.

M.E. & Ron, sounds like we’d have fun sitting ’round a table and arguing with one another :-) .

teacher&mom

May 11th, 2012
4:06 pm

The Next Generation Science standards were released today. Anyone look over them? I scrolled through the high school standards and I am not impressed. Anyone else care to share their thoughts on the new standards?

Mary Elizabeth

May 11th, 2012
5:04 pm

Jerry Eads, 1:42 pm

When I earned my degree as a Reading Specialist, I was taught that any student who can read no less than two grade levels below his actual grade in school, can function in reading within the courses for his actual grade level. If, however, he functions more than two grade levels below his actual grade level in school in his reading skills, then he will probably not be able to function within his grade level curriculum courses, such as in his science courses because his reading skills will be too weak to handle reading with the grade level textbooks. (This means that a student who is reading on 7th grade level, or above, in the 9th grade should be able to perform adequately within his 9th grade courses, but that a student who is reading on 6th grade level or below in the 9th grade, will usually not be able to perform adequately within those same 9th grade courses.)

For more detail about this, see the link below to my blog:

http://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/about-education-essay-5-assessing-teachers-and-students/

Not taught in elementary

May 12th, 2012
9:05 am

My childaren go to school in Newton County. When they were in elementary, science and social studies were not taught. The principal told me that the only subject that are taught were subjects pertaining to passing the CRCT. As a result, test scores have been low in these areas. Science and Social Studies are just like reading and math, they should be taught from the beginning.

Former Middle School Teacher

May 12th, 2012
11:36 pm

We don’t need no dad blame science in the South. It it ain’t in the good book then it ain’t real. Ya’ll need to go to that creation museum in Kentucky, that is real science.

Anonmom

May 13th, 2012
11:11 pm

we could bail on “On Grade Level” assessments altogether — just test to see where the kid is ala an IOWA or a Stanford and then look to see how much further ahead the kids has moved along at the end of the year. Every so often, give the NAEP and we could have an outside “check” to see how we’re doing. Remove the incentive to constantly “game” the statistics and go back to just taking the kid where the kid is at and getting the kid to a better place –