DOE: Georgia only state to show gains on SAT, ACT, AP and NAEP

testing (Medium)The state Department of Education appears to be focusing more on getting positive information out, and there is good news about Georgia’s performance on national tests to share.

As I have noted, I’ve been at conferences where Georgia has been cited for its progress. I know that progress does not fit the narrative of those who prefer to stigmatize the state’s schools as perpetually failing, but, in fact, there are hopeful indicators of improvement. (Some of the most imbalanced attacks on the schools in Georgia come from legislators in the House and Senate.)

And credit ought to go to those educators making it happen.

Keep in mind that these test scores have been used for decades to label Georgia a failing state. And these same scores have been used to deem other states as successes.

So, whether you believe these scores matter or not, they are the criteria by which states are judged.

From DOE:

Georgia leads the country when looking at year-to-year growth on the most recent national tests. One-year growth on the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Math, Reading and Science shows Georgia is the only state in the country to make gains on the most recent administration of each test.

“The progress Georgia’s students have made on these national tests is something of which we should all be very proud,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I get very frustrated hearing people say Georgia’s education system is so bad. We certainly have a lot of room to grow and improvements to make, but these results show that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Georgia’s Growth on National Assessments

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012):

1. Arizona

2. Colorado

3. Florida

4. Georgia

5. Idaho

6. Indiana

7. Iowa

8. Kansas

9. Kentucky

10. Maine

11. Massachusetts

12. Michigan

13. New Jersey

14. New Mexico

15. North Dakota

16. Ohio

17. Oregon

18. South Dakota

19. Tennessee

20. Utah

21. Vermont

22. Virginia

23. West Virginia

24. Wisconsin

25. Wyoming

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012) and ACT (2011 to 2012)

1. Florida

2. Georgia

3. Kentucky

4. Maine

5. Michigan

6. New Jersey

7. New Mexico

8. Tennessee

9. Vermont

10. Virginia

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012), ACT (2011 to 2012), and Advanced Placement (2010 to 2011)

1. Florida

2. Georgia

3. Kentucky

4. Maine

5. Michigan

6. New Jersey

7. New Mexico

8. Tennessee

9. Virginia

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012), ACT (2011 to 2012), Advanced Placement (2010 to 2011), and NAEP 4th & 8th Grade Mathematics (2009 to 2011)

1. Georgia

2. Kentucky

3. New Jersey

4. New Mexico

5. Virginia

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012), ACT (2011 to 2012), Advanced Placement (2010 to 2011), NAEP 4th & 8th Grade Mathematics (2009 to 2011), and NAEP 4th & 8th Grade Reading (2009 to 2011)

1. Georgia

2. New Jersey

States Making Growth on SAT (2011 to 2012), ACT (2011 to 2012), Advanced Placement (2010 to 2011), NAEP 4th & 8th Grade Mathematics (2009 to 2011), NAEP 4th & 8th Grade Reading (2009 to 2011), and NAEP 8th Grade Science

1. Georgia

Data Sources for Each National Test

SAT Scores:

The 2011 and 2012 state average SAT scores were derived from the SAT® Report on College & Career Readiness: 2012 produced by the College Board. Specifically, the data for each state’s SAT performance was extracted from the table “Mean Scores by State, by Participation Rate – All Schools” located on page 39 of the report.

ACT Scores:

The 2011 and 2012 state average composite ACT scores were derived from the ACT’s National and State Score Summary Report found at http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2012/states.html for 2012 scores and http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/states.html for 2011 scores.

AP Exam Data:

Data represents the percent of graduates who scored a three (3) or higher on an AP exam while in high school. This data is pulled directly from College Board’s 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation Report. Data tables can be found on page 33 of the report.

NAEP Scores:

The State level scores on the NAEP are directly pulled from U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2009 and 2011. State data used the “Change” in score column to flag states that have change growth on each assessment within the corresponding grade levels. Using the “State Comparison” table creation tool, state level scores were extracted using the rounding and standard error default presets. The state extraction tool can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/.

41 comments Add your comment

indigo

November 1st, 2012
3:52 pm

It seems clear that the recent revelations of cheating in Georgia schools is only the tip of the iceburg. Therefore, “the progress Georgia’s students have made on these national tests” is, at best, problematic.

paulo977

November 1st, 2012
3:58 pm

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 1st, 2012
3:59 pm

(I)ndigo,

SAT and ACT administrations are conducted by outside contractors, not school personnel.

The use of independent contractors to administer the SATand ACT raises an interesting, if not essential, question: Why do GA teachers administer any of the tests upon whose results we directly evaluate their students and indirectly evaluate them?

Centrist

November 1st, 2012
4:07 pm

Dr. John Barge: “I get very frustrated hearing people say Georgia’s education system is so bad. We certainly have a lot of room to grow and improvements to make, but these results show that we’re moving in the right direction.”

While I agree it is the right direction – there is a lot more room to move up when you are near the bottom.

If the top 10% of states move slightly down, should they panic?

Too soon for Georgia to cheer.

Del Olds

November 1st, 2012
4:09 pm

Great that we are showing movement up the scale, but this is growth, not where we rank. Where do we rank on each one? I only looked at the ACT and we are still rank (high to low) in the middle 30s. Good we are moving up, but not good enough yet!

James

November 1st, 2012
4:26 pm

Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. Ever thought the rise possibly came about because so many other folks moved into Georgia to make it slightly brighter on standardized tests?

oldtimer

November 1st, 2012
4:30 pm

I like to the improvement and we need to spend more time bragging on things that go well.
I thought that this week as I followed the adventures of the group from Clayton County… Jonesboro…while they were in NYC for an invitational mock trial competition with schools from all over the world. They came in 4th and came across on the TV as wonderful, articulate representives of their school.

indigo

November 1st, 2012
4:34 pm

Dr. Craig Spinks

I find it difficult to picture teachers unable to influence, in any way, tests their students take.

Lynn43

November 1st, 2012
4:40 pm

It’s funny how those who want to do nothing but criticize our wonderful state will tend to find fault and negatively explain away anything good that happens even though it can be the same data. Every student in Georgia could make a perfect score on every test and these “blow hards” would continue to say we were 49th or last. Many thanks to all the school personnel who, day after day, make “school” a great place for our children. Hurray for public schools-those that educate everyone.

shaking my head

November 1st, 2012
4:54 pm

progress still does not speak to the overall scores…it would be interesting to see if this progress had meaningful effects on overall ranking

SEE

November 1st, 2012
4:58 pm

The teachers are not even there when the SAT and ACT are given. Students must register for the test, and then take it at a facility which may or may not be at their school…on a Saturday. The students’ teachers are not even there. So how are the teachers helping students cheat?

Understanding Atlanta

November 1st, 2012
5:01 pm

I believe Georgia’s test scores will improve greatly when we end the “everyone needs to college”. When you compare states, it’s important to look at their push of others educational options outside of 4-year colleges. If there were options readily available we would see increases in score as students who don’t want or intend on going to college would be taken out of the equation.

It would be interesting to see the average scores of Georgia students admitted to 4-year colleges and universities. That would be a better indication of where the state stands.

bc

November 1st, 2012
5:04 pm

Well when you start at the bottom, there’s only one direction to go….

crankee-yankee

November 1st, 2012
5:05 pm

Centrist
November 1st, 2012
4:07 pm

Does nothing occurring in GA education ring positive in your world?

bubba

November 1st, 2012
5:08 pm

Our school communities (families, teachers, students) should be proud of the improvements shown in these results.

It’s a shame that the key indicator that seems to be most often used in defining educational excellence is overall state average SAT performance – which Georgia has been less than stellar in. When you consider Georgia’s participation rate being near the top and peer to peer subgroup comparisons for Georgia are fairly favorable – Georgia’s performance isn’t as bad.

It’s also interesting to see that test scores have improved, while at the same time class sizes have increased, teacher pay has been cut, overall budgets have been cut, the school year has been reduced, etc. Seems like more focus on performance (teacher/student) has been more effective than continually throwing more and more money for more and more fads.

Centrist

November 1st, 2012
5:11 pm

@ crankee-yankee (aptly named) – Did you miss this in my post today? “I agree it is the right direction”

Did you see my complimentary posts yesterday about the Title 1 schools that made the improvement lists?

Is it advisable to loudly shout and applaud for marginal gains, while ignoring the bigger problems?

I support teachers, Charter Schools, and rooting out waste and incompetence. I don’t apologize for stepping on toes that are simply protecting turf.

Athens Girl

November 1st, 2012
5:13 pm

Yes, Georgia’s students are excellent test-takers.

crankee-yankee

November 1st, 2012
5:29 pm

Understanding Atlanta
November 1st, 2012
5:01 pm

Well said, when the state of GA pays for every child to take the SAT (a result of it’s segregationist past) and the results are then compared to states where the only kids taking the SAT (on their own dime) are top tier students who are hoping to attend out of state institutions (North Dakota for instance), the comparison falls flat.

I am willing to compare the Ga students who actually attend a 4 year college to the same demographic from any other state. The results would, I believe, compare very favorably.

crankee-yankee

November 1st, 2012
5:37 pm

Centrist
November 1st, 2012
5:11 pm

Left-handed compliments attached to otherwise negative posts lose their impact.

Solutions

November 1st, 2012
5:42 pm

It is a lot easier to make significant gains in score when your old score is so very low, from what 1400 to 1500?….It is much more difficult to go from a score of 2300 to a score of 2400 on the SAT.

Beverly Fraud

November 1st, 2012
6:04 pm

What does Dr. John Trotter always say about “The Law of Large Numbers”?

What might Jerry Eads say about this? A DEFINITIVE sign of “progress”?

lahopital

November 1st, 2012
6:06 pm

Solution – also, going from 1400 to 1500 is a 7.1% gain, whereas going from 2300 to 2400 is only a 4.3% gain. You really do need some more information about that sort of thing, plus how many kids took the test (percentage of total), etc. to draw any major conclusions. The problem with testing is that your always going to have people below average.

lahopital

November 1st, 2012
6:07 pm

Really amazed

November 1st, 2012
6:27 pm

What people don’t realize and DOE neglects to tell people is that no longer do ALL students have to take the SAT/ACT. They now, as of last year get to opt out and take the COMPASS test if they do not plan on attending a four year college. This would indeed improve scores!!! Why doesn’t the DOE report this as well????

Fred ™

November 1st, 2012
6:37 pm

What a bunch of gloomy Gus’s here. I’ll take ANY improvement in our schools as a good start. It’s certainly better than the other alternative.

Ron F.

November 1st, 2012
6:56 pm

As a Georgia teacher, I can tell you the vast majority of us (99%) don’t cheat, don’t inflate grades, and constantly talk to kids about the rigor of college. We TEACH, and finally we’re seeing data that proves we might just be something other than your favorite whipping post. Give some credit, show some support, and you just might see even more improvement before we get the parallel state commission charter system in place.

lahopital

November 1st, 2012
7:22 pm

Ron F. – sorry if I seemed negative. I think most teachers are great folks and I appreciate what they do. If I seemed skeptical of the improvements, it’s only because I wasn’t one of those folks who thought things were in the toilet to start with. People seem so upset when some school is below average, but that’s just the nature of averages. Some people are going to be higher and some lower (and, if the average is a median, it should be 50%/50% – no?). If everybody performed better, the average would just go up – you can’t beat it. Some teachers get dealt better students, but that doesn’t mean they’re better teachers. I think we’ve gone a little test crazy and I wish we had better ways to judge effective teachers.

Stacey

November 1st, 2012
7:26 pm

Maureen – how come you didn’t report on the Georgia Family-Friendly Partnership School Awards that DOE awarded yesterday? We should recognize these schools that are welcoming to families. I am proud of my school!

Ron F.

November 1st, 2012
7:37 pm

“I think we’ve gone a little test crazy and I wish we had better ways to judge effective teachers”

Isn’t that the truth!!! I wasn’t directing my post at anyone in particular, just at the general group that would find something to criticize if we all scored 100%. The testing culture is very, very frustrating. I think we’re going to see parents finally get tired enough of it (and many have), and then we have to get busy convincing legislators to understand that enough is enough. We need accountability, and I think we’re up to the task. Like you, I just wish we get those in charge to realize that there are multiple measures that can be used to assess learning. They don’t want to know, in my opinion, because then people just might think public schools can do the job. It wouldn’t fit into the long term plan to privatize education.

Wondering

November 1st, 2012
7:52 pm

Why not look at the racially disaggregated data? If we are going to use racially biased tests, we need to be honest in our use of the results. And no, I’m not black or an educator. I am a mathematician.

lahopital

November 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

Wondering – mathematician? You must be familiar with my rule.

my2cents

November 1st, 2012
10:11 pm

So where are the numbers; averages; percentages? More or fewer students taking the tests? Ranges between urban, suburban and rural? I was hoping to see that. These lists are not very enlightening. Encouraging, yes.

Garrett Goebel

November 2nd, 2012
1:06 am

Wondering: Take a look at the AP Equity and Excellence Report from Appendix D of the 8th Annual Report (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/public/pdf/ap/rtn/Ap-Report-to-the-Nation-Appendix_D.pdf)

Garrett Goebel

November 2nd, 2012
1:19 am

Wondering: …And page 18-19 of the AP Main report (http://apreport.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/downloads/pdfs/AP_Main_Report_Final.pdf)

I think you’ll be surprised to see how well Georgia ranks in terms of percent of students with success on an AP and how equitably that rate of success is across demographic populations.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
2:47 am

Featuring test results seems like a buffet that serves certain interests. These get together and dine well together. As a government school teacher in Georgia , I more of less mastered the art of delivering high test results from students. I grasped the particulars of what was on the test, I taught and reviewed this information with my students, and re-taught as necessary. In doing so, I felt little respect or coordination from my peers or supervising administration. I seemed to be on a little island of my own making. When the test results came in they were very high. No one, not a soul outside of my colleagues on my team, turned a head in my direction, said thank you or recognition. The net result to me was I was reassigned and a predictable muddled work review and demand for re-training, which was really just a way to occupy someone on the administration side of the fence, to fill the dance card of a fake, a person making twice my salary and doing a fifth of the work I was doing. So basically, it sounds like I got suckered in performing the test result dance. When I was done I saw the true character of the managers.

When I see featured “test results” and classifying of schools, I know that in large part it is the political caste creating something for themselves to do, then celebrating the results of their invention. I do not feel invited to the party and the irony is that I am the one who delivered the test results.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
3:01 am

I should mention that to obtain desired test results I had to make my own teaching materials and reproduce materials for students. Part of being a government teacher in Georgia is working in a system with lots of mandates and required “guidelines” and then having practically zero tools to do the job and therefore spending your own time and money making the materials to do so. This is the greatest hypocrisy from the managing caste. Certainly some subject areas must have support materials, STEM etc. but it is very uneven and hardly comprehensible. My experience as a government school teacher is Georgia is having the lawmaker drop off the architectural drawings and then come back and expect you to buy the materials to build the structure and then when you do so turning their nose up in the air as they are late to the buffet with their other planners. the work review on how the building is built is based solely on if the worker flatters the manager and provides required social currency and undivided “attention” to the various and many themes and promotions from the managers, pails that they tote from the superstructure above them, that their very job depends upon, information being “redelivered.” Of course there is always room for another “redelivery” artist if you wish to sign on with the propagandists and are willing to sing the song and harass your colleagues.

I’ll being voting for the charter amendment because literally anything would be better than being thrown into this current pit while the managers take turns coating the walls with oil and some Georgia Coach keeps asking you why don’t you just move along, now?

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
3:19 am

I am beginning to see a perspective outside of the current paradigm, meaning that I have feeling that in some societies there are probably 1/ 100th of the amount of people in the business of “judging teachers.” It is my personal theory that the money that used to be spent for support materials is now being spent and/ or paid to testing companies. Simple reasoning: Georgia used to have current materials for the classroom and moderate sensible testing. Today there is very little support materials for the classroom, certainly no coordinated mode or continuity, and instead there is an absolute saturation of intrusive testing agenda. How everyone can go along with this and keep a straight face is well beyond my reasoning skills. Some here make historical analogue to Chairman Mao’s China. The real trick seems to be when you can make people all screwy and then get them to defend it on their own. Talk about Mission Accomplished. But nothing stays the same and the wheel continues to turn. They’ve upped the ante so much with saturation testing, there is probably little more to add, to do more, to increase activity and profits of the testing companies. So what next?

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
3:40 am

Testing saturation – when the Christmas holidays and break come and go, November moves into December, moves into January and February and not a single word is officially spoken involving the holidays, nothing, as if following a calendar of numerical days and nothing more, but every day and every week is talk of the testing through the school announcement media feed and speaker system. The pressure in on! The pressure is on! Mix it up with some character training and motivational initiatives. Meanwhile half the kids arrive in the morning, completely downtrodden, isolated, set their heads down in the morning like zombies lacking sleep, and throughout the day various acting out and seeking attention before going to the cafeteria to get the foodstuffs and then shortly thereafter circle back around and daily dump the styrofoam trays and plastic utensils into the garbage containers to be hauled off to the landfill before spending a couple more hours before being carted away in the diesel buses before it all begins again the next morning, arriving while it is dark outside, the depersonalized zombies dutiful arriving as if to a factory job, putting head down on desk in solitude as if trying to get away from it all and slowly awakening as the media feed starts and the building manager jabbers on about testing which happens 4-5 times during the school year before the big testing at the end of the school year, a testing that students are often threatened with, don’t pass this one and you will be held back, and retested and summer school until they figure out there is no money for summer school and there is no room for the amount of kids they threatened to hold back, so the managers have just lost any hope of credibility with the kids who are threatened and the dysfunctional swirl continues the next year, the miserable zombies students dutifully show up, put head down on desk, slowly awaken to the sound of the manager jabbering on the media feed about the test, lunch time go and get the foodstuffs, circle around and dump the styrofoam tray and little styrofoam bowls and plastic utensils into the garbage to be toted the landfill and spend another hour or two before being carted off in the diesel buses before returning the next day, dark outside, dutifully arrive and put head down on desk and wait for the media feed and announcements and news of the testing.

NorthAtlantaParent

November 2nd, 2012
8:47 am

According to Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, Georgia’s7th graders are performing in the top in the nation. But these are the top 5% of 7th graders. Is it possible that the SAT and ACT gains in recent years only count the top performing students? Parents shouldn’t worry as much about the average of a state but should really be concerned about the top-tier ranking of a state. Just like in the adult world, no working adult should be worried about the minimal or average wage. Be concerned about your earning cap and what else you can do to raise your earning potential.

Pride and Joy

November 2nd, 2012
5:24 pm

Dr. Craig says it best “Why do GA teachers administer any of the tests upon whose results we directly evaluate their students and indirectly evaluate them?
EXACTLY.
No employee or person should ever administer ANYTHING for which they are judged. It invites dishonesty.
GA teachers administering tests for which they are evaluated is the same as Lance Armstrong administering his own drug tests.

Middle Grades Math Teacher

November 3rd, 2012
2:14 am

Indigo, of course teachers influence their students’ test scores. We teach them, and they learn from that, if they are willing to learn and work at mastering the content. I would never compromise my ethical integrity by cheating, and I don’t personally know any teacher who would, either. I’ve also never worked in a school where that behavior was encouraged or demanded. From all we’ve read, many teachers have been subjected to that. But Dr. Craig and Pride and Joy, I do agree with your points on supervising testing simply because it would remove doubt. The only answer I can think of to implement that is fiscally responsible is to have each teacher supervise a different classroom for testing. If we were to have outside contractors supervise testing, the cost would be astronomical. I definitely couldn’t support that in the financial crisis facing education.