The 2009 NAEP reading scores were released this morning with little fanfare for Ohio. There has been virtually no growth in the Buckeyes State's NAEP reading results, with only 36 percent of fourth graders and 37 percent of eighth graders in Ohio proficient or above in reading.
These scores come as no surprise as they've remained virtually unchanged over the last ten years, as illustrated in the graphic below.
As we've noted before a troubling gap continues to exist between Ohio's own measure of student proficiency (the Ohio Achievement Test, or OAT) and the NAEP. According to 2009 OAT results, 72 percent of eighth graders and 82 percent of fourth graders were considered proficient in reading. The graph below highlights this disparity.
Both the stalled achievement in reading according to NAEP scores, and the discrepancy between OAT and NAEP results highlight the need for strong common standards nationally correlated with a system of comprehensive assessments.
One thing is for sure ??? too few Ohio fourth and eighth graders have been scoring below proficient in reading for too long. Ohio is on the right path by choosing to adopt the Common Core State Standards, but it needs to ensure that it commits to establishing a properly aligned and comprehensive system of assessment, one strategy among several necessary to boost student achievement in the Buckeye State.
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Don't miss the latest Ohio Education Gadfly! Terry, Emmy, and Jamie, along with Fordham friend Colleen Grady (at State of Ohio Education blog), discuss how the Common Core standards are an improvement over Ohio's current academic standards (and they name a few caveats and suggestions for revision).
Next, Fordham President Chester E. Finn, Jr.'s National Review Online editorial joins in endorsing the common education standards, and is targeted specifically toward conservatives who might otherwise be wary of the concept of national standards.
Eric writes up a section on Ohio's recently released NAEP reading scores. The bad news is that fourth and eighth-grade proficiency scores are perpetually low.
Also read about Columbus Collegiate Academy's recent ???silver gain??? EPIC prize by New Leaders for New Schools for their extraordinary student achievement gains ??? the only school in Ohio to win.
And be sure to check out Flypaper's Finest, some great reviews, and Editor's Extras for information ranging from online learning and a KIPP school's performance, to Drew Carey's work in Cleveland, and notable podcasts (on teachers' unions and No Child Left Behind) you should definitely check out.
When asked how he would go about improving Pittsburgh, Frank Lloyd Wright offered a simple solution: ???Abandon it.???
But that Price-is-Right hosting, Michael Moore look-a-like (minus the baseball hat and hammer-and-sickle) Drew Carey won't drop the commitment to his hometown Cleveland that easily. Carey recently teamed up with the Reason Foundation to offer solutions for revitalizing his city going bust.
Episode 2 in the ???Reason Saves Cleveland??? series deals specifically with fixing Cleveland's schools???and points to improvements in school performance in Oakland, California as an example of how struggling cities can boost their students' achievement.??
Carey and producer Paul Feine point to Citizen's Academy in Cleveland?? as an example of how charters can help make a difference in battling educational failure (see here for more praise). ??Carey also touts working with teachers' unions to promote school autonomy and implementing a weighted student funding system.
You can find ???Reason Saves Cleveland??? here.
Tim Hoffine is a Policy & Research Intern in the Fordham Columbus office.
Brookings' Brown Center on Education Policy just released a proposal for ???America's Teacher Corps,??? a federally funded program that would recognize highly effective teachers in Title I schools, award them a salary bonus ($10,000), and give them a ???portable credential??? transferrable from state to state so as to encourage the best teachers to flow to the highest-need schools. Perhaps most important, ATC would encourage states and districts to develop metrics to identify highly effective teachers in the first place. (All exciting stuff.)
The authors of the paper are spot-on in pointing out the rationale for such a program. There are general problems with the profession not recruiting the best and brightest, being plagued with high turnover, inequitable distribution of talent, etc. The ATC would minimize credentialing barriers. Ohio needs this desperately, as it doesn't always grant reciprocity for out-of-state teachers ??? i.e. making Teach For America alums jump through certification hoops regardless of prior classroom experience/performance.
Stephen Sawchuk at Teacher Beat has a good write-up about it. He also expresses concern over a few ???potential pitfalls,??? among them the fact that a program like ATC would rely on districts having valid and reliable teacher evaluation systems.
Which is where the excitement stops.
The paper suggests that teachers will be advocates within their districts for the creation of evaluation systems that would make them eligible for the program.
We believe that the incentives of extra compensation, a portable credential, and national recognition???
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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