State Test Score Trends Through 2008-09, Part 3: Student Achievement at 8th Grade
In the third in its series of state test-score trend analyses, the Center on Education Policy examines the achievement of eighth-grade students on states’ reading and math exams from 2002-03 to 2008-09. Surprisingly—and counter to previous research—the study found that eighth graders are performing just as well as those in fourth grade and high school, and that, of the three, eighth-grade scores are the fastest-improving. Furthermore, at the advanced-achievement level, gaps have widened in a majority of states between white students and their African American, Latino, and Native American counterparts. And Asian Americans have surpassed all other students by a notable margin. It’s hard to know what to make of these findings. It’s certainly possible that we’re finally seeing real improvements in the nation’s long-challenged middle schools. But it’s also likely that the trends simply reflect changes in state tests and cut scores. A more reliable indicator, as always, is the NAEP, where these gains all but disappear.
Naomi Chudowsky and Victor Chudowsky, “State Test Score Trends Through 2008-09, Part 3: Student Achievement at 8th Grade,” (Washington, D.C.: Center for Education Policy, April 2011).
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