Articles tagged with Math

NAEP results show minority students making strong gains, but gaps remain

This was republished from the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education (CPE), The EDifier and written by Jim Hull, CPE’s Senior Policy Analyst.

Minority students have made significant gains over the past four decades in both math and reading, according to the 2012 long-term NAEP results. While most white students made significant gains as well, achievement gaps narrowed considerably since minority students made much larger gains than their white peers. However, large achievement gaps still remain.

Reading Results

9 Year Olds

  • U.S. 9 year old have made significant gains.
    • Since the first year of NAEP in 1971, student achievement in reading has increased significantly from 208 to 221 (13 points, or just over a year’s worth of learning). There was also significant growth from 2004 to 2012 (5 points), but it remained relatively flat from 2008 until the present.
    • Gains were made by students at all performance levels.
      • Students scoring in the 10th and 25th percentiles each saw gains of 19 points, thus strengthening the lower percentile performance overall.
      • Students performing at the 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles each saw gains from 1971 to 2012 by 15, 9, and 6 points, respectively.
      • These increases indicate an overall trend of improvement across all performance subgroups.
  • Racial achievement gaps have narrowed significantly over the past four decades.
    • The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 44 points in 1971 to 23 points in 2012.
      • Black students increased there scores 36 points over this time period, while White students improved their scores 15 points.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 34 points in 1975 (the first year for which data was available for Hispanic students) to 21 points in 2012.
      • Hispanic students increased their scores 25 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students nudged up 12 points in the same time period.
  • Nine year-olds were the only age group to see a significant decrease in the gender gap from 1971 to 2012.
    • In 1971, boys earned an average score of 201, while girls scored 214. By 2012, this 13-point gap shrunk to a 5-point deficit with boys scoring 218 and girls scoring 223.

13 Year Olds

  • U.S. 13 year olds have made significant long- and short-term gains.
    • Since 1971, student scores in reading has increased significantly from 255 to 263 (8 points, or nearly a year’s worth of learning). Scores also improved from 2008, the last time NAEP was administered.
    • Students made improvements in reading scores across the spectrum of performance levels, with significant gains from 1971 as well as short-term gains since 2008.
      • Lower-achieving students made the most modest gains (up 6 points from 1971), while each of the other higher-performing quintiles gained 8 or 9 points on average since 1971.
  • Racial achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between initial testing and 2012.
    • The Black-White achievement gap diminished from 39 points (1971) to 23 points (2012).
      • Black students increased their scores by 25 points (roughly 2.5 years of learning), while White students achieved a 9-point gain over this time.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 30 points in 1975 to 21 points in 2012.
      • Hispanic students increased their scores by 17 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students achieved an 8-point gain over this time.
  • The percentage of 13- and 17-year-olds who read for fun has diminished over time
    • The percentage of 13-year-olds reported they read for fun dropped from 35 (1984) to 27 (2012) percent, while 17-year-olds saw their percentages drop off from 31 (1984) to 19 (2012).

17 Year Olds

  • On average U.S. 17 year olds have made little progress since 1971.
    • Overall scores were not significantly different between the first NAEP reading testing in 1971 (score of 285) and 2012 (score of 287).
    • Lower performing students have made modest gains
      • Scores at the 10th percentile were 7 points higher in 2012 than in 1971.
      • Scores that 25th percentile increased by 4 points between 1971 and 2012, while scores at the 50th percentile increased by 1 point.
      • Students at the highest percentiles (75th and 90th) saw modest decreases in both long-term (since 1971) and short-term (since 2008) average scores.
  • Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1971 and 2012.
    • The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 27 points (from a 53 to a 26 point gap) between 1971 and 2012.
      • Black students increased their scores by 30 points (roughly 3 years of growth) since 1971, while White students saw a 4-point improvement.
      • Black students also showed short-term growth (from 2008) with a 3-point increase, while White students’ average reading scores remained constant.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed by 20 points (41 to 21 point gap) from 1975 to 2012, while Hispanic enrollment was rapidly expanding.
      • Hispanic students increased their scores by 22 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students saw only a 2-point gain in the same time period.

 

Math Results

9 Year Olds

  • U.S. 9 year olds made significant gains.
    • Since the first year of NAEP in 1973, student achievement in math has increased by two and half years’ worth of learning (25 points). However, there as been no significant improvement since 2004.
    • Similar gains were made by students at all performance levels.
      • In fact, students currently scoring at the 10th percentile score about the same as students at the 25th percentile did in 1973.
      • Furthermore, students currently scoring at the 75th percentile score about the same as students at the 90th percentile did in 1973.
  • Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly over the past four decades.
    • The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 35 points in 1973 to 25 points in 2012.
      • Black students increased there scores by 36 points while at the same time White students improved their scores by 27 points.
      • Today’s Black students score as well as White students did in 1986.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 23 points in 1973 to 17 points in 2012 while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 5 percent in 1978 to 26 percent in 2012.
      • Hispanic students increased there scores by 32 points from 1973 to 2012.
      • Hispanic students score similarly as White students did in 1992.

13 Year Olds

  • U.S. 13 year olds have made significant long- and short-term gains.
    • Since 1973, student scores have increased by 19 points which is nearly two years’ worth of learning. Scores also improved from 2008 the last time NAEP was administered.
    • While students at all levels made improvements, lower-achieving students made greater improvements.
      • Scores at the 10th percentile were 27 points higher in 2012 than in 1978.
      • While scores at the 90thpercentile increased 16 points between 1978 and 2012.
  • Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1973 and 2012.
    • The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 18 points (46 to 28 point gap).
      • Black students increased there scores 36 points while at the same time White students improved their scores 19 points.
      • Black students acquired about three and half more years of learning than they did in 1973.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed by 14 points (35 to 21 point gap), while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 6 percent in 1978 to 21 percent in 2012.
      • Hispanic students increased their scores by 32 points from 1973 to 2012.
      • Hispanic students acquired about three more years of learning than they did in 1973.
  • More 13 year olds are taking Algebra than ever before.
    • In 2012 34 percent of 13 year olds took Algebra compared to just 16 percent in 1986.
    • Nearly three-quarters of 13 year olds had taken at least Pre-Algebra in 2012, up from just 39 percent in 1986.

17 Year Olds

  • On average U.S. 17 year olds have made little progress since 1973.
    • Overall scores were not significantly different between 1973 and 2012.
    • However, lower performing students have made modest gains.
      • Scores at the 10th percentile were 12 points higher in 2012 than in 1978.
      • Scores at the 25th percentile increased 11 points between 1978 and 2012 while scores at the 50th percentile increased by 6 points.
  • Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1973 and 2012.
    • The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 14 points (40 to 26 point gap) between 1973 and 2012.
      • Black students increased their scores 18 points while at the same time White students improved their scores 4 points.
      • Black students acquired about two more years of learning than they did in 1973.
    • The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed 14 points (33 to 19 point gap) while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 4 percent in 1978 to 22 percent in 2012.
      • Hispanic students increased their scores by 17 points from 1973 to 2012.
      • Hispanic students acquired nearly three more years of learning than they did in 1973.
  • Nearly four times as many students took Calculus or Pre-Calculus in 2012 than in 1978.
    • In 2012 23 percent of students took Calculus or Pre-Calculus compare to 6 percent in 1978. Just two decades ago just 10 percent did so.
    • In 2012 just 22 percent of students’ highest math course was geometry compared to 53 percent in 1978. In 1992 44 percent of students did so.

For more information on NAEP, check out the CPE’s report The Proficiency Debate: A guide to NAEP achievement levels.

Alexis Rice|June 28th, 2013|Categories: Center for Public Education, Center for Public Education Update, Reports, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , , , |

The week in blogs

Communicating with parents and the community takes time, writes Idette B. Groff, a board member for the Conestoga Valley (Pa.) School District. But it more than pays off in the end.

She offers this advice to parents as a guest columnist in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog:

“If your district doesn’t keep you informed of opportunities to serve on short term district committees and provide opportunities to hear your input, tell them what you want. If they already do this, give a little time to be part of the process. It’s like being a part of the school board without having to invest as much time.”

How well does the U.S. stack up to other countries when it comes to teacher pay? A disappointing, 22nd out of 27, according to one measurement, writes Jack Jennings, president of the Center for Education Policy. Jennings, writing in the Huffington Post, is referring to an international comparison that looks at the ratio of the average salaries of 15-year teachers to the average earnings of other full-time workers with college degrees. It turns out that these U.S. teachers, on average, can expect to make just 60 percent of their college-educated peers. That compares to ratios of between 80 percent and 100 percent in many other countries.

Need another reason to invest in the STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering and Math)? Read MIT President Susan Hockfield (“Manufacturing a Recovery”) in the New York Times.

Lawrence Hardy|September 2nd, 2011|Categories: School Boards, STEM Education, Teachers, Uncategorized, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , |

The week in blogs

Not only is it lonely at the top, it’s stressful too. You have to watch your back and fight off challengers.

Yes, of course, we’re talking about baboons.

According to fascinating new research described in today’s New York Times, it’s not all that bad to be a beta male. In fact, it may help you live longer and perpetuate the species.

“After all,” says the Times, “when the alpha gets into another baboon bar fight, who’s going to take the girl home?”

And what does all this have to do with K12 education? Wait, I’m thinking… Yes, here it is: Who’s better equipped to survive those interminable school board budget meetings without burning out? Who’s more skillful at collaborating, finding consensus, and “speaking with one voice?”  Who not only “talks the talk,” or “walks the walk,” but truly “walks the talk?” (Answer: Beta males? And females?  It must be true; it’s in the New York Times.)

In other education news — actually, on a more serious note — read the Times’ Michael Winerip on Matthew, a young student with an attention problem who was allegedly “fired” from a New York City charter school because he didn’t fit in.

“Matthew’s story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools,” Winerip writes.  “Do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?

Also see Joanne Jacobs on “Why Math Tutors Prosper,” Yong Zhao’s provocative call to “Ditch Testing” in light of the Atlanta cheating furor, and Charlotte Williams of the Learning First Alliance on desegregation during the Obama years.

Lawrence Hardy|July 15th, 2011|Categories: Charter Schools, Student Achievement, Uncategorized, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , |

Expert knowledge of subject not enough to make a good teacher

Photo courtesy Stockvault

Photo courtesy Stockvault

My high school physics teacher had a doctorate in the subject and was obviously brilliant.

But, oh, was she boring.

In college, I took a course in 19th century European philosophy, taught by a young professor with a positively encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.

And that’s what his lectures sounded like — like somebody reading the encyclopedia.

Just because you have great content knowledge doesn’t mean you can teach. It’s something the teachers unions have been saying for years in an attempt to defend the kind of pedagogical training they get in education courses.  But among today’s “reformers,” such arguments are often dismissed as empty defenses of teacher colleges, some of which, to be sure, are horrible.

Just take bright college graduates with good content knowledge, these reformers say — all those young people armed with surplus enthusiasm and no baggage — and let them work their magic.

Indeed, the idea sounds enticing to me and a wonderful quick fix — until I stop to remember my own student experiences. Now, according to a recent story in Education Week, researchers are questioning whether teachers who majored in math significantly improve students’ math skills at the elementary and middle school level.
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Naomi Dillon|December 22nd, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, Teachers|Tags: , |

Where does it STEM from?

1009ASBJIt’s another crisis in America, again impacting the country’s competitiveness in the world, and requiring education to step up and meet the challenge.

The push for more STEM curriculum or science, technology, math, and engineeering  instruction in schools is the latest calamity and call to action. It’s also the cover package of October’s ASBJ.

You’ll have to read my colleague, Larry Hardy’s story to get an overview of the issue and whether this really is a crisis.

In doing research and reporting for the accompanying sidebars, however, I discovered there really is some validity to the “crisis” designation— and its buried in the ground.

Game simulations, video conferencing, online learnings— schools have myriad new technology applications available today, enabling to make instruction in STEM subjects (any subjects for that matter) more relevant, dynamic, and customizable to each student.

Problem is, you can’t really access those applications unless you have the technological infrastructure to support them.
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Naomi Dillon|September 28th, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, School Buildings|Tags: , , , , , |

How do U.S. students compare to their peers in math and science?

In case you missed it results from the 2007 Trends in International Math and Science Study– better known as TIMSS 2007– were released yesterday. Overall, results were quite positive, particularly in math where the U.S. was outperformed by fewer countries in 2007 than 2003. Especially encouraging is that scores for most students increased including both low and high performing students. However results for science were a bit more mixed.

There is a lot more to learn about how U.S. students are performing than these simple rankings — which is why BoardBuzz recommends you check out this quick and easy to read summary of results from our very own Center for Public Education to gain a full picture of how U.S. students really compare internationally.

Furthermore, if you want to learn about how U.S. students compare to their peers in other countries on other international assessments? Want to find out about what students are actually taking these assessments in other countries? Or do you just want to learn more about what the results actually mean? Then check out the Center’s More than a horse race: A guide to international assessments of student achievement.

Jim Hull|December 10th, 2008|Categories: Educational Research, Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , |

Paris Hilton to star as mathmetician in new movie

Perhaps such a headline would send more young students running to sign up for math classes (although it might also have teachers fleeing)? Despite our oft professed condescension towards Paris Hilton, BoardBuzz was intrigued by this story on MSNBC about a recent study that ties the lack of students entering the math profession to the “geeky” social stigma associated with being a mathmetician.

Nearly all participants, both math-friendly students and those who steer clear of equations, think of a mathematician as a white male with white hair, who is obsessed with the number-laden subject to the exclusion of any social life. For instance, participants labeled Albert Einstein and John Nash (portrayed in the movie “A Beautiful Mind”) as lacking social skills and as weird or not normal.

Because of the “geek” status associated with mathematics, many who excel at math in their early years decide to pursue other fields in higher education and as a profession. And females are considerably less likely to describe themselves as excelling in math.

For the few brave souls that pursue careers in mathematics, the study found that they view the characteristics others describe as “geeky” as assets. An obsession with numbers is not crazy–it’s a skill. And being unconcerned with a social life shows devotion. Some also choose to embrace their “geekiness,” though also pointing out that underneath the geek stereotype, they are normal individuals.

So, how can we as educators help to change the stereotype associated with math and science? Maybe one day we will see more young boys and girls dreaming of becoming–not a rock star–but a math star (whether Paris makes that movie or not)!

Erin Walsh|May 13th, 2008|Categories: Curriculum, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement|Tags: , |
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