Blog: Education by the Numbers

Misuse of NAEP scores

EdWeek’s Stephen Sawchuk wrote a piece on the misuse of NAEP score data by politicians and advocacy groups. The parsing claims sidebar has a few examples of prominent people and organizations who’ve made some elementary mistakes.

Use of Data:

“Public education is supposed to be the great equalizer in America. Yet today the average 12th grade black or Hispanic student has the reading, writing, and math skills of an 8th grade white student.”

—From a 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed written by Joel I. Klein, then the chancellor of the New York City school system, and the Rev. Al Sharpton

Problem:

NAEP scales differ by subject and grade.

In other words, you can’t compare a 17 year old’s score of 250 with a 13 year old’s score of 250.

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