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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 8, no. 42 (August 21, 2000).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c August 21, 2000
Texas gains on NAEP : points of light? / Gregory Camilli.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 5 Volume 8 Number 42August 21, 2000ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2000, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Texas Gains on NAEP: Points of Light? Gregory Camilli Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyRelated articles: Klein et al.: Vol. 8 No. 49 Haney: Vol. 8 No. 41 Abstract:The 1992-1996 gain in mathematics scores on NAEP fr om 4th to 8th grades in Texas is placed in perspective. The "mira cle" in Texas looks much like the median elsewhere. Of 35 states and tw o districts (Guam and D.C.), the 52-point gain of Texas was good enou gh to earn Texas a rank of 17th or about the 46th percentile. Taking i nto consideration the wealth of states, Texas stands in the middle of the packÂ—no worse than most other states in delivering educational service s to students. Haney (2000) examined a number of aspects of the Texas record of educational progress. This brief response concerns one particul ar indicator: the 1992-1996 gain in mathematics scores from 4th to 8th grades as measur ed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In terms of the NAEP s cales scoresÂ—not the achievement level percentagesÂ—the Texas gain from 1 992-1996 was about 49 points. In any metric, this represents a sizable gain. In orde r to give some perspective to this accomplishment, it is customary to compare states. Implicitly, the rationale for doing so
2 of 5is that some states do better than others, and thro ugh a process of competition and selection the level educational level of students c an be bootstrapped. Since the Texas gain was the largest of any state, it could be argu ed that there is much merit in its methods and efficiencies. However, Haney raised a number of questio ns about whether this was a gain in achievement or whether it could be attributed to a large degree to changed in grade retention and dropout rates. There is a study on th e 4th-8th grade mathematics gains that Haney did not consider which is relevant to this po int. The Math cohort study by Barton et al (1998) estimated gains in math for a cohort o f students in 4th grade who attended 8th grade four years later. To those who look to st atistics to support the educational record of Texas (and to those who would take credit for the miracle), there is good news and bad news in this study. First, the good news. In the cohort study Texas students gained about 52 points from 4th to 8th grade. Thus, unless students are re tained in the 4th and 5th-8th grades disproportionately, there can be little question th at the NAEP scores have gone up substantially. (Haney shows that for grades 2-8, th e transition ratios are uniform. Questions arise in the 9th-10th grade transition.) But in regard to a comparison among states, the miracle in Texas looks much like the me dian elsewhere. Of 35 states and two districts (Guam and D.C.), the 52-point gain of Tex as was good enough to earn Texas a rank of 17th or about the 46th percentile. Though T exas outranked four other states by less than one point, it should also be mentioned th at six states outranked Texas by less than one point. This latter finding brings up a central p oint in the NAEP mathematics results for 1992 and 1996. In fact, the states are pretty well bunched up in the middle. In terms of statistical significance, Texas is different only f rom Guam (with a 40-point gain), and is not significant from Nebraska (ranked 1st with a 57 -point gain). Was there a miracle in NAEP gains from 1992 to 1996 in Texas? The answer v ery clearly is no. Texas was average. One more simple representation helps to i llustrate this latter point. In Figure 1, the state cohort gains are plotted against median state income (average across 1995-1997). Though a slight linear trend is evident (with Arizo na and Hawaii being negative outliers), the story is relatively clear once more. With respect to wealth, which is one of the most reliable predictors of achievement, Texas stands in the middle of the packÂ—that is, no worse than most other states in de livering educational services to all students. Certainly, there is no criticism that can be leveled against Texas that cannot also be leveled against others states. However, wit hin a paradigm that promotes healthy competition among states as a means of developing e ffective education policy, the points of light in Texas are not beacons.
3 of 5 Figure 1. 1992-1996 NAEP cohort gains in mathematic s plotted against median family income.About the AuthorGregory Camilli Email: email@example.com Gregory Camilli is a professor in the Rutgers Gradu ate School of Education, and former Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology. His interests include measurement, program evaluation, and policy issues regarding stu dent assessment. Dr. Camilli teaches courses in statistics and psychometrics, structural equation modeling, and meta-analysis. His research interets include efficacy studies of H ead Start, implementation variability in cooperative learning and technology, and factors re lated to differential item functioning.ReferencesHaney, W. (2000). The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8 (41). Available online at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/ v8n41/ (August 20, 2000)Barton, P. and Coley, R. (1998). Growth in School: Achievement Gains From the Fourth to the Eighth Grade. Princeton, NJ: Educational Tes ting Service.Copyright 2000 by the Education Policy Analysis Archives
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