December 5, 2016
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Study Released on Student Performance

 

 
 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.—June 17, 2009—Student performance on state reading and math tests has generally risen at three achievement levels, according to a 50-state study by the Center on Education Policy (CEP). The study found more states with gains than declines in the percentages of students reaching or exceeding the basic, proficient, and advanced levels of achievement, and relatively few instances of sizeable declines in the percentage scoring below the basic level.
Achievement also improved in most states at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
 
The CEP study analyzed test score trends, where available, from 2002, the year the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) took effect, through 2008. (Some states did not have trends going back to 2002 because they had adopted new tests or made other major changes in their testing systems.) The study expands on CEP’s previous two reports on achievement by examining, for the first time, test results at the “advanced” level and at the “basic” level-and-above—as well as at the “proficient” level and above, which is the benchmark that matters most for federal accountability under NCLB.
 
ASSESSING PERFORMANCE AT LEVELS ABOVE AND BELOW PROFICIENT
CEP found that, even though NCLB creates incentives for schools to focus on ensuring students reach the proficient level, states posted gains at the advanced and basic-and-above levels as well. At the basic-and-above level, 73 percent of the trend lines analyzed across various subjects and grades showed gains. At the advanced level, 71 percent of the trend lines analyzed showed improvement.
 
“If accountability policies were indeed shortchanging high- and low-achieving students, we would expect to see stagnation or decline at the basic and advanced levels,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO. “Instead, the percentages of students scoring at the basic-and-above and advanced levels have increased much more often than they have decreased, especially in the lower grades.”
 
Gains were somewhat more prevalent at the proficient-and-above level than at the other two achievement levels. Of the trend lines analyzed at the proficient-and-above level, 83 percent displayed gains, while 15 percent showed declines. The size of the gains was also larger, on average, at the proficient-and-above level. However, this may be partly due to a test-related statistical issue: When average test scores go up, the percentage of students at the proficient level tends to grow faster than at the basic and advanced levels because more students’ scores tend to be clustered near the proficient level.
 
At the advanced level, the size of the gains in elementary and middle school math were close or equal to those at the proficient level and there were more upward trends than downward. These findings generally point to a significant movement of students from proficient to advanced. At the basic level, too, there were more gains than declines. Although some states posted declines at the basic level, most were slight.
 
“There are several possible explanations for the upward trends. The most hopeful explanation is that students are learning more and consequently are performing better on state tests,” Jennings said. “There is probably also a cumulative effect of test-focused instruction at work.”
More gains have been made in math than in reading, according to the report. The size of the percentage gains across all states was greater in math than in reading, data which is confirmed by the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
 
HIGH SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUES TO LAG
The report notes that achievement at the high school level has improved but still lags behind elementary and middle school achievement. The average annual percentage point gains for high school students tended to be lower than at the elementary or middle school levels. There may be several reasons for the divergence in performance between students at the lower and higher grades, among them that it is more difficult to engage and motive high school students or that high schools receive fewer federal resources.
Although CEP collected test data from all 50 states, achievement trends were included in the report only for states with at least three years of comparable test data for a particular subject, grade, and achievement level. A change in test results was considered to be a “trend” only if it was based on at least three years of data in order to account for yearly fluctuations in test scores that are unrelated to students’ learning.
 
The report, titled State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08, Part I: Is the Emphasis on “Proficiency” Shortchanging Higher- and Lower-Achieving Students?, is available at www.cep-dc.org.
 
Also available on the Web site are achievement data profiles for each of the 50 states, as well as other CEP publications.
 
Based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 1995, by Jack Jennings, the Center on Education Policy is a national independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center works to help Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. The Center does not represent special interests. Instead, it helps citizens make sense of conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create conditions that will lead to better public schools

State Test Score Trends Through 2007–08

State Test Score Trends Through 2007–08

Part 1

Is the Emphasis on "Proficiency" Shortchanging Higher- and Lower-Achieving Students?

FULL REPORT

Errata

SUPPLEMENTAL TABLES (Revised 6/16/09)

Press Release

General Information about State Profiles and State Testing Data
The state profiles and testing data posted on this Web site include information that the Center on Education Policy (CEP) and the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) obtained from states from fall 2008 through April 2009. We are extremely grateful to the state departments of education in the 50 participating states for their cooperation in making these data available and their involvement in verifying the data.

National findings from this study are described in a series of reports, State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08, available on this Web site.

To assist others who want to do further research and analysis, we are making available to the public the data we collected from states in the form of state profiles. Developed by CEP and HumRRO, these profiles give a picture of specific achievement trends in each state and were used to determine broad trends for series of national reports. These data are extensive and could inform a variety of research questions. Users of these data should cite the Center on Education Policy as the source of data.

More information on the rules used to analyze and determine trends from the data in the profiles can be found in the individual parts of the series of reports, State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08.

STATE PROFILES — GENERAL ACHIEVEMENT TRENDS

The general achievement trends profiles posted on this Web site include the following information for each of the 50 states: All 50 states are represented by some data, but for various reasons some states could not provide all of the requested information.

  • Bullet points summarizing key findings about achievement trends in that state at three performance levels—basic and above, proficient and above, and advanced
  • Background information about limitations of the state’s test data and characteristics of the state’s testing system, including major changes in its testing system
  • Figures and tables with the percentages of students scoring at the proficient level and above for all years with comparable data since 1999 and for all grades tested under the No Child Left Behind Act
  • Figures and tables with percentages of students performing at three achievement levels—basic, proficient, and advanced—for all years with comparable data and for grades 4, 8, and 10 (or adjacent grades, in the case of states that lack comparable trend data for these default grades)
  • Figures and tables with mean scale scores, standard deviations, and effect sizes for all years with comparable data and for the three grades analyzed in this study
  • Definitions of key terms used in the profile and cautions and explanations about the data

Alabama
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Alaska
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Arizona
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Arkansas
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

California
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Colorado
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Connecticut
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Delaware
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Florida
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Georgia
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Hawaii
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Idaho
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Illinois
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Indiana
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Iowa
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Kansas
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Kentucky
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Louisiana
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Maine
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Maryland
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Massachusetts
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Michigan
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Minnesota
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Mississippi
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Missouri
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Montana
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Nebraska
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Nevada
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

New Hampshire
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

New Jersey
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

New Mexico
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

New York
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

North Carolina
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

North Dakota
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Ohio
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Oklahoma
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Oregon
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Pennsylvania
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Rhode Island
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

South Carolina
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

South Dakota
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report (Revised 6/16/09)
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Tennessee
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Texas
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Utah
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Vermont
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Virginia
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Washington
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

West Virginia
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Wisconsin
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 

Wyoming
General Achievement Trends, 2009 Report
Achievement Gap Trends, 2009 Report
Worksheet Proficiency, 2009 Report
Worksheet Scale Scores, 2009 Report

 



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