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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NAEP Math Results -- Detailed Analysis Is Not Good News for Bloomberg and Klein

The recently released Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) results on the 2009 NAEP Math exam provide enough detailed data to explore NYC’s math education performance by ethnic group and family income. In addition, and perhaps most informatively, NYC’s progress can be compared in each category against the nine other cities that have participated in TUDA since 2003 (Austin began in 2005, and seven more cities began just this year). The results go a long way for assessing whether New York’s progress under mayoral control is notably different, for better or worse, than in these other cities.

The bottom line is decidedly mixed – favorable improvement at Grade 4 in total and for White, Black, Hispanic and Free Lunch Eligible breakdowns compared to the other TUDA cities, middling to poor comparative improvement at Grade 8 in all those same categories, and almost exclusively poor comparative performance at both grade levels on Black/White and Hispanic/White achievement gaps. After six years of learning under the Bloomberg/Klein mayoral control regime, Grade 8 students demonstrated almost uniformly poor performance gains on the NAEP math exam compared to other TUDA cities.

Let’s begin with the basics – improvement in average score and percentage of students at Proficient and Advanced. As the abbreviated table below shows, NYC’s comparative performance over six years placed it third out of ten cities for Grade 4 average math score (barely ahead of Atlanta and San Diego) and achievement level, but near the bottom of those same ten cities for Grade 8 average score increase and in the middle of the pack for Grade 8 achievement level increases. The clear overall winners in comparative performance on these measures were Boston and San Diego, with Houston also showing notably well at in both Grade 8 measures.

--------------------------NYC ------Rank -------------------- Other Cities

INCREASE IN AVERAGE SCORE
-------- Grade 4 ----- +11 ------- 3 of 10 ---------- Boston (+16), D.C. (+15)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +7 --------- 8 of 10 --------- Boston (+18), San Diego (+16),
---------------------------------------------------- Atlanta (+15), Houston (+13), LA (+13)

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED
-------- Grade 4 ----- +14 ------- 3 of 10 ---------- Boston (+19), San Diego (+16)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +7 --------- 4* of 10 --------- Boston (+14), San Diego (+14),
------------------------------------------------------------- Houston (+12)
* Three-way tie with D.C. and LA

Breaking things down by racial group, NYC students showed solid increases across racial groups in percentage of students Proficient or Advanced at Grade 4, ranking third out of ten cities for White students (+16) , second for Black students (+9), and fourth for Hispanic students (+11). At Grade 8 level, however, NYC ranked sixth (tied with Cleveland) out of eight (Atlanta and DC did not meet NAEP reporting requirements for Grade 8) for White students, fifth (tied with Chicago and LA) for Black students, and eighth out of eight for Hispanic students. In other words, at Grade 8 level, NYC students’ increases ranked next to last for Whites and Blacks and dead last for Hispanics.

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED -- WHITE
-------- Grade 4 ----- +16 ------- 3 of 10 ---------- Boston (+19), San Diego (+16)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +7 --------- 6* of 8 --------- Boston (+14), San Diego (+14),
------------------------------------------------------------- Houston (+12)
* Tied with Cleveland

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED -- BLACK
-------- Grade 4 ----- +9 ------- 2 of 10 ---------- Boston (+17)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +3 --------- 5* of 8 --------- Boston (+12), San Diego (+9),
------------------------------------------------------------- Houston (+6), Charlotte (+6)
* Three-way tie with Chicago and LA

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED – HISPANIC
-------- Grade 4 ----- +11 ------- 4 of 9 ---------- D.C. (+18), Boston (+17), Houston (+13)
-------- Grade 8 ----- (-1) --------- 8 of 8 --------- Boston (+13), Houston (+12,)
------------------------------------------------------------- Chicago (+11), San Diego (+8)

In terms of achievement gaps, the Black/White gap actually grew worse, increasing seven points in Grade 4 (from 30 percentage points in 2003 to 37 in 2009) and four points in Grade 8 (from 31 percentage points in 2003 to 35 in 2009). For Grade 4, this gap increase was eighth worse out of ten cities, while at Grade 8 it was second out of eight cities. The picture was even worse for the
White/Hispanic achievement gap, increasing five points in Grade 4 (from 29 to 34 percentage points) and eight points in Grade 8 (from 25 to 33 percentage points). Thus, in the White/Hispanic achievement gap for both grades, these results placed NYC in ties for second to last out of the cities reported by NAEP.

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED – BLACK/WHITE GAP
-------- Grade 4 ----- +7 ------- 8 of 10 ---------- Boston (+19), San Diego (+16)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +4 --------- 2 of 10 --------- Charlotte (-3)

INCREASE IN % PROFICIENT AND ADVANCED – HISPANIC/WHITE GAP
-------- Grade 4 ----- +5 ------- 6* of 9 ---------- Cleveland (-9), D.C. (-8), LA (-6),
------------------------------------------------------------- Houston (-5)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +8 ------- 6** of 8 --------- Boston (+14), San Diego (+14),
------------------------------------------------------------- Houston (+12)
* Three-way tie with Charlotte and Chicago
** Tied with Houston

Looking at average scores instead of proficiency levels, NYC ranked fourth out of ten cities on change from 2003 to 2009 in the White/Black performance gap and third out of eight cities at Grade 8. For the White/Hispanic performance gap, NYC ranked sixth out of ten cities at Grade 4 and dead last, eighth out of eight cities, for Grade 8.

Finally, we can look at changes in average score for Free Lunch Eligible and Free Lunch Ineligible students. By this breakdown, NYC ranked well (second out of ten) for Grade 4 Free Lunch Eligible but poorly in the other three categories (Grade 4 Free Lunch Ineligible – tied for last, Grade 8 Free Lunch Eligible (tied for seventh out of 10 cities), and Grade 8 Free Lunch Ineligible (last, ninth out of nine cities).

INCREASE IN AVERAGE SCORE – FREE LUNCH ELIGIBLE
-------- Grade 4 ----- +11 ------- 2 of 10 ---------- Boston (+15)
-------- Grade 8 ----- +9 --------- 7* of 10 --------- Boston (+17), San Diego (+16),
---------------------------------------------------- Atlanta (+14), LA (+14)
* Tied with Cleveland

INCREASE IN AVERAGE SCORE – FREE LUNCH INELIGIBLE
-------- Grade 4 ----- +5 ------- 8* of 9 ---------- Boston (+16), D.C. (+15)
-------- Grade 8 ----- (-10) ---- 9 of 9 --------- LA (+36), D.C. (+22), Houston (+20),
------------------------------------------------ Atlanta (+18), Boston (+17), San Diego (+17)
* Tied with Charlotte

Michael Bloomberg’s campaign for his third mayoral term was predicated in no small part on his claims to be NYC’s “education mayor” as justified and bolstered by NYS exam scores and a host of other self-generated statistics. Comparative analysis of TUDA results shows that those claims as measured by NAEP are suspect at best, and whatever gains are being achieved are coming at what for many is far too high a price.

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