Last week we shared a letter from education reformer Kati Haycock of The Education Trust who urged caution when considering the results of the recent report on CRCT answer-sheet erasures. This week brings another interesting article, from Karin Chenoweth, Education Trust senior writer and author of How It’s Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools. Writing for the Encyclopedia Brittanica blog, Chenoweth emphasizes a similar amount of restraint when looking at the CRCT report. (Learn more about the report and other information at Atlanta Public Schools‘ information page at the District Web here.)
In the article, Chenoweth explains the need to consider the gains made by APS that might help put the CRCT report in perspective:
Before jumping on the “Atlanta must be cheating” bandwagon, it might be worth looking at another source of information about how the city is doing academically.
Every two years, the U.S. Department of Education administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to a randomly selected sample of fourth and eighth-graders in both reading and math. NAEP is virtually impossible to cheat on because no one has advance copies, and it is not just a bubble-sheet test. It has a lot of questions where students have to write out their answers and show their work. Besides, it is administered by contractors independently engaged by the feds, not by school districts. Also, there are no stakes attached to NAEP test results: No one gets a bonus because of NAEP results, nor do people get fired.
Eleven cities have agreed to be “oversampled” so that we can see how they are doing in relation to their state. Atlanta is one of these cities.
And sure enough, just as on the state tests, Atlanta has been improving faster than the rest of the state.