'Anomaly' in 1986 Reading Results Is Reconfirmed

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Washington--In issuing its report last week on trends in reading performance since 1971, the National Assessment of Educational Progress once again omitted results from its "anomalous" 1985-86 test.

Instead, it released a new analysis of the findings, which confirmed that the anomaly in the test's results was most likely caused by a change in the test design, and did not reflect a significant drop in student achievement.

When the 1986 results were first compiled, in 1987, naep officials noted large unexplained declines in the performance of 9- and 17-year-olds, compared with the 1984 results. (See Education Week, Jan. 20, 1988.)

Because these results appeared er4roneous, and did not appear to reflect genuine declines in student achievement, naep officials agreed to delay reporting them until after naep and an Education Department study group had completed separate studies. The report on the results, released in 1988, did not compare the findings with those of prior years.

In addition to studying possible causes, the officials agreed to test students during the 1988 assessment to determine if the 1986 results were genuine.

A report on that analysis, "The Effect of Changes in the National Assessment: Disentangling the naep 1985-86 Reading Anomaly," concludes that average reading proficiency declined slightly between81984 and 1986 at all age levels, and that in 1988 students rebounded to their 1984 levels.

But these results "are not fully understood," the report states, and naep officials again agreed not to report the "questionable" 1986 results.

The report concludes that the declines observed in 1987 probably reflect the fact that the assessors asked 1984 questions in a different context in 1986.

In the future, the authors recommend, naep should use new items to gauge long-range trends only after they have been used in two consecutive assessments.

"When measuring change, do not change the measure," the report concludes.--rr

Vol. 09, Issue 17

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >