How Well Are American Students Learning?
The latest annual report on the state of education from the Brookings Institution takes a stab at some common perceptions about student achievement that “do not make sense.”
Low proficiency rates on national assessments, for example, do not spell the failure that many observers claim; private school enrollments do not reflect their purported superiority over public schools; and the impact of more instructional time on mathematics learning is not clear-cut.
The 7th edition of the Brown Center Report on American Education suggests, for example, that results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress are not as dismal as they may seem. The large proportions of American students who do not meet the standard for proficient on the various subject area tests administered under the national assessment program, the report states, are a function of the relatively high cutoff scores used for determining proficiency on national assessments. They are set too high, the report suggests.
A version of this article appeared in the December 19, 2007 edition of Education Week