Thursday, April 14, 2011

When rigorous isn’t rigorous

A new study of student performance has just been released from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The study “presents information about the types of courses that high school graduates in the class of 2009 took during high school, how many credits they earned, and the grades they received. Information on the relationships between high school course taking records and performance in mathematics and science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is also included.”

Sadly, if you read the “America’s High School Graduates, Results of the 2009 NAEP High School Transcript Study” report’s executive summary, you would never know what the Education Trust says is shown in the report. EdTrust points out:

“High-Level Curriculum Not Always ‘Rigorous’

Students need rigorous coursework to prepare them for success in college and the workplace. Years of advocacy and policy change have resulted in more students—particularly students of color—taking high-level courses. Now, a new study reveals that access to these classes does not always equate with high-quality instruction. Some courses appear to be “rigorous” in name only.

Data from the 2009 High School Transcript Study, by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), show that the more rigorous coursework is helping, but disparities still exist. African-American graduates who took a rigorous curriculum scored 45 points higher on the NAEP mathematics exam than those who took a standard curriculum.

However, performance gaps persisted between cohorts of students completing what is, supposedly, the same level of curriculum. Latinos completing a mid-level curriculum, for instance, performed about as well on the NAEP mathematics and science assessments as white graduates completing a below standard curriculum. African-American graduates taking the most rigorous curriculum, meanwhile, performed about as well as white graduates following a mid-level curriculum.

To prepare students for today's global economy, all must have access to rigorous courses that live up to their name.”

You have to go all the way to page 40 in the report and interpret the graphs for yourself to see that EdTrust is right.

Why didn’t the people who created this federally funded report spot that?

Good show, EdTrust.

Pay more attention to the endemic gaps, NCES!

No comments: