Major improvements in middle school math

Major improvements in middle school math

By Dale Chu

One of the most complete and accurate sources for state proficiency trend data is right here at Assessment HQ. Our Explore State Data tool allows readers to explore data trends in 32 states where four years of comparable data is available. (Additional data will be added soon.) Using the tool, we can observe the good news regarding the hard work of students and teachers in eighth grade math in Colorado, Mississippi, Nevada, and North Carolina.

Eighth grade math is often viewed as an important milestone for future success. Unfortunately, testing churn—the practice of states switching assessment vendors because of political rather than policy considerations—can make it difficult to get a clear sense of how students are doing. However, CO, MI, NV, and NC have made significant strides in eighth grade math since 2016, which we know thanks to consistent assessments.

It’s fair to point out that while these states have made progress on state tests, in most cases there are no concomitant gains on NAEP (i.e., the Nation’s Report Card). State assessments and NAEP are designed for different, yet overlapping purposes. Specifically, state tests are aimed at providing information about individual students while NAEP is designed to offer summary information at the state and national levels.

Let me hasten to say that it would be a mistake for states to use NAEP results alone to justify switching test vendors. Instead, states should be looking at the honesty gap, and whether their tests are an accurate and rigorous reflection of their state standards. This consideration is especially important for states like Nevada, Ohio, and Texas that have testing contracts slated to expire later this year.

Colorado 8th grade math is up 16.5 points since 2016 on their CMAS test. (Colorado showed no significant changes in recent NAEP results)


Mississippi 8th grade math is up 13.9 points since 2016 on their MAAP test. (Mississippi showed an increase in NAEP results)*

* NOTE: Mississippi did not have proficiency data disaggregated by student group and grade level publicly available.

Nevada 8th grade math is up 11.3 points since 2016 on their Smarter Balanced test. (Nevada showed no significant changes in recent NAEP results)

 

North Carolina 8th grade math is up 7.9 points since 2016 on their End of Grade Assessment. (North Carolina showed no significant changes in recent NAEP results)

This data only scratches the surface of what’s available on Assessment HQ. As an added bonus, by simply right clicking on the graphs, the data can be easily exported in a variety of formats to suit your needs!

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