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NEA on NAEP Scores

Lily Eskelsen García: NAEP scores are another piece of the puzzle

WASHINGTON - October 28, 2015 -

Earlier today the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), better known as The Nation’s Report Card, released results from The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Mathematics and Reading. The report provides comparisons over time for students overall and for specific groups, including race, ethnicity and gender.

The following can be attributed to National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García.

“The recent release of the NAEP scores once again demonstrates what educators have said all along. The effectiveness of a system cannot be judged by a single test score. Scores should be viewed in context, over time and, just because a single test scores goes down (or up) it does not represent the complexity of the system or mean good things are not happening.

“For example, high school graduation rates have increased, the drop-out rate for Hispanic students has decreased and the number of minority students going to college has been rising. We are more focused than ever on closing the opportunity gaps. The opportunity to learn is the foundation of everything. The NAEP scores are just another piece of the puzzle that provides information we need to ensure all students succeed.

“Of course there are issues we need to address. We as a nation haven’t addressed one of the main issues affecting our students’ ability to achieve – the effects of poverty on our students. Over half of our country’s public school children live in poverty. It’s time for our nation to face up to that challenge, and we must start by acknowledging that the effects of poverty are pervasive. Children can’t learn in school if they lack nutritious food, a safe place to sleep or access to health care, and our society must address those needs.

“The question is, how do we ensure every child has the opportunity to realize their full potential? We can invest in early childhood education. We can fully fund all schools. We can make the teaching profession attractive and support teachers. We can value the collaboration between parents, educators, administrators, communities and elected officials. We can stop punishing schools, educators and students with high-stakes tests.

“NEA has been at the forefront pushing for limits on time spent on standardized tests, as well as eliminating the high stakes that accompany standardized tests while preserving diagnostic assessments that help students and inform educators.

“Last week U .S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that the Obama administration will work to limit over testing. We are optimistic that President Obama and Secretary Duncan have learned from the students, parents and educators who see first-hand that over-testing acts as a barrier to student success and takes away time to learn. But that’s just one lesson. With a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the horizon, we hope this decision leads the administration and all policy makers also to address the high stakes that too often accompany these standardized tests.

“We absolutely must ensure that all of our students, regardless of their Zip code, can succeed. We need to look at all the pieces of the puzzle- not just one set of scores- and make the necessary changes to better serve our students today and tomorrow.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


Contact: Celeste F. Busser, Senior Press Officer