So where has No Child Left Behind (NCLB) gotten us to this point? Those in favor of it, have been touting the higher grades students have been “achieving” (and they MUST achieve them for the schools to continue to receive money). But according to a study reported in AMNewYork, Students’ skills are sinking as grades rise.
Twelth-graders’ reading skills have hit a new low, but their grades continue to climb, according to federal officials who suspect the nation’s schools are inflating grades.
Suspicions that teens’ rising grade-point averages may be unmerited are fueled by two new national reports released yesterday at a Washington, D.C., news conference. Both reports are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a U.S.-sponsored program that tests representative samples of students in academic subjects.
According to one report, the latest nationwide test results in 12th-grade reading have hit their lowest point since testing in that subject first began. On average, students nationwide scored 286 on a scale of zero to 500 during the last round of tests in 2005 â€” down one point from 2002 and six points from the first year, 1992.
Meanwhile, grade-point averages have continued their steady rise, according to a companion report on high-school transcripts. In 1990, the typical students’ grade average in English was 2.52 out of a possible 4.0, or the equivalent of a C-plus. By 2005, the typical grade average was 2.82, equivalent to a B-minus.
Federal authorities say they can’t be sure whether this reflects a conscious effort by schools to puff students’ achievements, or whether it may involve other factors as well, such as teacher inexperience in grading.
Of course they “can’t be sure.” If they accuse the schools of making a conscience effort of puffing students grades, there goes the whole NCLB actually working argument, and they can’t have that. But attempting to come up with a different rational explanation is apparently quite difficult… so far. But, don’t worry, I am sure they will figure out a way to blame somebody. They are not going to allow their steppingstone to class-warfare and elite privatization of the school system fall. (Go ahead, give a more valid explanation of what NCLB is than a way to justify school vouchers and privatizing the school system).