No, I didn’t actually state this exact position (though I have made similar comments). This quote comes from Bert D. Stoneberg, the NAEP State Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Education. In a refreshing example that state educators can provide accurate and honest information to the public, Stoneberg published “Please Don’t Use NAEP Scores to Rank Order the 50 States” in 2005 in “Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation,” an on line journal.
Unfortunately, members of the “KERA Amen Chorus,” as the Paducah Sun once dubbed them, will do exactly what experts like Stoneberg know is inappropriate. These misguided souls will toss the mathematics of statistical sampling into the wind as they blithely rank all 50 states without the slightest hint to their readers that the scores they are ranking are not that precise. Thus, it is possible for one state to get a higher score even though the other state actually does a somewhat better job.
For more on the pitfalls that everyone from newspaper reporters to some less enlightened state educators fall into with the NAEP, check out my freedomkentucky.org Wiki item, “The National Assessment of Educational Progress.”