One of the first to report, US News is already online saying that “NAEP Shows Little to No Gains in Math, Reading for U.S. Students,” NAEP being the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress.
But, echoing concerns I discussed several days ago, in what might become one of the biggest credibility challenges NAEP has ever faced, the US News article also reports:
“Tuesday’s results, however, were undercut by the fact that the test was administered digitally for the first time via a tablet device. Research shows students tend to score worse on digital assessments than on traditional paper tests, prompting some state education officials and policymakers to dismiss the results ahead of their release, despite Carr’s insistence that NCES researchers properly accounted for the change.”
Well, the NAEP Data Explorer tool is now loaded with 2017 data, so I will be busy today.
But, the problem is that while federal folks in charge of the NAEP say the results are fine, those federal folks have made mistakes with NAEP before (Example, the 1994 NAEP Reading Assessment “First Look” report had to be completely reissued after independent researchers discovered a scoring error that impacted many state results in the original release).
So, while I will be looking at the scores, I will have to wait a long time for independent researchers to weigh in on what really happened with the 2017 NAEP and how much we can rely on its message that performance generally stayed pretty flat across the country. Maybe so, or maybe NAEP has just proved again something we’ve recently seen with other digital testing – going digital could change what gets measured into a test of digital skills as much as a test of reading and math.