Prichard’s comments about Jefferson County NAEP scores are off target

Just when it looked like the Prichard Committee was “getting it” about Jefferson County Public Schools, they just posted comments in their blog about the new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores from a special run known as “The Trial Urban District Assessment” (TUDA).

Only, Prichard just blindly compared Jefferson County’s overall scores to other, true urban districts who took part, creating an image that Jefferson County was doing just great compared to similar school systems.

A few days ago, I wrote about why Jefferson County’s very different student demographics make such simplistic comparisons with TUDA to real urban districts complete nonsense.

Here is another graph I assembled that makes this quite clear: Jefferson County Public Schools do not serve a student population anywhere close to that served by the true urban districts that took part in the TUDA.

Note that the Jefferson County percentage of white students in fourth grade is identical to the national average for all school districts, urban, suburban and rural combined, and far above the percentage found in any other TUDA participating urban district.

There is simply no way that Jefferson County’s new NAEP results can fairly be compared to true urban school districts, which, unlike Jefferson County, have not absorbed their upscale suburbs into their jurisdictions.

Prichard won’t let me post comments in their blog any more, so maybe one of our readers will let them know that their comparisons don’t make sense.