Report connecting NAEP scores and Common Core is weak, review finds

From the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

A report connecting low-income students’ NAEP achievement to states’ adoption of standards-based policies, specifically adoption of the Common Core, is weak and poorly presented, an expert review shows. Even if the omissions and shortcomings of the report were remedied, the analysis only provides a very narrow snapshot of how policy might connect to practice.

The review of the Center for American Progress (CAP) report, “Lessons From state Performance on NAEP: Why some high-poverty students score better than others,” finds that it employs inappropriate research methods, fails to adequately define its approach, and reports only incomplete findings from its analyses. Additionally, according to the review, the report does not adequately describe variables or analytic methods, and the data and methods used do not allow for any causal findings.

The review, which was conducted for the National Education Policy Center’s Think Twice think tank review project with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, also finds that while the report claims to analyze changes across five separate two-year intervals, it only reports findings for 2009-2011. And the positive results are statistically significant only at the generally unacceptable 0.10 level of significance.

The report attempted to examine the impact of standards-based policies between 2003 and 2013. The report explored whether states’ adoption of standards-based policies predicts low-income students’ NAEP achievement trends in fourth and eighth grade math and reading.

WEAC partners with the Great Lakes Center to provide timely, academically sound reviews of selected education-related publications. WEAC President Betsy Kippers sits on the Great Lakes Board of Directors and shares this review exposing one report’s weak conclusions that the difference between NAEP scores of low-income students in states was the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

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