The headline trumpets “Promising” gains and the big news is that the cohort now in 4th grade went from 70% advanced/proficient in reading when they were 3d gaders to 81% as 4th graders. The story also notes that math scores remain dismal and that the current 3d grade cohort’s advanced proficient number is only 51%.
One thing not noted is that this gain of 11% represents exactly 4 more students scoring advanced/proficient (from 29 to 33, because of mobility issues cohorts change and students who were not at the school a full year are not reported — of the current 4th grade at Nuestro Mundo, 3 students are not reported because of this).
More good news is that low income advanced/proficient raw numbers went from 6 to 10 for the cohort (the cohort went from 12 to 16 in total low income, so it is impossible to say if any individual moved up) , limited English from 5 to 6 (cohort was constant) and Hispanic from 6 to 7 (also a constant cohort number).
All good, but really too little change or information to justify any action or inaction. Data should inform actions, but not drive them. Do we really want a system where decisions are made based on how 1 or 2 or 3 kids test on a given day?
So congrats for the gains to the Nuestro Mundo staff, students and families and a plea for all — especially policy makers — to keep the good and bad standardized test scores in perspective.
Thomas J. Mertz