Thursday, November 18, 2010

Idaho Compares Student Achievement in 12th Grade to National Peers for First Time

Idaho’s 12th graders are performing above the national average in reading and on par with their peers nationwide in mathematics, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the only nationally representative measure of what American students know and can do.

This is the first time Idaho has ever received state-level results for NAEP in Grade 12. This year, Idaho was one of 11 states to voluntarily participate in a pilot program to release state-level results.

“Idaho volunteered to participate in this pilot program because it’s critical for us to gather data on how our high school seniors are performing if we are going to continue to improve our public education system and ensure every student graduates from an Idaho high school ready for the 21st century,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “Now, in future assessments, we have the initial data we need to begin to identify changes or trends in the reading and math achievement of our seniors.”

In addition to Idaho, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Dakota and West Virginia participated in the pilot program, allowing their state-level results for the NAEP Grade 12 in reading and mathematics to be released this year.

Superintendent Luna participated in the national conference call with the other chief state school officers from participating states and fielded questions from reporters.

Here are the results for Grade 12 students in Idaho:
  • 78 percent of Idaho’s high school seniors scored at or above grade level in reading, compared to 73 percent nationally. Of the 10 other states participating in the pilot program, none had a greater percentage of students meeting grade-level in reading than Idaho.
  • 66 percent of Idaho’s high school seniors scored at or above grade level in mathematics, which was not significantly different from the 63 percent nationally. Of the 10 other states in the pilot program, four had a greater percentage of students meeting grade-level in mathematics than Idaho.
“The results of this national Grade 12 assessment are consistent with what we have seen in our statewide assessments. The majority of Idaho students are performing well in reading and mathematics, but our goal must be for every student to graduate prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce without the need for remediation,” Superintendent Luna said. “We are on the right path and headed in the right direction, and we will continue to work until we reach our goal.”

The NAEP Grade 12 is given every four years. The next Grade 12 assessment will be given in 2013. Idaho students in grades 4 and 8 take the NAEP in reading and mathematics every two years.

More detailed information on the results of the 2009 NAEP State Grade 12 pilot program is available on the State Department of Education’s website.

~ Melissa M.

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