The most recent results of the Nation’s Report Card provide a good indicator of how Idaho students will perform in 2015 when they are first measured against the higher and more rigorous Idaho Core Standards.
Currently, the Nation’s Report Card is the only assessment that compares student achievement from state to state. It measures a sample size of students in reading and mathematics in grades 4 and 8 every two years and compares this data among states. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna serves on the National Assessment Governing Board that oversees this assessment.
Because 45 states worked together to develop and then voluntarily adopt common academic standards in mathematics and English language arts, states soon will be able to better compare student achievement results in the future at not only a state but also a district and even a school level.
“In education, we use data to make the best possible decisions for Idaho students and their future. The Nation’s Report is no different. This data provides a good indicator for us to show parents, students, teachers, and the public how Idaho students might perform when first measured against the higher, more rigorous Idaho Core Standards in 2015,” Superintendent Luna said.
The results show that approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of Idaho students will be performing on grade level in reading and mathematics against the higher academic standards.
These are similar to results other states, such as Kentucky and New York, saw the first time they measured students against higher standards. Kentucky now has tested students for two years and has already seen positive results from implementing higher standards. In 2010, only 34 percent of Kentucky students graduated prepared for college or career. Now, 54 percent are graduating prepared, a significant increase in the number of students who now do not need to take remedial courses once they go on to postsecondary.
Superintendent Luna has said as Idaho raises its academic standards, we should anticipate fewer students will reach grade-level proficiency in the first few years. This trend will not be new. The state saw similar results when it first administered the ISAT in 2003.
“It is not because our students woke up one day and were not as smart as they were the day before. It is because our students are working to meet a higher bar, learning at a higher level, and that is a good thing for every child and for their future,” Superintendent Luna said.
Idaho voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards as Idaho’s Core Standards in mathematics and English language arts and literacy in 2011 to ensure every Idaho student graduates from high school ready to go on to postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation.
The Idaho Core Standards are higher than Idaho’s previous academic standards in these subject areas and comparable with any other state or any other country in the world to make sure every student graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce.
The standards now are being taught across grades K-12 in Idaho’s public schools. All students will first be tested against these higher standards in Spring 2015.
Until the first test is administered, the 2013 results of the Nation’s Report Card can serve as a good indicator of how Idaho’s students might perform against the higher standards because the Nation’s Report Card has worked to measure academic achievement among all state standards through different question types, including open-ended and constructed response.
The Nation’s Report Card reports different levels of student achievement results. The “Basic” level of student achievement is equivalent to what Idaho reports as grade level, or “proficient,” on our statewide assessment, the ISAT.
Because Idaho raised its academic standards, NAEP’s “Proficient” level is more telling. This score more accurately reflect how Idaho students will likely perform when the state first administers the new test aligned to Idaho Core Standards.
Here are the results for Idaho students scoring Proficient or above on the 2013 Nation’s Report Card:
- In fourth grade mathematics, 40 percent of Idaho students scored at or above Proficient. Nationwide, 42 percent of students scored at or above Proficient.
- In fourth grade reading, 33 percent of Idaho students scored at or above Proficient. These results are similar to those reported in 2011. Nationwide, 35 percent of students scored at or above Proficient.
- In eighth grade mathematics, 36 percent of Idaho students scored at or above Proficient. These results are similar to those reported in 2011. Nationwide, 35 percent of students scored at or above Proficient.
- In eight grade reading, 38 percent of Idaho students scored at or above Proficient. Nationwide, 36 percent of students scored at or above Proficient.
“I applaud Idaho’s eighth grade students for continuing to outpace their peers across the nation in reading and mathematics,” Superintendent Luna said. “It is clear our investments in the Idaho Reading and Math Initiatives and the hard work of Idaho’s teachers are paying dividends to help in better preparing Idaho students for higher levels of reading and mathematics, especially when compared to their peers across the country.”
Eighth grade students scored an average 286 in mathematics, higher than the national average of 284. In reading, eighth graders scored an average 270, higher than the national average of 266. In addition, Idaho increased the percent of students scoring Proficient or above in reading on the Nation’s Report Card from 34 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2013.
Idaho’s new assessment in Spring 2015 will replace the ISAT and provide a new baseline of data for Idaho students and teachers going forward. Once we know where Idaho students stand against the new, higher standards, Idaho’s teachers can help students rise to meet this new challenge.
“We know Idaho students and teachers are ready to meet this challenge. It will not happen overnight, but we will reach the goal of every child graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce,” Superintendent Luna said. “We have had standards in place since 2002. Each time we raise academic standards, Idaho teachers make sure students meet the goals we have set for them, and we know we will see the same success as we implement the new Idaho Core Standards.”
For more information on the results of the 2013 Nation’s Report Card, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/naep/IdahoResults.htm or http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/.