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LAUSD’s results on Nation’s Report Card dip along with state, nation

Craig Clough | October 28, 2015

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Standardized TestingScores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card, were released today, and LA Unified’s overall performance took a slight dip — same as scores in California and the nation.

It was the first time scores slipped for the district and California since the state’s students started taking the test in 2003, and the first time scores fell nationally since the test began in 1990.

The national test is given every other year to fourth and eight graders in reading and math. Compared with 21 other large cities, LA Unified was in the bottom third and below average in all categories.

Overall, LA Unified’s decline was slight. Fourth graders scored a 224 in math, four points lower than in 2013. In reading, fourth graders fell one point to 205. Eighth graders fell one point in math to 263 but improved by one point in reading.

There were some demographic improvements, LA Unified pointed out.

“Several of our subgroups made promising gains on the eighth-grade reading assessment – notably, African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and disabled students,” the district said in a statement.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten blamed the performance slip on increased class time spent on standardized tests. Over the weekend, the Obama administration announced a plan to reduce and limit the amount of standardized tests students are given.

“Not only is there plenty of anecdotal evidence that our kids have suffered, these latest NAEP scores again show that the strategy of testing and sanctioning, coupled with austerity, does not work,” Weingarten said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested the large-scale implementation of the new Common Core standards may have played a role in the dip.

“We should expect scores in this period to bounce around some, and I think that ‘implementation dip’ is part of what we’re seeing here,” Duncan said, according to the Associated Press. “I would caution everyone to be careful about drawing conclusions … anyone who claims to have this all figured out is pedaling a personal agenda, rather than an educational one.”

Others were less forgiving of the Common Core transition as an excuse for the drop.

“Any way you look at it, today’s NAEP results are sobering. Compared with results from 2013, scores for the nation’s low-income students and students of color mirror those of all other students: mostly flat or declining performance,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, in a statement. “While there may be plausible explanations for these patterns — among them the disruptions caused by the transition to new standards — any interruption of the slow but steady progress these groups have made over the past two decades is cause for great concern.”

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