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There is plenty of good news in the California ‘report card’ scores

LA School Report | October 29, 2015

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By Louis Freedberg

Against the backdrop of enthusiasm regarding new reforms underway in California, from the Common Core to the Local Control Funding Formula, the just-released scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, brought a brush with reality.

Mirroring national results, scores in California on 4th-grade math dipped by 2 points and in 8th-grade math by 1 point compared with 2013, the last time the NAEP (pronounced nape) was administered. In reading, scores were flat in 4th-grade but dropped by 3 points in 8th-grade.

California continued to rank near the bottom compared with other states. In 4th-grade reading it ranked 49th, and ranked 43d in 8th-grade reading. In math, the state ranked near the bottom as well.

But what exactly do these scores tell us? It turns out that much depends on which scores one chooses to focus on, what time frame one looks at, and whether one looks at growth in scores rather than at scores at fixed points in time.

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