That’s the narrative you hear coming from policymakers and some advocates who suggest Tennessee’s third grade reading scores indicate trouble. While there is certainly room for improvement, the rest of the available information simply does not align with these claims. Here’s an example of one such claim from the Tennessee Department of Education regarding third- and fourth-grade reading scores:
Overall, less than half of our third and fourth graders are reading on grade level based on state tests
As former educator and state legislator Gloria Johnson explains, that’s simply not the case based on available evidence:
The 2019 NAEP scores are out, they test kids a few months in to the 4th grade year. The 2019 test shows that 66% of TN 4th (3 1/2) graders are reading on grade level. Sure, I’d like to see it higher, we have work to do. In 8th grade it’s 73%.
However, when you hear someone say only 33% of 3rd graders are reading on grade level (and I hear it constantly), how could that be possible? How could 33% more get on grade level in a couple of months? Are our 4th grade teachers wizards?
No, people either don’t understand how to read the results or they are intentionally being misleading. According to NAEP’s groupings, Basic means reading on grade level. Proficient on NAEP means “demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter,” which experts interpret as high achievement.
What does that mean? 66% of kids read on grade level on the NAEP test. Don’t let someone try to give you that lower number, it’s not accurate, correct them.
You can see the 2019 scores here..
Now I just have to get the Education Committee on board because the “experts” feeding them info aren’t very expert.
You can find plenty of articles explaining this, here is one.
Johnson raises a great point: If NAEP says 66% of our kids are reading at grade level in fourth grade, why does TNReady suggest less than half of third graders read at grade level? These numbers don’t match.
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