Photo source: Alamos Basement (CC-By-2.0)
Photo source: Alamos Basement (CC-By-2.0)

Last week the NAEP (National Assessment for Educational Progress) scores were released and it appears Iowa is at best stagnant after the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.  The state of Iowa adopted the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts in 2010, but the deadline for implementation in grades K-8 was last school year.

Overall national scores are down in 2015 compared to 2013 in 4th and 8th grade math and reading.

While Iowa’s scores are above the national average they are not exemplary.

On a scale of 0-500 Iowa’s 4th graders in math dropped three points since 2013 from 246 to 243.  Only 44% of 4th graders are considered proficient which is a drop from 48% in 2013.  8th graders saw a slight uptick in their average score from 285 in 2013 to 286 in 2015.  The percentage of 8th graders proficient in math ticked up one percent from 36 percent to 37 percent.

Iowa’s 4th graders in reading saw no change from 2013 with an average score of 224.  It should be noted that Iowa’s highest average score in reading among 4th graders – 225 was accomplished in 2007 and 1992 before Iowa forced reading standards onto local school districts.  Only 38% of Iowa’s 4th graders are considered proficient in reading.

Iowa’s 8th graders saw a one point drop in their average score in reading.  In 2013 the average score was 269.  In 2015 it is 268.  The proficiency rate also dropped from 37 percent to 36 percent.

Common Core advocates have claimed that the standards will help close the achievement gap, but there is little evidence of that.

Iowa saw the achievement gap in math between white and black 4th graders shrink by four points compared to 2013.  There were a 30 point difference in 2013 compared to 26 in 2015.  The achievement gap has still grown significantly since the Iowa Core was introduced.  In 8th grade math the achievement gap has increased by three points, and has grown each report card since the Iowa Core was introduced.

The achievement gap between white students and hispanic students in 4th grade math has increased by seven points.  In 8th grade math there was a decrease of three points, but it is still higher than it was in 2011.

Among Iowa’s 4th graders there is a four point increase in the achievement gap between white students and black students since 2013 in reading.  Black students saw a five point drop in their average score. The achievement gap between white 4th graders and hispanic 4th graders increased by one point because the average score of white students went up slightly while hispanic students average scores went down one point.

As with 4th graders, there is a growing achievement gap between white students and black students in 8th grade reading.  There was a three point increase since 2013 and a five point increase since 2011. The achievement gap between white 8th graders and hispanic 8th graders was reduced by one point because the average score of white students went down by one point from 2013.

So this is the miraculous change we were supposed to see after Common Core was implemented?

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