Friday, December 7, 2012

California Public Schools and Performance on National Assessments


The following charts show how California's public schools performed in 2011 nation-wide testing under the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).  The NAEP tests results are published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Educational Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education.

State-by-state comparison data is available interactively from the NCES web site.

The NAEP data shows the bulk overall performance of California's public school system at the 8th-grade level compared to other states.  It does NOT reflect the performance of an individual school, an individual class, or an individual teacher.  These results also do NOT show the performance of California schools against international economic competitors.

Mathematics


The following charts use data from the full 2011 NAEP mathematics report, which includes data for both 4th and 8th graders.  Table 13 on page 48 (PDF page 50) includes the specific data for 8th-graders.  The first graph shows California's overall public-school test results compared to the results of the other 49 states plus Washington, D.C. and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).  The black bar indicates the national average for all public schools.  The burgundy bar below the California flag indicates California's overall result.  The states are arranged from best-performing to worst-performing states or authorities.  Due to statistical deviation, the relative placement of states nearby one another on the chart is approximate.  In 2011, Massachusetts had the best overall score in mathematics and Washington, D.C schools posted a distant last place.


The following chart shows how California's public schools compared over time to the best-performing state, the worst-performing state, and to the national average of all public schools.  Again, this chart uses data from the 8th-grade assessment test  found in Table 13 on page 48 (PDF page 50).  The two-letter abbreviation for the best-performing state appears in green above the the "Best Score" line.  North Dakota, Minnesota, an Massachusetts had consistently high marks in mathematics.  Washington, D.C. public schools had consistently worst marks but have been improving over time.

Reading

The following charts use data from the full 2011 NAEP reading report, which includes data for both 4th and 8th graders.  Table 15 on page 51 includes the specific data for 8th-graders.  The first graph shows California's overall public-school test results compared to the results of the other 49 states plus Washington, D.C. and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).  The black bar indicates the national average for all public schools.  The burgundy bar below the California flag indicates California's overall result.  The states are arranged from best-performing to worst-performing states or authorities.  Due to statistical deviation, the relative placement of states nearby one another on the chart is approximate.  In 2011, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont tied for the best overall score in reading and Washington, D.C schools posted a distant last place.

The following chart shows how California's public schools compared over time to the best-performing state, the worst-performing state, and to the national average of all public schools.  Again, this chart uses data from the 8th-grade assessment test  found in Table 15 on page 51.  The two-letter abbreviation for the best-performing state appears in green above the the "Best Score" line.  Massachusetts and the Department of Defense Education Authority (DoDEA) had consistently high marks in reading.  Washington, D.C. public schools had consistently worst marks.

Science

The following charts use data from the full 2011 NAEP science report.  Table 2 on page 12 includes the specific data for 8th-graders.  The first graph shows California's overall public-school test results compared to the results of the other 49 states plus Washington, D.C. and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).  The black bar indicates the national average for all public schools.  The burgundy bar below the California flag indicates California's overall result.  The states are arranged from best-performing to worst-performing states or authorities.  Due to statistical deviation, the relative placement of states nearby one another on the chart is approximate.  In 2011, North Dakota had the best overall score in science and Washington, D.C public schools posted a distant last place.


Despite California's poor performance on the 8th-grade science assessment, the California Legislature discussed cutting the 2nd year of high-school to save money.  Fortunately, saner minds ultimately prevailed and funding was preserved.  The Legislature even found money to pay for a new "gay history" state mandate.

The following chart shows how California's public schools compared over time to the best-performing state, the worst-performing state, and to the national average of all public schools.  Again, this uses data from the 8th-grade assessment test  found in Table 2 on page 12.  The two-letter abbreviation for the best-performing state appears in green above the the "Best Score" line.  North Dakota had consistently high marks in science.  The worst score in science deteriorated between 2009 and 2011.  Washington, D.C. public schools did not participate in the 2009 assessment but did in the 2011 assessment.

Is It All About Funding?
Why do California's public schools tend to perform so poorly when compared nationally?  Is it that California is not spending enough money on public education?

The following chart comes from data supplied by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  It shows the per-pupil spending on education in 2009, adjusted for regional differences in cost.  Despite that all states use a common currency--the U.S. dollar--that same dollar won't buy as much in some parts of the country.

California spends roughly 26% below than the national average.  California's low performance on the NAEP assessments seems to correlate with the low per-pupil spending on education in California.  However, there is NOT 100% correlation.  High-spending states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Vermont tend to score well on the NAEP assessments.  However, Washington, D.C. greatly out-spends California and most states but consistently ranks dead last on nearly all the NAEP assessments.  Similarly, Hawaii and Louisiana spend more than California but produce roughly equal outcomes.  Texas spends roughly the same as California, per student, but has better outcomes.  Utah spends the least of all but outperforms California and other higher-spending states.  Education success is NOT guaranteed simply by throwing more money at it.

Is it a teacher pay issue?  Compared to other states, California generally pays public school teachers relatively well, even accounting for differences in the cost of living.  However, the actual salaries vary greatly by district.


Unfortunately, public education competes with other items in California's bloated budget.  Despite near record-high state expenditures, the Democrat-controlled California Legislature and Democrat Governor Gerry Brown cut the K-12 unless voters approved a large new tax hike called Proposition 30.  Among the biggest donors to Proposition 13 were various California teachers unions, who will also be among the biggest beneficiaries of higher taxes.  California public education deserves much higher priority in California's budget but educational and budget reforms are also required.

While Proposition 30 may provide some short-term relief for California's public schools, it also burdens California with the nation's highest state sales tax rates and the nation's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th highest marginal state income tax rates.  California was already ranked among the worst business environments before Proposition 30.

2 comments:

  1. NICE BLOG!!! Education is the process of bringing desirable change into the behavior of human beings. It can also be defined as the “Process of imparting or acquiring knowledge or habits through instruction or study”. Thanks for sharing a nice information.
    Indian School of Management Mumbai Courses

    ReplyDelete