Iowa high school seniors who took national math and reading exams in 2013 scored just about the same as Iowa 12th graders did back in 2009. The National Assessment of Educational Progress released the scores this morning and Jay Pennington of the Iowa Department of Education has reviewed the numbers.
“It shows stagnant growth over that period of time,” Pennington says.
While minority students’ scores are lower, Pennington says the most “startling fact” in the report is that white students in Iowa are “significantly underperforming” compared to the rest of the nation.
) “So some of the ed reform efforts that were passed and are currently being implemented need to continue and so I don’t want these results to echo that we need to change course,” Pennington says. “In fact, I think what this shows us is that we really need to think about those initiatives, such as teacher leadership and compensation, and integrate them with fidelity into the work that we’re doing within schools and buildings which should have an impact on student achievement.”
The “Iowa Core” which pushes schools to make courses tougher and raise standards is important, too, according to Pennington.
“We really need to think about increased rigor,” Pennington says. “How can we integrate these standards in a way that is going to challenge students and ultimately result in higher achievement?”
The average score for Iowa students who take the ACT routines ranks among the nation’s highest, but Pennington points out only 66 percent of Iowa high school seniors take the ACT. The National Assessment of Educational Progress addresses all students, not just those heading to college.