Thursday, May 5, 2011

Students Show No Gains In Civics

The Answer Sheet Blog reports that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows "[b]igger percentages -- but nowhere near a majority -- of students tested in grades 4, 8 and 12 scored at the proficient level . . . "  The more depressing fact is that there seems to be no increase in those who illustrate an advanced knowledge of civics.
Students who performed at the advanced level, which represents superior performance:
— 2 percent of 4th graders
— 1 percent of 8th graders
— 4 percent of 12th graders.
There were no significant changes in the percentages of students at all of these grades in the advanced category compared to 2006 and 1998 administrations of the tests.
Even more depressing is the fact that the percentage of students at or above proficient has decreased since 2006.
Sixty-four percent of students performed at or above the Basic level in 2010, and 24 percent performed at or above the Proficient level (figure 21). The percentage of students at or above Proficient in 2010 was lower than in 2006 but not significantly different from the percentage in 1998. The percentages of students at or above Basic and at Advanced were not significantly different from the percentages in 2006 or 1998. [page 35 of pdf]
The report doesn't give a state by state breakdown, so there's no way to know how South Dakota students performed.  Since Melody Schopp and Governor Daugaard believe STEM is more important than other academic pursuits, it's unlikely anyone at South Dakota's DOE will care.  It would be refreshing to hear that the true purpose of education is to help students prepare themselves for participating in a democracy and see an emphasis on civics, but I won't hold my breath.

Oh well, students may be able to use Yahoo to find out what our government is supposed to be just like they used it to find out who Bin Laden was.

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