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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:   51  

POLICY CODE:   ILBC  

 

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             October 19, 2005

SUBJECT:      Maine's 4th Grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Mathematics Scores Continue to Rise

I am pleased to announce the National Assessment of Educational Progress results today.   The following is the text of a press release issued by the Maine Department of Education upon the publication of 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for Maine today.   For Maine Department of Education interpretation of these data, including color coded charts and maps, please go to the Maine NAEP website. To access the Maine NAEP website, go to the Department of Education website www.state.me.us/education/homepage   click on “Standards and Assessments” on the left side and then click on “NAEP’ in the drop-down window.   Please direct all inquiries regarding NAEP to J. H. Kennedy, NAEP State Coordinator for Maine, at 207-624-6636 or e-mail: john.kennedy@maine.gov.

Maine's 4th Grade NAEP Mathematics Scores Continue to Rise; Reading Scores Among the Highest in the Nation

Subgroup comparisons show Maine making progress in No Child Left Behind objectives.  

Contact:   J. H. Kennedy, NAEP State Coordinator

207-624-6636 (john.kennedy@maine.gov)

This morning at 10 a.m., the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) released Reading and Mathematics results for the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered in Maine between January 21 and February 18 of this year.

The 2005 NAEP was the largest sampling ever of U.S. students, creating finer distinctions in the measurement of performance than in the past.   At the 4th grade, 338,000 students across the Nation were sampled; at the 8th grade, 321,000.   In Maine, approximately 2500 students were sampled at each grade.

Nationally, average scaled scores for Grade 4 Mathematics (237) and Grade 4 Reading (217) were up from 2003.   The Nation's average scaled score for Grade 8 Mathematics (278) was up from 2003, and the Grade 8 Reading (260) score was down.   By comparison, Maine’s 4th grade Mathematics score was up and Reading score was unchanged from 2003.   Maine’s 8th grade Mathematics and Reading scores were unchanged also.

Maine's average scaled score for Grade 4 NAEP Mathematics (241) increased by 3 points from 2003, mirroring a 4 point increase in 4th grade Mathematics on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) between 2004 and 2005.   NAEP scores for 4th grade Mathematics have increased by 11 points since 1990; MEA scores for 4th grade Mathematics have increased by 7 points in the same period.   Although NAEP and MEA scales cannot be compared directly, the comparable increase in scores confirms an improvement in the performance of these students.

Maine’s Grade 4 Reading and Grade 8 Reading and Mathematics average scaled scores for Maine remained stable and higher than the scores for the Nation in these subjects:

Maine 4th grade Reading

225

Maine 8th grade Reading

270

Maine 8th grade Mathematics

281

For 8th grade Reading, the percentage of Maine students At or Above Proficient (38%) remained significantly higher than the national percentage (29%).   The percentage of Maine 8th graders At or Above Basic in Reading was 81% in 2005 (compared to 71% for the Nation).

Maine does not have sufficient Asian, Black, Hispanic, or Indian populations to generate scores for these subgroups.   Comparing White populations across states can be misleading because of the extremely wide range of socioeconomic status in this subgroup.    Maine’s sample in 2005 was 97% White; this subgroup represented 57% of the Nation’s sample.   The emphasis of the No Child Left Behind Act is upon the improvement of performance across subgroups.   Meaningful analysis of Maine’s data in relation to No Child Left Behind objectives requires looking at the measurable subgroups represented in Maine, including:

Disaggregation of NAEP Data

With the release of NAEP 2005 Reading and Mathematics results for the Nation and the states, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) also introduced a new tool for investigating the results, The NAEP Data Explorer (NDE).   The NDE replaces the NAEP Data Tool which provided only pre-calculated data based upon single variables, while the NDE is capable of calculating results for multiple variables (rural males participating in the free and reduced school lunch program, for instance) in real time.   All Maine results presented here were produced at the Maine Department of Education using the NDE and subjected to a test of statistical significance provided by the NDE.

Since NAEP results are predictions of student performance for identified groups based upon a sampling of only a portion of those groups, the average scaled scores and percentages of students at achievement levels are subject to a margin of error.   If a difference between specific scores or percentages is calculated by the NDE to be not significant, this means that there is no predictable difference in the performance of the two groups whose results are being examined or of the single group over time.

For the 2005 NAEP, the following differences were calculated to be significant:

4-SD

Maine

Nation  

Mathematics

2000

210

198

 

2003

215

214

 

2005

222

218

 

The increase of 12 points in Maine SD scores since 2000 paralleled the increase of non-SD scores in that time.

With increased inclusion resulting from the introduction of universal accommodations to the NAEP in 1998, 4th grade Mathematics scores in Maine began a steady increase at all percentiles reported (75th, 50th, 25th, and 10th) that continues into 2005.

 

 

4th grade

8th grade

Mathematics

FRPL

Maine

Nation

Maine

Nation

 

2000

221

208

270

253

 

2003

228

222

268

258

 

2005

230

225

269

261

 

*The difference between 2000, 2003 and 2005 8th grade scores for Maine was not significant, according to the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE).

Thirteen states (IA, KS, MA, MT, ND, NE, NH, MN, SD, WA, WI, VA and VT)had higher overall scores in NAEP Mathematics at 8th grade; however, the ranking of many of these states changed when looking only at students who were eligible for free or reduced price lunch.    Comparing this group of students across the Nation, only North Dakota and South Dakota had higher scores than their peers in Maine.   30% of the 8th graders in the 2005 NAEP sample for Maine were eligible.

Eight states (KS, MA, MN, ND, NH, NJ, WY and VT) had higher overall NAEP Mathematics scores than Maine at 4thgrade, but a comparison of   the subgroup of students eligible for free or reduced price showed only those students in Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming to have significantly higher scores than their peers in Maine.    32% of the 4th graders in the 2005 NAEP sample for Maine were eligible.

For Reading, no state had higher scores for students eligible for free or reduced price lunch than Maine's.   States with overall higher scores in Reading were MA and NH at 4th grade and MA at 8th grade.

Suburbs

Maine

Nation  

Mathematics

4th

249

241

 

8th

287

282

 

 For 8th grade Mathematics, the difference between Maineurban scores and the national average for urban scores was even greater; 283 for Maine, and 270 for the Nation.   Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland (all school systems serving culturally diverse populations) were sampled extensively.

At both grades, suburban subgroup comparisons with other states favored Maine, but that subgroup is relatively small in Maine.   Maine has the second highest percentage of rural students in the Nation.   Rural subgroup comparisons with other states favored Maine in Reading but not in Mathematics.   The difference in results between rural and urban subgroups within Maine were not significant for either subject at either grade

LOWEST

4th grade

8th grade

Mathematics

SCORES

Maine

Nation

Maine

Nation

 

2003

204

196

241

228

 

2005

206

199

238*

230

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The difference between 2003 and 2005 8th grade scores or Maine was not significant, according to the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE).

The Gender Gap

For 4th grade NAEP Mathematics, scores increased for both females and males (239/243).   The gender gap (favoring males) increased slightly from 2003 (3 to 4 points).   In 1992 there was no significant difference in scores between males and females.   Percentages of students at both At or Above Proficient and At or Above Basic showed progress for males and females:

 

Average

Percentages

Percentages

 

 

Scaled

At or Above

At or Above

 

 

Scores

Proficient

Basic

 

Gender

M

F

M

F

M

F

Mathematics

2000

232

227

25

20

76

71

 

2003

239

236

37

31

84

81

 

2005

243

239

41

36

86

83

 

At 8th grade, the NAEP Mathematics results remained unchanged.

 

Average

Percentages

Percentages

 

 

Scaled

At or Above

At or Above

 

 

Scores

Proficient

Basic

 

Gender

M

F

M

F

M

F

Mathematics

2000

282

281

32

29

73

73

 

2003

283

281

31

28

76

74

 

2005

282

280

31

29

74

74

 

*The difference between 2000, 2003 and 2005 8th grade scores for Maine was not significant, according to the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE).

For NAEP Reading, the gender gap (favoring females) at 4th grade widened by 2 points since 2003; however, Maine’s gender gap at 4th grade (6 points) is among the smallest in the Nation.

For 8th grade Reading, the gender gap closed a little (264 Males; 276 Females) in 2005.   Maine's 8th grade gender gap in Reading is comparable to states across the Nation.   The gender gap in Reading is a worldwide phenomenon; in every country in the world, females outperform males in Reading according to PIRLS and PISA studies.

For additional data and Maine Department of Education interpretation of the NAEP 2005 results, please log on to the Maine NAEP website.   To access the site, go to the Maine Department of Education website, www.state.me.us/education/homepage,  and click on "Standards and Assessments" at the bottom on the left.   Select "NAEP" in the drop-down window.

For further information about NAEP, please contact the NAEP State Coordinator for Maine, J. H. Kennedy, at 207-624-6636 or e-mail:   john.kennedy@maine.gov

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