Mind-boggling - ADE Celebrates Bottom Quartile Test Scores 

(as low as the 18% percentile)

Once more the Arkansas Department of Education and the editorialists at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette are determined to make the public believe that government control and more money improves education.  They are actually once again celebrating Arkansas test scores that at best have to be described with the oxymoron, "STEADY, BUT FALLING BEHIND."  1 


In relation to the recent NAEP scores, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)  press release actually included this mind- boggling statement,  "Recent educational reforms have produced higher test scores across the board for Arkansas students in recent years, and Arkansas performance standards have been judged by national organizations to be some of the most rigorous and closely aligned with NAEP of any state in the nation.  2


(Has anyone seen an ADE Press Release on the graduation rate falling 10% this last year   Wonder how they would spin that?   3  (Watch for some finagling of these numbers by 2007.  How can any education program be improving when you are failing to educate 29% of  the children in Arkansas - the graduation rate this last year was only 71%)


Ken James is also quoted in a recent newspaper story about the most recent NAEP scores: "  "In 2005, our scores fell at or very near the national average, but because the rest of the nation showed improved performance, we have slipped a bit in terms of state rankings in all areas, save mathematics at the fourth grade."  Even before this slip in state rankings, in 2005



How can our test scores be the most rigorous and closely aligned with NAEP of any state in the nation as ADE contends and have scores even lower than those reported above on the NAEP  this year?  And  why  in 2005 did 50% of Arkansas students score Proficient or above on our state benchmark scores and only 34% scored Proficient on the national NAEP if the tests are aligned so well?


For a starter, keep in mind that on these rigorous Arkansas benchmark tests a student on the Arkansas 8th grade math who scores only 39  points out of  80 points (less than 50%) is considered Proficient (Equivalent to a B or B+. ) ADE requires that teachers give students with anything less than a 60% an F, not a B.  In other words, as I wrote in an article before,  the testing system has been corrupted. 


The bottom line is that scores have no real meaning now thanks to the government control philosophy.  Education has become totally politicized so the scores are totally corrupted the powers that be interpret them anyway they want and can change  the cut off scores or difficulty of the tests anyway that is necessary to prove their programs are working.  And even though the reforms are heralded over and over as transparent, 99% of the people can't prove them wrong.  The teachers and many citizens know it in their heart but can't get it out to the public because the media is on the side of government control.  See this link for a long article entitled "Testing System corrupted, No Correlation Among NAEP, IBS, and Benchmark Tests."  http://www.wpaag.org/Testing%20-%20Debacle-No%20Correlation%20NAEEP-ITBS-Benchmark.htm  


Other national negative measurements of Arkansas Educational System.  It is obvious that Arkansas has not received any benefit from the billions added for education in recent years:  (taken from email earlier in 2007)

         Test Scores on nationally normed tests  are 11 Percentile Points lower in 2006 than in 1990 (a 22% decrease)

         College Remediation Rate is 51.6% (46.6% in 1995); National Average is 33%

         Only Nine States Scored Lower Than Arkansas in 8th Grade Math on NAEP Test

         Only 28% of AR students pass test on AP courses, while 59.4% pass nationwide

         Fordham Foundation Gives Arkansas an F on Standards

         The National Report Card on Higher Ed. Gave Arkansas a  D+ In High School Preparation for College.  They graded states in six areas.  Arkansas received a D+, a F, three C's and one incomplete. (That averages out a D) 

         Educational Reforms Have Cost $1.4 BILLION  which equals a 3% sales tax in Arkansas. 

Yet Senator Argue, Chair of Arkansas Education Committee,  proclaimed  that  "Arkansas is making such progress that our schools are being noticed across the country" in his guest article, June 24, 07. 

Arkansas reforms are being noted by politically correct leaders,  just like Kentucky's reforms were noted for years (even while their scores were plummeting and Arkansas was making better scores on ACT tests than Kentucky was ) when they fit the politically correct philosophy of reforms (government control and more money).  President  Clinton proclaimed Kentucky was the lighthouse for educational reforms back around 1992. Arkansas is probably the fastest growing state in government control in the nation.  But only the process in Arkansas  is being praised - the real measures and scores are declining, and the true picture is being distorted by the government and the media.   Has anyone seen anyone praising our 10% plus drop in graduation rates or the above facts? 

The educational improvements were supposed to help our economy!  That was shouted from the rooftops by Argue and others.    Statistics show that the taxpayers subsidize each household headed by a dropout at an amount of about $20,000 a year.  Multiply 10% (the percentage the graduation rates dropped this last year)  times the number of students enrolled  in Arkansas, and you get  46,639 students. Multiply that by $20,000 and it comes to mega bucks! Multiply by 17% (the percentage the graduation rate dropped since 1992) and you get bigger mega bucks! When the reforms bring that type of dropout rate (which many teachers warned it would do) how can the reforms  improve the economy?  And few people will even know because the government and the  media won't tell them!

This article can be read on line at this link:  http://www.wpaag.org/Ed%20-%20Arkansas%20Steadily%20Falling%20Behind%20on%20NAEP.htm

and can be found on Arkansas Watch blog at this link: http://arkansaswatch.blogspot.com/2007/10/mind-bogglingade-celebrates-low-test.html


Article that has the test scores in Arkansas in simple comparison form from 1984 to 2003 http://www.wpaag.org/SAT%20Scores%20-%20Why%20Lower%20Now%20than%20in%201987.htm


See Footnotes and Related Links below:



1. http://www.arktimes.com:80/blogs/arkansasblog/2007/09/steady_but_falling_behind.aspx Steady, but falling behind . September 25, 2007

"Grades Are In" Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition, Monday, October 1, 2007

URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/203064/


2.  . http://www.arktimes.com:80/blogs/arkansasblog/2007/09/steady_but_falling_behind.aspx Steady, but falling behind . September 25, 2007


3. See this link for information on graduation rate for 2006 on the State Report Card:  http://normessasweb.uark.edu/src1/State3.php 

See graduation rates for Arkansas in 1992 at this link:  http://measuringup.highereducation.org/_docs/2006/statereports/AR06.pdf 



Related Links


See this link for "Testing System Corrupted, No Correlation Among NAEP, IBS, and Benchmark Tests



(List of test scores for the last several years) "Nationally Normed Test Scores 11 percentile points lower than in 1990 - Yet ADE Commissioner Ken James is JUBILANT"



Rebuttal to Senator Argue's Guest Article on Education/Facts Don't Match His Spin



Link to :   "Money Wasted on Misguided Educational Reforms, Why Scores Are Lower Now Than When Accountability System Was Started"



Did We Win Olympic Medal on NAEP Scores or Did We Bomb Them - You Decide



See this link for "Real Truth Behind Those Low 4th Grade Benchmark 2005 Test Scores (only 33% earned achievement score of BASIC) 



See this Link for Why did ADE Commissioner James Spins Low Test Scores



 See this link for Why Test Scores Are Lower in Arkansas Now Than in 1984



See this link for Arkansas Department of  Education Presents Deceptive Scores (03)



ADE Director Ray Simon Gives False Information About Test Scores