Nationally Normed Test Scores 11 percentile points lower than in 1990

Yet ADE Commissioner Ken James is JUBILANT


See Actual Documents from ADE on the scores below that were scanned and put on computer in form of photographs.


The composite score for 7th graders on the nationally normed test (ITBS) just released for this year  is 50% - 11 percentile points lower than in 1990, and 7 percentile points below 1984 when the accountability system was set up in Arkansas billions of dollars ago.   And the paper reports that Ken James is jubilant! 


Scores for 5th grades this year was 58% which is 9 percentile points lower than in1990 and 4 points lower than in 1984 when the accountability system was set up in Arkansas.  Yet Ken James is jubilant, according to newspaper reports, with our test scores.   (I used these two grades because they are the only two grades where there is a complete history of scores.)


7th grade

Nationally Normed


 2006  50%

1984   57%

1985   54%

1986   58%

1987   58%

1988   59%

1989   60%

1990   61%

5th grade

Nationally Normed


2006  58%

1984 61%

1985  64%

1986  66%

1987  66%

1988   66%

1989   67%

1990   67%




For full article on  "Why Test Scores Are Lower in Arkansas Now Than in 1984, After Increase of Billions" see  following link:  At this link you can also find the scores for nationally normed test since accountability started in Arkansas  in a simple chart from 1984 to 2003.   You won't find a simple chart like this anywhere in Arkansas but on this website because powers that be don't want people to see the real picture.   They just might realize that all their tax money for education is being wasted.    


"State spending on K-12 education went from a 1.4 billion to 2.8 billion.  You know that is actually unbelievable.  In six years we have doubled the spending on K-12 education in Arkansas,"  Walter Hussman told the Adequacy committee in 2003 in discussing scores from 1996 to 2001."  Now that figure has ballooned to $4 billion


In regard to the homegrown criterion referenced tests where test scores are soaring in Arkansas but with a great discrepancy in the scores on the national criterion test, the NAEP, see this article, "Real Truth Behind Those Low 4th Grade Benchmark 2005 Test Scores."


Also note carefully this quote by Kelley King, representative from Harcourt Assessments,  in answer to a question at a State Board of Education Meeting March 13, 06  about the rigor (difficulty) of  the new proposed augmented tests in which the state criterion referenced test and the nationally normed reference test  are to be combined.   "The rigor  (difficulty)  of the test is really set by the customer by you in what you want.  You may set the bar wherever you like to set the bar and we aim to meet that rigor at the point you set it.  If we don't achieve that, you tell us to go away and do it again and we keep doing it until we get it the way you want it."  


Did you get that?  I don't think she realized what she was telling us.  A criterion referenced test can be manipulated until you get the number of students scoring above proficient that you want in order to be jubilant about the scores. That can't happen on a nationally normed test because scores are compared to students in the rest of the nation.  But, alas we probably have seen our last  legitimate nationally normed test for comparison because we are now in the process of changing to a combined NRT and CRT.   Does anyone have any reason now to doubt why we are doing away with the nationally normed tests?   See how "Testing System is Corrupted" at this link:


Below are score charts that came from the Arkansas Department of Education in 1985 and in 1995.  Scroll down below the charts for the memos that came with them.  These are copied pictures from pdf  so they won't copy but one picture per page. Fourth, seventh, and tenth  grades were first used for accountability.  Then  1995 they changed and used 5th graders in place of the 4th grade. 

Scroll down for  Grade 4, Grade 7 and Grade 10 nationally normed test from 1988-95.  Note basic battery score which is the top line and is underlined.  See year  for 1990 67% in 4th grade and 61% in 7th grade. 4th grade was changed to 5th grade later.  Then scroll down further to see the ADE Memo that came with each of these charts of scores.


This memo came with the 1988-1995 scores:



This is the memo from Arkansas Department of Education that came with the 1998-1995 Scores.


Scroll on down for memos that came with the scores from Arkansas Department of Education for 1984-85.
This memo came with the 1984-85 scores 


Below is how the scores dropped after the government took over more and more control of the curriculum and methods in Arkansas.