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The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2000--National and State Results

Chat Host Hello, and welcome to today's StatChat on the NAEP mathematics results for the nation. I'm sure that you have many questions, so let's get right to them... questions regarding today's release, so let's get right to them...

Mike from Houston, Texas asked:
Have any of the results from the NAEP been used to verify the results of any state accountability systems or standardized tests?
Peggy Carr: Hi Mike... Good question. The official answer is no, particularly if you focus on state accountability systems. However, many states use NAEP results to get an independent assessment of how well their students are doing. Peggy

Peter from Philadelphia , PA asked:
Has NAEP considered web/computer based testing to increase the "turn around" time of results? Do you think producing Year 2000 results on the heels of 2001-2002 schoolyear reduces the impact of these results?
Peggy Carr: Peter: Yes we have considered the value of computer-based technology in NAEP and currently conducting field test of computer-bases assessments. On the other hand, the uneven availability of technology in the schools would currently made it difficult to conduct a secure large-scale survey like NAEP fully on line...but we are working on it! The timing of NAEP releases have improved significantly in past decade. The 2000 release was delayed slightly only to allow additional analyses to address multiple samples. In future years, NCES will be reporting within six months of data collection for reading and math. Thanks, Peggy

Tim from Raleigh, NC asked:
Could you please address the signficance of North Carolina's performance over time. I am particularly interested in how it's state exams are aligned with the the NAEP. Thanks, Tim Simmons/The News & Observer
Peggy Carr: Tim: I am not in a position to comment on the NC content standards. You may want to ask NC Department of Instruction about a special study that was conducted to address that very issue. However, you should know that NAEP provides an independent measure of NC score gain that is impressive. Thanks, Peggy

Janet from Denver, Colorado asked:
Is it true that Education researcher Lorrie Shepard, and others,have said the NAEP math proficiency levels are set too high?
Peggy Carr: Janet: I believe that Lorrie Shepard was a member of the NAEP evaluation panel that examined achievement levels. The panel did offer such a conclusion. For a future examination of all studies conducted on this issue, you may want to consult page 14 of the Math 2000 NAEP report just released. In addition, you may want to contact the National Assessment Governing Bd. who is responsible for setting the NAEP achievement levels. Thank you, Peggy

Elizabeth from San Francisco asked:
Why do you think the nation's test scores rose? Are U.S. students getting better at math, or could they simply be getting better at standardized tests?
Peggy Carr: Eliz: Good question. We believe that scores reflect real improvement in math proficiency and not simply improvement in test taking skills. Students have not shown similar degrees of improvement in all NAEP subjects. Thanks, Peggy

Libby Huff from Los Angeles, California asked:
I am very concerned about the education my daughter will get in the local schools. She is now 1 year old and I am concidering moving out of state specifically to put her in a better school system. However, since there isn't much in the way of state-by-state ranking I am having trouble figuring out where to go. Which states are the best in testing, teacher-student ratio and safety? Thank you, Libby Huff
Peggy Carr: Libby: Go to our NAEP website where you can find lots of state by state information on education achievement. Good luck. Peggy

Melanie from Houston, TX asked:
How do you define "the average scale score?" In layman's terms, what does that mean?
Peggy Carr: Melanie: The "average scale score" represents the central tendency of the scores. NAEP scores are expressed on a scale that ranges from 0-500, in which higher scores indicate higher performance. Peggy

Lonnie from Jacksonville, Illinois asked:
Which states show the greatest gains, and do any states show significant declines?
Peggy Carr: Lonnie: No states showed a significant decline. For a complete listing of the many states that showed gains, visit the NAEP home page at, or consult tables 2.1 and 2.2 in the report released today. Peggy

Lawrence from Alexandria, Va. asked:
What are your thoughts on why average 12th grade scores declined significantly from 1996 to 2000?
Peggy Carr: Lawrence: The methodology of NAEP does not allow us to specify reasons why the 12th grade scores declined since 1996. I suggest you examine information on dropout rates for minorities and high school retention rates...there may be information there that may help you. Also, you should keep in mind that the decline was limited to the lower performing students. Peggy

Lonnie from Jacksonville, Illinois asked:
Which specific resources would it take to get the results of NAEP much faster?
Peggy Carr: Lonnie: I don't have time to give you the details, but we are currently making changes and improvements to the program design that allow results to be reported within six months of data collection for math and reading, while protecting the quality of NAEP data. Peggy

Heather from Salt Lake City Utah asked:
For the states whose students perform better than the nation: what are they doing right?
Peggy Carr: Heather: Secretary Paige addressed this issue in his released comments today. You can find that statement on the Departments website Peg

Thanks for all of your excellent questions. Unfortunately, I could not get to all of them, but please feel free to contact the NAEP staff if you need any assistance. I hope that you found this session to be helpful and the report to be interesting.

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