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[Susan notes: Good for Krashen, pointing out that people misuse NAEP any way it suits their agenda. It is critical to note that 'proficient' on theh NAEP really means 'superior.' There's a long history behind this. Read Gerald Bracey. I did my own deconstruction of the NAEP, looking at choices correctors made on constructed answers. They like windbags and penalize kids giving short, precise answers.]

Submitted to Wall Street Journal but not published

To the editor

Two articles published in the WSJ on November 8 made serious errors in interpreting NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores.

Peterson and Hanushek's Spinning America's Report Card claims that No Child Left Behind was responsible for a big improvement in NAEP scores, because scores went up between 2000 and 2009. But nearly all the gains in reading took place before NCLB was implemented: NAEP 4th grade reading scores climbed from 213 to 219 between 2000 and 2002, accounting for most of the eight point gain between 2000 and 2009. No Child Left Behind was signed into law in January, 2002. There was no gain at all in eighth grade reading scores between 2000 and 2009.

Test scores show small gains shows concern that "only 42% of fourth-graders" scored at the "proficient" level. Testing experts have been pointing out for years that "proficient" on the NAEP really means "superior."

Gerald Bracey noted in 2007 that the terms used for the NAEP achievement levels have been rejected by the Government Accountability Office, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the Center for Research on Evaluation, Student Standards and Testing.

Stephen Krashen

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