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[Susan notes: Excellent point: This is one of the problems with all standardized test results.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Re: "The neglected middle classes" editorial, July 26, 2005

Your editorial "The neglected middle classes" (July 26) makes the common mistake of comparing scores in one grade one year to scores in the same grade another year. It compared recent 8th grade reading scores on the NAEP (National Assessment of Education Progress) to previous 8th grade reading scores on the NAEP and concluded the scores are "flat" and "something [wrong] is going on between fourth

grade and high school".

A better way to assess progress is to compare how the students do from one grade to the next. When we do that, the NAEP shows tremendous growth in reading achievement among California's children.

For example, in 1994, 44 % of California's 4th graders read at or above the basic level. Four years later, when the same children were in 8th grade, 63% read at or above the basic level. Something was

going on between 4th grade and 8th grade from 1994 to 1998: progress.

Margaret Moustafa, California State University Los Angeles

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