Saturday, December 19, 2009


from Leaders and Laggards State Report Cards


California Academic Achievement Student performance in California is very poor—the state ranks among the lowest in the nation on academic achievement. The state’s 4th graders stand 9 percentage points below the national average in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.

Academic Achievement of Low-Income and Minority Students California posts failing marks in this category. Only 10% of Hispanic 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam. The national average for Hispanic 4th graders is 15%.

Return on Investment California’s student achievement is low relative to state spending on education (after controlling for student poverty, the percentage of students with special needs, and cost of living). The state’s poor return on investment earns it a D in our ranking.

Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency California gets solid marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on 2005 state assessments and the percentage identified as proficient on the NAEP in 2005.

Rigor of Standards California receives an excellent grade for the rigor of its standards. The state’s English, math, and science curriculum standards all receive high marks, and it has enacted a rigorous exit exam that students must pass to graduate.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness California earns a solid grade in this category. Seventy-one percent of its 9th grade students receive a diploma within four years, and the state’s 11th and 12th graders perform very well on core Advanced Placement exams.

21st Century Teaching Force California earns high marks for its teacher workforce policies. The state tests incoming teachers on their basic skills, requires high school teachers to pass subject knowledge tests, and requires alternative route participants to demonstrate subject matter expertise.

Flexibility in Management and Policy California receives an above average grade on how much freedom and flexibility it gives its schools and principals. The state’s charter school laws earn high marks, and 77% of principals report a major degree of influence over how their school budgets are spent.

Data Quality California gets low marks for its efforts to collect and report high-quality education data. The state does not have the ability to match individual students’ test records from year to year to measure academic growth and it does not collect graduation and dropout data.

1 comment:

John Jensen said...

Education reform is so difficult because we focus on the wrong end with massive resources spent on levels of bureaucracy and initiatives originating very distant from the act of instruction. There are scores of things known already about how to get good results in the classroom. No matter what the top-level commands and policies are, if the teachers don't use them, the big plans are fruitless. Better to 1) identify these, 2) agree on them with teachers 3) ask teachers courteously to use them, 4) celebrate them and their results when they do. The further away from the act of instruction we spend our money, the more its effects are diluted until there's very little left in terms of results. See "Why Education Reform is so Difficult", a blog on --John Jensen, Ph.D.