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NAEP 2015 Asian White Gaps

Here are the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for Asians (orange) and whites (blue). I took a simple average of four scores: Reading and Math for both 4th and 8th grades. The overall sample size for the whole country is about 280,000, which is a lot, although I wouldn’t put too much faith in any one state’s scores, such as Colorado’s outlier score for Asians.

One observation I’d make is that Hawaii suggests the long term price of importing farm workers: Hawaii brought in a lot of Japanese and Chinese many generations ago, and in 2015 they’re still not scoring impressively.

 
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For years, Audacious Epigone and myself have been pointing out that Texas public school kids do surprisingly well on the federal NAEP exam within each ethnic group. Now, the NYT finally figures that out, too:

Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores
OCT. 26, 2015

David Leonhardt
@DLeonhardt

When the Education Department releases its biennial scorecard of reading and math scores for all 50 states this week, Florida and Texas are likely to look pretty mediocre. In 2013, the last time that scores were released, Florida ranked 30th on the tests, which are given to fourth and eighth graders, and Texas ranked 32nd.

But these raw scores, which receive widespread attention, almost certainly present a misleading picture — and one that gives short shrift to both Florida and Texas. In truth, schools in both states appear to be well above average at teaching their students math and reading. Florida and Texas look worse than they deserve to because they’re educating a more disadvantaged group of students than most states are.

A report released Monday by the Urban Institute has adjusted the raw scores for each state to account for student demographics, including poverty, race, native language and the share of students in special education. The central idea behind the adjustments is that not all students arrive at school equally prepared, and states should not be judged as if students did.

“Making these demographic adjustments,” said Matthew Chingos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and the report’s author, “gives us a much better picture of how students are doing.”

With the adjustments, Texas jumps all the way to third in the 2013 state ranking, and Florida to fourth. Massachusetts, which also ranks first with unadjusted scores, remains in the top spot; although the state is relatively affluent, its students perform even better than its demographics would predict. New Jersey ranks second.

Other states with a less extreme version of the Florida and Texas story — that is, their schools are performing better than is often understood — include Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada and New York.

The new results will no doubt offer fodder for the continuing debate over education. Florida and Texas are mostly Republican-run states, where teacher unions are relatively weak and policy makers have tried to introduce more competition and accountability. At the same time, some states with a strong union presence, including New Jersey and New York, also perform well.

The results do seem to offer another vote of confidence for rigorous, common standards — an idea that took off with the Common Core, but has since come under harsh political attack. Massachusetts helped pioneer the idea of such standards in 1993, with ambitious goals, clear assessments and increased school funding.

States with less impressive results in the Urban Institute analysis, where favorable demographics are disguising mediocre performance, include Connecticut, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and Iowa. And while New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota and Washington are still above average, their scores are not as impressive as the unadjusted numbers suggest.

Many of these states are affluent or predominantly white — if not both. The new analysis suggests that many of their school systems have better reputations than they deserve. They enroll a lot of students who come to school well prepared and thus excel on tests. But the schools themselves are not doing as good a job as their test scores suggest.

This won’t come as a surprise to long-time readers of the Steveosphere.

But, while it’s journalistic custom to refer to the NAEP as “the gold standard” of testing, how much can we really trust the NAEP for making these kind of subtle state by state comparisons?

Specifically, the NAEP are low stakes tests to the kids, and in some states, the adults administering the NAEP treat them as low stakes for them too. On the other hand, there is some evidence that Texas administrators cares about their schools scoring better on the NAEP. For example, Texas excuses 10% of its sample of 4th graders from taking the NAEP while California only excuses 3% of its sample.

In contrast, the SAT and ACT college admissions tests taken by juniors and seniors in high school are clearly high stakes tests on which students have an incentive to try hard.

But comparing SAT and ACT average scores are tricky because in most states not everybody takes even one of the tests because they aren’t interested in applying to a competitive college.

And there are regional differences in whether a state is traditionally an ACT state (e.g, Iowa) or an SAT state (e.g., New Jersey) that influence average scores. For example, a few decades ago, Iowa usually led the county in average SAT scores because the only Iowa students who took the SAT were brainiacs interested in applying to the exclusive coastal colleges.

On the other hand, the regional differences are blurring as, especially, the ACT aggressively pushed into SAT states. Now it’s becoming common for ambitious students to take both tests to see which one they do better upon.

In general, the smarter people are, the more likely they are to take a college entrance exam. So, the lower the percentage of kids taking an exam in a state, the more inflated that state’s average score tends to be relative to the whole population of kids in the state, which is the figure I’d like to roughly estimate.

So, I’m going to present the 2014 SAT and ACT numbers for the two biggest states, Texas and California, both average scores and percent of the cohort taking each exam.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember who provided me with these numbers of SAT and ACT scores from 2006 through 2014, both set on the old-fashioned SAT 400 to 1600 scale (i.e., leaving out the doomed Writing subtest; the ACT is a 3 part exam with a maximum score of 36 but the ACT people publish tables for how to convert ACT scores to SAT scores). So, I don’t know if these data are reliable. But they don’t seem too implausible either. Also, I found the 2010 Census data for 13 year olds by race in each state as a proxy for 17 year olds in 2014. (For some reason, I couldn’t find Asians by age in Texas in 2010, so I’ll just stick to the Big Three racial/ethnic groups.)

Screenshot 2015-10-26 19.30.38

Let’s start off by looking at the white scores. In California, the total number of SAT tests said to be taken by whites in 2014 was equal to 47% of the number of white 13-year-olds in 2010 on the Census. In Texas, the percentage of SAT takers among whites was 49%, so we can compare the average SAT scores pretty directly, with just a reminder that this comparison is slightly biased in favor of California: California white kids score 1099, which is 36 points higher than Texas’s average white SAT score. The standard deviation on the 400 to 1600 scale was supposed to be 200 (although it’s gotten larger over time), so that would suggest California kids score about 0.18 standard deviations higher on the SAT, which is not a large gap, but not vanishingly small either.

On the ACT, California white high school students average 1144 and Texas white kids 1078, for a 64 point or .32 s.d. gap. But only 21% of white kids in California take the ACT, suggesting it’s kind of a boutique test in California for strivers. In contrast, 32% of Texas whites take the test, suggesting there the ACT in Texas falls in between a boutique test and a meat and potatoes test. So, it’s hard to compare the ACT scores for whites directly.

But my general impression is that whites in California, at least among the college curious, score a little better on college admissions tests than whites in Texas.

(One methodological quibble to keep in mind is that I don’t know how the data treats an individual student retaking the same test in one year. Do they enter all the scores or just the highest? And is the likelihood of retaking the same test greater in one state or the other?)

The difference is pretty small, but it’s in the opposite direction of the difference reported by the NAEP.

Among blacks, the California advantage appears to be quite similar to what’s seen among whites: small but not insignificant.

On the other hand, among Hispanics, California’s advantages in test scores are smaller than among among whites and blacks, and Texas Hispanics are somewhat more likely to take both the SAT and ACT. I’m not at all confident that California Hispanics would do better overall than Texas Hispanics if everybody in both states took a college admissions test.

So, my best guess would be: modest advantages for the white and black populations of Californians over white and black Texans, respectively, but Hispanics in Texas overall are no lower scoring and might actually be a few points higher.

By the way, Texas Asians score 16 points higher on the SAT and 17 points higher on the ACT than California Asians. I would include them in the table if I could find the 2010 Census figures for the number of 13-year-old Asians in Texas.

 
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Long time readers know I’ve been interested in the question of school test scores in the two biggest states, California and Texas. In the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, Texas routinely beats California across all racial groups. But the NAEP is low stakes to students, which makes it easier for state officials to manipulate results at the margins.

However, looking at an unverified table of high-stakes SAT and ACT college admission average test scores for 2014, white, Hispanic, and black California high schoolers outscore their counterparts in Texas (using a weighted average of SAT and ACT scores). But Texas’s Asians outscore California’s Asians.

Race CA CA SAT/ACT TX TX SAT/ACT CA-TX
All 350,655 1,016 295,583 973 43
AmInd 1,814 982 1,501 992 (9)
Asian 66,385 1,108 18,569 1,126 (18)
Black 20,667 888 37,615 854 33
Hispanic 131,723 905 113,395 891 14
Other 28,357 1,065 12,961 1,003 61
White 101,709 1,113 111,542 1,069 44

Both states are moderately majority SAT: in California, SAT takers outnumber ACT takers 2.1 to 1, and in Texas 1.5 to 1. This appears to be putting everything on the traditional 400 to 1600 scale, rather than the 600 to 2400 scale of the last decade, but that is being phased out soon. The mean was rescaled in 1995 to, ideally, be 1000 with a standard deviation of 200, although both have drifted since then.

So, California’s overall average is 97 points, or a little under a half of a standard deviation below it’s white average, while Texas’s overall average is 96 points below it’s white average.

I’m not going to put too much credence in these numbers: even if the data are valid (which I haven’t checked), my weighted average methodology is crude. On the other hand, the results don’t seem too implausible.

I mostly want to put some numbers out there to provoke somebody interested in this long-running problem of how to synthesize SAT and ACT scores reliably to try to come up with a more sophisticated general model.

 
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The darker the tint the better the 8th graders

Audacious Epigone has posted his table of white IQ estimates by state, using NAEP scores for 8th graders (public and private), ranging from 108.0 in Washington D.C. (which isn’t a state) and 104.4 in Massachusetts and 103.5 in New Jersey to 97.7 in Oklahoma, 97.5 in Alabama and a hurting 95.1 in West Virginia.

Thus, New Jersey whites (who, Bruce Springsteen songs to the contrary, are a notably intelligent and well-educated white population) scores 0.4 standard deviations higher than Alabama whites. That’s not a huge gap. On the other hand, the 0.86 s.d. gap between Washington D.C. whites and nearby West Virginia whites is substantial, and may subtly color a lot of media discourse.

Moynihan’s Law of the Canadian Border is still vaguely visible, but is much less strong for whites only than for total populations (which is of course most of the joke). Texas of course stands out sharply from the central southern states.

Of course, some of the differences in test scores don’t reflect underlying IQ but are instead reflections of different effectivenesses at educations and, presumably, at how hard different states get their students to try on the NAEP.

You can read his whole table there.

 
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The federal government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test results for 12th graders in readin’ and ‘rithmetic are now out for 2013. The feds have a nice website to display the numbers. I’ve been following these kind of test score stats for almost as long as I’ve been following baseball statistics, but I have to admit that seldom if ever do any Mike Trouts come along to add excitement to my peculiar hobby.
Above is a graph of the ten states where the NAEP had big enough sample sizes to break out The Gap (white-black, in this graph on the Math test). Of the ten states, the only one where The Gap is notably smaller than in the nation at large is West Virginia. How has West Virginia accomplished this goal that has obsessed policymakers and pundits for most of my lifetime? By having many of the smart white people in West Virginia move to greener pastures in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and so forth.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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The feds’ National Assessment of Educational Progress has a table of 4th and 8th grade vocabulary and reading comprehension scores by state. Sample size issues are of concern for smaller states which tend to bounce around, but we can state with a high degree of statistical confidence that the future of the state of California, the traditional State of the Future, looks dumb. Out of the 50 states, the Golden State ranks 48th, 47th, 48th, and 49th on various measures. Here’s the bottom six of 52 in the four different tests:

In contrast, Massachusetts is 1st, 1st, 1st, and 1st, while the District of Columbia was 52nd, 52nd, 52nd, and 52nd (in case you are wondering why D.C. is the 52nd state, Department of Defense schools rank 2nd, 5th, 2nd, 6th). Obviously, the problem is all those Republicans in California and D.C. If only D.C. would develop enlightened political opinions like Massachusetts, its test scores would soar.

Perhaps more relevantly, Texas is 37th, 36th, 37th, and 36th. Texas always beats California on the NAEP. Has anybody studied this to make sure this is not just a test artifact (e.g., Texas cares about the NAEP and California doesn’t)? If it isn’t, why the consistent difference? Texas is pretty bad, but it’s not as bad as California, and beggars can’t be choosers, so somebody ought to be investigating why Texas beats California.

One obvious objection is that the future isn’t as bad as it looks because Hispanics, as new immigrants, are just being held back by the inevitable biases of testing skills in English.

Indeed, this effect does exist, but how big is it? Here’s national 8th grade vocabulary. The first number is score at the 10th percentile, then 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th.

Let’s first compare whites and Asians. At the 10th percentile, Asians lag whites by 8 points. Presumably, a fair number of these Asian 8th graders just got off the plane from China, so their English vocabulary is limited. At the 25th percentile, the White-Asian gap is down to 5 points. At the median, it’s 3, at the 75th percentile it’s 0, and at the 90th percentile, Asians are out in the lead by a point.
Now, compare Hispanics to blacks, most of whom grow up speaking English, but as we all know from hundreds of articles, African-Americans grow up in conditions that would drive a Trappist Monk crazy for lack of speech. In black homes, nobody every talks, watches TV, or listens to rap music. So, black scores on language are bad, with unfortunate long-term consequences.
At the 10th percentile, where many of the Hispanics are newcomers, blacks lead by 2 points. At the 25th percentile, however, Hispanics are out in front by 1 point, by 2 at the median, 3 at the 75 percentile, and 4 at the 90th.
So, clearly, Hispanics who have all the advantages are, on average, a little smarter than blacks who have all the advantages. In other words, if immigration were shut off for a generation or two, Mexicans would appear, on average, perceptibly more on the ball academically than blacks. Indeed, that was my perception back in the 1970s in L.A., where the Chicanos had mostly been a stable population since WWII.
But, nationally, Hispanics only pick up 6 points on blacks going from the 10th to the 90th percentiles, while Asians pick up 9 points on whites, who are, to be frank, a lot more competition.
Being a little smarter than blacks is, well, good. Or, you could say with equal justice, less bad. On the other hand, Hispanics at the 90th percentile among Hispanics, typically those with all the advantages, are simply not playing in the same league as Asians and whites with all the advantages. They’re down there beating out blacks for third place, not being nationally competitive. There’s not a lot of high end in the Hispanic population.
However you look at it, it’s still not very encouraging considering that our leadership kind of bet the country on Hispanics.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Americans have devoted an enormous amount of effort over the centuries to devising useful baseball statistics. In recent years, Americans have talked a lot about devising useful educational statistics.

For example, I’ve pointed out a million times over the last decade that it doesn’t make much sense to judge teachers, schools, or colleges by their students’ test scores. Most of the time, all you are doing is determining which kids were smarter to start with. Logically, it makes more sense to judge their “value added” by comparing how the students score now to how they scored in the past before the people or institutions being measured got their mitts on the students.

Over the last few years, everybody who is anybody in education — Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, you name it — has come around to this perspective (although they won’t use the word “smarter”).

A big problem, however, is that this value added idea remains almost wholly theoretical because almost none of the prominent educational statistics are published in value added form.

In contrast, when Bill James was pointing out 30 years ago that Batting Average, traditionally the most prestigious hitting statistic (the guy with the highest BA was crowned “Batting Champion”), wasn’t as good a measure of hitting contribution as Slugging Average plus On-Base Percentage, he could show you what he meant using real numbers that were available to everybody, even if you had to calculate them yourself from other, more widely published statistics.

Readers would say, “Yeah, he’s right. For example, Matty Alou (career batting average .307, but slugging average .381 and on-base percentage .345) wasn’t anywhere near as good as Mickey Mantle (career batting average only .298, but slugging average .557 and on-base percentage .421). If you add on-base percentage and slugging average together to get “OPS,” then Mickey had a .977 while Matty only had .726. And that sounds about right. Mickey was awesome, but it didn’t always show up in his traditional statistics. Now, we’ve finally got a statistic that matches up with what we all could see from watching lots of Yankee games.”

On the other hand, other innovative baseball statistics from that era have faded because they didn’t seem to work as well in practice as in theory. Readers would be rightly skeptical that Glenn Hubbard and Roy Smalley Jr. really were all time greats, as these complicated formulas said they were.

A couple of years ago, Audacious Epigone and I stumbled upon a potentially promising fluke in the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores by state. Since these tests are given every two years to representative samples of fourth and eighth graders, then you ought to be able to roughly estimate how much value the public schools in each state have added from 4th grade to 8th grade by comparing, say, a state’s 2009 8th grade scores to that state’s 2005 4th grade scores.

Granted, people move in and out of states, but if you just look at the scores for non-Hispanic whites, you can cut down the effect of demographic change to what might be a manageable level.

So, how to display this data in a semi-usable form? In the following table, I’ve put the Rank of each state. For example, in NAEP 4th Grade Reading scores in 2005, white public school students in Alabama ranked 48th (out of 52 — the 50 states plus D.C. and the Department of Defense schools for the children of military personnel). By 2009, this cohort of Alabamans was up to 47th in 8th Grade Reading. That’s a Change in Rank of +1. Woo-hoo!

In contrast, in Math, Alabama’s 4th Graders were 50th in 2005 and the state’s 8th Graders were 50th in 2009, so that’s a Change in Rank for Math of zero.

There are measures that are better for some purposes than Rank, but, admit it, ranking all the states is more interesting than using standard deviations or whatever.

A new idea is embodied in the last column, which reports the Difference in Rank between Math and Reading scores for 8th Graders in 2009. Because Alabama was 47th in Reading in 2009, but only 50th in Math in 2009, it gets a Difference in Rank of -3. Boo-hoo …

What’s the point of this last measure?

There’s a fair amount of evidence that schools have more impact on Math performance than Reading performance. For example, math scores on a variety of tests have gone up some since hitting rock bottom during the Seventies (in most of America outside of Berkeley, the Seventies were when the Sixties actually happened). In contrast, reading and verbal scores have staggered around despite a huge amount of effort to raise them.

Why have math scores proven more open to improvement by schools than reading scores? One reason probably is that because kids only spend about 1/5th of their waking hours in school. And almost nobody does math outside of school, but some kids read outside of school. So, if you, say, double the amount of time spent in school on math, then you are increasing the total amount of time kids are spending doing math by about 98%. But if you double the amount of time spent on reading in school, there are some rotten stinker kids who read for fun in their free time, and thus you aren’t doing much for them in terms of total hours devoted to reading.

Not surprisingly, a decade of the No Child Left Behind act, which tells states to hammer on math and reading and don’t worry about that arty stuff like history and science, has seen continued slow improvements in math, but not much in reading — except at the bottom (i.e., the kids who don’t read outside school).

So, by 8th grade, Reading scores would likely be a rough measure of IQ crossed with bookishness (personality and culture). In contrast, 8th Grade Math scores are more amenable to alteration by schools since kids aren’t waiting in line to buy Harry Potter and the Lowest Common Denominator. So, the idea behind the final column is to compare rank on 8th Grade Math to rank on 8th Grade Reading. A positive number means your state has a better (lower) rank on Math than on Reading, which might reflect relatively well on your public schools given the raw materials it has to work with relative to other states.

For example, on the NAEP, Texas ranks 11th among white 8th graders in Reading, which is pretty good for such a huge state. But, it ranks a very impressive 4th among white 8th graders in Math, for a Difference in Ranking score of +7. This suggests Texas is doing something with math that’s worth checking into. Maybe they are just teaching to the test, but this is the NAEP, which isn’t a high-stakes test. And there are worse things than teaching to the test. (Whatever they are doing, they are starting young, because Texas ranks 2nd in Math for white 4th Graders.)

So, here is this huge table:

NAEP Read <spanxl67″ width=”58″><spanxl67″ width=”33″><spanxl67″ width=”33″><spanxl67″ width=”58″><spanxl67″ width=”62″>
Public4th8th4th-8th4th8th4th-8th8th-8th
White 2005 2009 09-05 2005 2009 09-05 09-09
Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Dif in Rnk
Alabama 48 47 +1 50 50 +0 -3
Alaska 37 31 +6 31 21 +10 +10
Arizona 41 29 +12 36 27 +9 +2
Arkansas 34 46 -12 37 44 -7 +2
California 32 33 -1 25 36 -11 -3
Colorado 9 9 0 13 6 7 +3
Connecticut 4 2 +2 8 7 +1 -5
Delaware 3 14 -11 11 17 -6 -3
DC 1 +1 1 +1 0
DoDEA 8 5 +3 21 16 +5 -11
Florida 16 21 -5 14 37 -23 -16
Georgia 27 38 -11 33 34 -1 +4
Hawaii 40 45 -5 40 48 -8 -3
Idaho 30 35 -5 29 26 3 +9
Illinois 13 10 +3 28 18 +10 -8
Indiana 43 34 +9 26 29 +-3 +5
Iowa 42 41 +1 39 41 +-2 0
Kansas 33 19 +14 10 15 +-5 +4
Kentucky 46 37 +9 51 49 +2 -12
Louisiana 45 51 -6 41 45 -4 +6
Maine 36 39 -3 42 39 3 0
Maryland 7 3 +4 7 2 +5 +1
Massachusetts 2 4 -2 3 1 2 +3
Michigan 28 40 -12 22 42 -20 -2
Minnesota 12 7 +5 4 5 +-1 +2
Mississippi 49 48 +1 48 51 +-3 -3
Missouri 26 27 -1 45 32 13 -5
Montana 21 16 +5 35 10 +25 +6
Nebraska 18 20 -2 30 28 2 -8
Nevada 51 49 +2 44 40 +4 +9
New Hampshire 19 24 -5 20 23 -3 +1
New Jersey 6 1 +5 5 3 +2 -2
New Mexico 35 25 +10 49 38 +11 -13
New York 10 8 +2 16 19 +-3 -11
North Carolina 22 28 -6 6 8 -2 +20
North Dakota 20 22 -2 24 9 15 +13
Ohio 14 12 +2 12 30 +-18 -18
Oklahoma 50 50 0 46 46 0 +4
Oregon 44 36 +8 34 31 +3 +5
Pennsylvania 15 6 +9 17 14 +3 -8
Rhode Island 39 43 -4 43 43 0 0
South Carolina 38 44 -6 9 24 -15 +20
South Dakota 29 13 +16 23 12 +11 +1
Tennessee 47 42 +5 47 47 +0 -5
Texas 11 11 0 2 4 -2 +7
Utah 31 30 +1 38 33 +5 -3
Vermont 24 18 +6 32 22 +10 -4
Virginia 5 17 -12 15 20 -5 -3
Washington 17 15 +2 19 11 +8 +4
West Virginia 52 52 0 52 52 0 0
Wisconsin 23 26 -3 18 13 5 +13
Wyoming 25 32 -7 27 35 -8 -3
NAEP Read <spanxl67″ width=”58″><spanxl67″ width=”33″><spanxl67″ width=”33″><spanxl67″ width=”58″><spanxl67″ width=”62″>
Public4th8th4th-8th4th8th4th-8th8th-8th
White 2005 2009 09-05 2005 2009 09-05 09-09
Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Dif in Rnk

As J.K. Simmons asks at the end of Burn After Reading, “What did we learn?

I’m not terribly sure, either. Who knows enough about what goes on within the educational establishments of all the states to know whether these numbers make sense?

But, at least we have some value added numbers and aren’t just still talking about how valuable they’d be if we ever got around to getting any.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Is this the best ranking yet available of how the states differ in how good a job their public schools are doing?

Rank State Whites’ relative NAEP
improvement from 4th
grade to 8th (St.Dev.)
1. Montana .93
2. North Dakota .84
3. Maryland .71
4. Oregon .67
5. Idaho .57
6. Dept. of Defense .55
7. Texas .54
8. Massachusetts .53
9. South Dakota .50
10. Kentucky .50
11. Tennessee .49
12. Maine .49
13. Vermont .45
14. Nebraska .38
15. Kansas .35
16. Arizona .34
17. Alaska .34
18. Ohio .33
19. Pennsylvania .26
20. Oklahoma .24
21. Colorado .21
22. Nevada .19
23. New Mexico .13
24. Wisconsin .09
25. Alabama .08
26. Georgia .08
27. Washington .07
28. Minnesota .04
29. Utah .04
30. Indiana .03
31. Missouri .02
32. Iowa (.02)
33. New Jersey (.06)
34. Wyoming (.07)
35. Arkansas (.11)
36. Rhode Island (.17)
37. Virginia (.21)
38. Delaware (.29)
39. Illinois (.33)
40. Mississippi (.36)
41. South Carolina (.40)
42. California (.45)
43. New Hampshire (.56)
44. Florida (.73)
45. Hawaii (.75)
46. Louisiana (.81)
47. New York (.89)
48. West Virginia (1.10)
49. North Carolina (1.18)
50. Michigan (1.18)
51. Connecticut (1.33)

Over the years, I’ve been frustrated by how everybody uses the absolute test scores of students to evaluate how good a job a school is doing: “You’ll get a great education at Harvard because the average SAT score there is 1500!” Yes, but that’s what they got in high school before Harvard got its mitts on them. In truth, nobody has much of an idea whether Harvard is doing a better or worse job than, say, Cal State Dominguez Hills at helping its students live up to their individual potential.

Similarly, I often hear people assume that the principal at, say, Beverly Hills H.S. is doing a good job because test scores are high there, while the principal at say, Compton Dominguez must be doing badly because scores are low. That’s quite unfair.

Absolute test scores for public schools are so dominated by demographics that the results are notoriously boring and depressing.

The state of California attempts to deal with this problem by giving two Academic Performance Index scores to each public school, one absolute and one relative to “similar schools.”

But I’ve always wanted to look at how much “value added” schools provide.

Earlier, Audacious Epigone tried to figure out from the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress reading and math test results how much value different state educational systems are adding. He compared, across states, performance by 4th graders in 2003 vs. performance by 8th graders in 2007 on the NAEP.

That’s a pretty clean comparison (for example, if one state has had a policy of discouraging Special Ed kids from taking the NAEP and another doesn’t it, the differences shouldn’t affect the relative change over time, unlike the usual absolute comparisons).

But what if there is a big demographic shift going on, such as in states with a dramatic Hispanic influx? That would distort the numbers.

So now, in the table above, he’s looking at just the change in performance from 4th to 8th grade among non-Hispanic white students in order to reduce the impact of demographic change and make for even more of an apples to apples comparison.

(This analysis could also be done for blacks and for Hispanics, but not for all 50 states because of inadequate sample sizes of minorities in, say, Montana or Vermont.)

The results are quite striking. In the best state, Montana’s white students did almost a standard deviation better as 8th graders in 2007 than they (using the term “they” roughly) did as 4th graders in 2003 relative to the rest of the country. In contrast, in the worst state, Connecticut’s white students’ change from 4th to 8th grade was one and a third standard deviations worse than the national average, relatively speaking.

That’s more than a two standard deviation difference between #1 and #50. These are such large differences that I’m hesitant to present the numbers, but maybe somebody out there can help us check them out.

Clearly, there is some demographic change from 4th grade in 2003 to 8th grade in 2007 still showing up in the data. Perhaps the top white students in Connecticut (last on the list) are more likely than in typical states to leave the public schools for elite prep schools starting in 7th grade? (Maybe not — most of the boarding schools in that state famous for boarding schools are 9-12).

In general, the states at the top of the list tend to be less demographically diverse than those at the bottom, although there are obvious exceptions, such as West Virginia doing quite badly.

Still, the sample sizes are impressively large: 196,000 for public school 4th graders (across all races) and 164,000 for 8th graders or around 5-6% of all students in those two grades. So the typical state is represented by roughly 2,000 white 4th graders and 2,000 white 8th graders. So, there are probably close to 1,000 whites in each grade at minimum for just about every state. (D.C., though, is excluded because there are so few whites in its public school system.) The two superstates, California and Texas, have extra-large samples of at least 10,000 students of all races in each 4th grade sample, so the number of whites there are adequate, yet they differ by about a standard deviation.

Part of the results are no doubt methodological noise. Some states might have switched to more upscale schools where the test is administered rom 2003 to 2007 to make themselves look better. Or, for example,the NAEPs are administered during a window from January to March, so if a state gave its 4th graders the test in March in 2003 and its 8th graders the test in January in 2007, it would be cheating itself of two months of maturation vs. the national norm.

On the other hand, there would be one obvious way to cheat: give a bad education from K-3 to depress 4th grade scores, then start to do your best to teach kids a lot once they take the NAEP in 4th grade so you can score high on the 8th grade test.

Still, it’s unlikely that anybody has tried to game this particular analysis simply because I don’t think anybody has ever thought of this analysis before.

Just looking at the table, I don’t see any obvious demographic pattern explaining why, for example, Vermont would be in 13th place a standard deviation ahead of New Hampshire in 43rd place. Or why are Maryland’s whites (3rd place) two standard deviations ahead of Connecticut’s whites (50th place)? Both have affluent, moderately liberal, well-educated white populations. Perhaps we really are approaching the Holy Grail of a measure of educational effectiveness?

Normally, when I look at a table of data, I can figure out what’s driving the rankings. Here, though, I can’t. That could be good news – I really don’t know much of anything about pubic school quality across the country apart from demographics (other than a vague impression from the media that Texas is better than California), so the fact that the results look pretty random could mean that we are looking at actual differences in public school effectiveness. The bad news is that the results could also look random because they are pretty random due to lots of different kinds of noise.

Any suggestions you might have for torture testing the data would be appreciated.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Although demographics obviously are the driving force in measures of student achievement, it is possible for one state to do a better job than another relative to what it has to work with in terms of student potential. One interesting way to analyze the value added performance of a state’s public schools is to compare 8th grade scores versus 4th grade scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. If a state improves from 4th to 8th grade relative to the rest of the country, this could be evidence that it is doing a good job of schooling (at least in the middle years).

The NAEP is also given to 12th graders, but those score are distorted by the large number of dropouts.

There are lots of data on the NAEP site, so if anybody analyzes it, let me know.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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IQs
by State, 1960 –
You probably remember the notorious “Democratic
states have higher IQs
” hoax from last May. Well, here, thanks
to Prof. Henry Harpending of the U. of Utah anthropology dept., might be
the closest thing to a national sample of IQ scores ever: the Project
Talent database of 366,000 9th-12th grade students. Unfortunately, it is
44 years years old. Nonetheless, it correlates reasonably with 2003 NAEP
8th grade achievement test scores (here
are the 2003 scores). As you can see, in this list of kids’ IQs back in
the mid-1960s, of the top 10 smartest states, in 2000, Bush and Gore
each won five. So, we’re back to my original conclusion: red states and
blue states are similar in average IQ, as are, on average, Republican
and Democratic voters.

Some
caveats: These IQ scores are set with the national mean of the 366,000
high school students equal to 100 and the standard deviation set to 15.
But, keep in mind that we are only beginning to explore this huge
database, so take everything with a grain of salt.

Montana
104.9

New Hampshire
104.5

Connecticut
104.3

Idaho
104.3

Nevada
103.8

Massachusetts
103.7

Minnesota
103.2

Iowa
103.2

Virginia
103.1

Oregon
102.7

Washington
102.7

New Jersey
102.6

New York
102.5

Michigan
102.4

Kansas
102.2

Ohio
101.9

North Dakota
101.8

Illinois
101.7

Texas
101.6

Missouri
101.4

Vermont
101.3

Oklahoma
101.1

Utah
101.0

Colorado
100.8

Wyoming
100.6

Wisconsin
100.5

Maine
100.4

Nebraska
100.4

California
100.1

Pennsylvania

99.9

Hawaii

98.9

New Mexico

98.9

Delaware

98.8

Indiana

98.4

Rhode Island

98.1

Florida

97.4

Arizona

97.4

Maryland

97.2

Mississippi

96.9

Tennessee

96.6

West Virginia

95.6

Kentucky

94.2

Alabama

93.4

North Carolina

92.7

Louisiana

91.9

Georgia

91.5

Arkansas

89.1

There
weren’t adequate sample sizes from Alaska, Washington DC, and South
Carolina, and I excluded South Dakota because the result was too
different from North Dakota. (I think something might be confused about
both South Carolina and South Dakota — I’ll try to find out more.)

Harpending
also looked at whites only data (unfortunately, the majority of
participants doesn’t have a race recorded) with the smartest whites
(which I suspect is all that white liberals care about — feeling
smarter than white conservatives) were (in descending order):
Connecticut, Montana, Nevada (I bet that’s not true anymore!), Idaho,
Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. The dumbest whites were in
(in descending order): Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. All of these states
voted for Bush in 2000. I suspect, however, that air conditioning and
the abolition of the caste system have some good for the test scores of
whites in the south, especially in North Carolina. Here,
for purposes of comparison, is the 2003 NAEP public school achievement
tests for white 8th graders.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Graduate
degrees by state
— Washington D.C.: first in grad degrees,
first in liberal voting, but last in NAEP scores for 8th grade public
school students. In this table, there is a correlation between
voting for Gore in 2000 and graduate degrees. Liberals seem to prefer to
live in more stratified, inegalitarian societies.

The
more I see of these tables by state, the better that Colorado and
Virginia look.

1.
Washington, D.C.: 23.6 percent
2. Massachusetts: 14.5 percent
3. Maryland: 14.1 percent
4. Connecticut: 13.7 percent
5. Virginia: 12.9 percent
6. New York: 12.6 percent
7. Vermont: 12.3 percent
8. Colorado: 11.5 percent
8. New Jersey: 11.5 percent
10. New Mexico: 11.0 percent
11. Illinois: 10.6 percent
12. New Hampshire: 10.5 percent
13. Washington: 10.1 percent
13. California: 10.1 percent
15. Rhode Island: 9.9 percent
16. Alaska: 9.8 percent
17. Oregon: 9.5 percent
18. Minnesota: 9.3 percent
19. Delaware: 9.2 percent
20. Kansas: 8.9 percent
20: Missouri: 8.9 percent
20. Pennsylvania: 8.9 percent
23. Hawaii : 8.8 percent
24. Florida : 8.5 percent
25. Michigan: 8.3 percent
26. Arizona: 8.2 percent
27. Texas: 8.0 percent
28. Georgia: 7.9 percent
28. Utah: 7.9 percent
30. Maine: 7.8 percent
31. North Carolina: 7.7 percent
31. South Carolina: 7.7 percent
31. Indiana: 7.7 percent
34. Ohio: 7.6 percent
35. Montana: 7.5 percent
35. Kentucky: 7.5 percent
35. Alabama: 7.5 percent
38. Nebraska: 7.4 percent
39. Wisconsin: 7.2 percent
39. Wyoming: 7.2 percent
41. Idaho: 7.1 percent
42. Tennessee: 7.1 percent
43. Louisiana: 6.7 percent
43. North Dakota: 6.7 percent
45. West Virginia: 6.6 percent
46. Oklahoma: 6.5 percent
46. Arkansas: 6.5 percent
48. Iowa: 6.3 percent
49. South Dakota: 6.1 percent
50. Nevada: 5.9 percent
51: Mississippi: 5.8 percent

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: NAEP 
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The
future looks dumberer —
Looking at the
NAEP scores for public school 8th graders by state (see below),
it struck me that California is a going to be, on average, a much dumber
state in the future than it is now. I always thought of it as a pretty
smart state, what with Silicon Valley, Cal Tech, and aerospace. Even
Hollywood attracts a lot of smart cookies. In the past, these smarts
were spread pretty broadly through the general populace in California.

But
California’s 2003 NAEP scores for public schools 8th graders are awful:
44th out of 50 states in Math (behind states like Tennessee and Nevada,
a state where the study of probability is the only socially sanctioned
intellectual pursuit) and 49th in Reading (well behind Mississippi).
If California is the pacesetter state, with its 25 year head start on
absorbing immigrants, then the future looks dumber for all of us.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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IQs
by State, 1960 –
You probably remember the notorious “Democratic
states have higher IQs
” hoax from last May. Well, here, thanks
to Prof. Henry Harpending of the U. of Utah anthropology dept., might be
the closest thing to a national sample of IQ scores ever: the Project
Talent database of 366,000 9th-12th grade students. Unfortunately, it is
44 years years old. Nonetheless, it correlates reasonably with 2003 NAEP
8th grade achievement test scores (here
are the 2003 scores). As you can see, in this list of kids’ IQs back in
1960, of the top 10 smartest states, in 2000, Bush and Gore
each won five. So, we’re back to my original conclusion: red states and
blue states are similar in average IQ, as are, on average, Republican
and Democratic voters.

Some
caveats: These IQ scores are set with the national mean of the 366,000
high school students equal to 100 and the standard deviation set to 15.
But, keep in mind that we are only beginning to explore this huge
database, so take everything with a grain of salt.

Montana
104.9

New Hampshire
104.5

Connecticut
104.3

Idaho
104.3

Nevada
103.8

Massachusetts
103.7

Minnesota
103.2

Iowa
103.2

Virginia
103.1

Oregon
102.7

Washington
102.7

New Jersey
102.6

New York
102.5

Michigan
102.4

Kansas
102.2

Ohio
101.9

North Dakota
101.8

Illinois
101.7

Texas
101.6

Missouri
101.4

Vermont
101.3

Oklahoma
101.1

Utah
101.0

Colorado
100.8

Wyoming
100.6

Wisconsin
100.5

Maine
100.4

Nebraska
100.4

California
100.1

Pennsylvania

99.9

Hawaii

98.9

New Mexico

98.9

Delaware

98.8

Indiana

98.4

Rhode Island

98.1

Florida

97.4

Arizona

97.4

Maryland

97.2

Mississippi

96.9

Tennessee

96.6

West Virginia

95.6

Kentucky

94.2

Alabama

93.4

North Carolina

92.7

Louisiana

91.9

Georgia

91.5

Arkansas

89.1

There
weren’t adequate sample sizes from Alaska, Washington DC, and South
Carolina, and I excluded South Dakota because the result was too
different from North Dakota. (I think something might be confused about
both South Carolina and South Dakota — I’ll try to find out more.)

Harpending
also looked at whites only data (unfortunately, the majority of
participants doesn’t have a race recorded) with the smartest whites
(which I suspect is all that white liberals care about — feeling
smarter than white conservatives) were (in descending order):
Connecticut, Montana, Nevada (I bet that’s not true anymore!), Idaho,
Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. The dumbest whites were in
(in descending order): Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. All of these states
voted for Bush in 2000. I suspect, however, that air conditioning and
the abolition of the caste system have some good for the test scores of
whites in the south, especially in North Carolina. Here,
for purposes of comparison, is the 2003 NAEP public school achievement
tests for white 8th graders.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: IQ, NAEP, Testing 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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