Gerald Bracey's letter to the NY Times
Gerald Bracey sent the following letter to the NY times as a response to this NY Times article about NAEP scores.
Sam Dillon makes a fundamental error in his article about discrepancies between state tests and NAEP. He assumes the NAEP achievement levels are valid. They are not. Ideologues who wished to sustain the sense of crisis created by "A
Nation At Risk" created them in the 1980's. The NAEP levels are impossibly high. For example, In the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, American 4th graders finished 3rd among 26 nations (emphasis mine) in science. Yet NAEP said only 30 percent of them were proficient or better in science. Similar results occurred in math. Little wonder, then, that the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the Government Accounting Office and the Center for Research in Evaluation, Student Standards and Testing have all rejected the NAEP levels. They continue to exist only because there is so much political hay to be made from saying that American schools and students stink.