Tomorrow, the NAEP (The National Assessment of Educational Progress) is supposed to release the 2015 test results. Here are my predictions:
- Scores will change very little from 2013 to 2015. Nonetheless, huge overarching statements about educational methods, systems, and so forth will be made, which is really stupid.
- One or two states will see a significant improvement from 2013. Far reaching and unproven statements will be made and spread hither and yon by credulous reporters, which is really stupid.
- Rather than describing differences in terms of student percentiles (or Intelligent Designer forbid, standard deviations), differences among groups/states/years will be described in days or months gained or lost, which is really stupid.
- Reporters will describe the data based on ranks (“Idaho is 22nd”), not realizing that many scores are statistically indistinguishable from each other and thus ranks are meaningless, which is really stupid.
- Many reporters/commentators will be utterly baffled by what a four or five point gain or decrease means, because you can graduate from college and not know math, which is really stupid.
- Once demographic variables (i.e., ethnicity, income, language) are accounted for, Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida will do very well, as they have done during the last decade. Reporters and commentators will not tell you this, which is really stupid.
- Reporters and commentators will not disaggregate the data by demographic variables, even though there’s a handy website to just do that, which is really stupid.
It’s going to be really stupid tomorrow.