NEW the Ability to Compare Educational Data Nationally!
Ever wonder how the M-STEP in Michigan compares to the MCAS in Massachusetts? Or maybe how does proficiency on the NAEP (aka Nation's Report Card) compare to proficiency on the M-STEP?
In 2019, from a sample of MI students, 32% of students were proficient on the NAEP. Whereas, 46% of students were proficient on the M-STEP (both in 4th grade ELA). That is because the NAEP has a higher benchmark than the M-STEP, as seen to the right.
Ironically, that same sample of MI students suggested that 36% of students were the "Below Basic" reading level on NAEP. Likewise, 33% of students were "Not Proficient" on the M-STEP. Therefore, the cut score for "Partially Proficient" on the M-STEP is likely close to the cut-score of "Basic" on the NAEP.
Stanford University Compares Schools, Districts, and Counties
"The Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) is an initiative aimed at harnessing data to help scholars, policymakers, educators, and parents learn how to improve educational opportunity for all children." Similar to the Reading Now Network, SEDA displays much of their data on a scatterplot in relation to poverty. However, the color coding simply follows the comparison to a national average such that above average (green), near average (white), and below the national average (blue). Stanford also reports the academic data in three ways: 1) Learning Rates or Student Growth from one year to the next, 2) average achievement on test scores, and 3) Trends in Test Scores across a grade level. A brief description of each is given below along with a podcast showcasing the SEDA Interactive Tool (a.k.a. EdOpportunity.org). Note: All quotes from SEDA's website.
1) Learning Rates or Student Growth from year to year
After Stanford aligns state tests to the NAEP, they find the national average for each grade such 3rd grade is 3.0, 4th grade is 4.0, etc. Growth is explained by following a group of students as they progress through the grades as seen in the image below (3.0 - 4.2 - 5.4 - 6.6 - 7.8 - 9.0). Notice that 3.0 is at the 3rd grade average then 4.2 is 0.2 years above the 4th grade average. Therefore, this group of students started at the national average, then progressed each year to be a little more above the average (0.0 - 0.2 - 0.4 - 0.6 - 0.8 - 1.0) such that by 8th grade they were an entire year above the average. This is seen in the green diagonal on the table of scores below.
NOTE: Tests such as the M-STEP do not measure students above and below grade level, so there may be some limitations with Growth scores (or Learning Rates) for schools where the average student has extremely low or extremely high achievement scores.
2) Average Achievement on Test Scores
According to Stanford, "Average Test Scores are influenced by opportunities to learn at home, in neighborhoods, in child-care, preschool, and after-school programs, from peers and friends, and at school." The average test scores featured in the podcast are best understood by the full table below. Stanford averaged how each of the six grades (3rd-8th) compared to the national average across eight school years (2009-2016). Therefore, the hypothetical school or district or county below has an average score of 0.6 grade-levels above the national average. This is computed by average the amount above or below the national average for each of the 48 cells below. For example, in 8th grade, 2009 was 0.5 above the average, then 0.6 above the average in 2010.
NOTE: The color of each dot equates to above/near/below the national average. Users are encouraged to also look at those schools beating the odds as if there were an imaginary 'best fit' line drawn through the middle.
3) Trends in Test Scores across the Grade Levels
Finally, test score trends "look at year-to-year improvements in performance within each grade." If we just focus on one of the six grades such as 8th grade, we can see this hypothetical schools steadily increased each year from 0.5 years above the national average to 1.2 years above the national average.
NOTE: All data is from 2009 to 2016, so the data is a little older but allows for comparison of schools, districts, and counties across the nation. The Learning Rates (or Student Growth) is the BEST indicator if you have a limited time to explore the data. However, some schools who are very low achieving may show typical growth due to the limitations of the test not moving beyond grade levels. It is always best to look at Growth, Achievement, and a Comparison of similar schools. SEDA compares schools based on poverty only, whereas the Reading Now Network Data Tool compares schools on multiple at-risk factors.