I almost feel bad for these guys. My sense is that they so want to believe that their reforms are working that they view every score release through this lens and they don’t even realize how pathetic they are.
In this latest press release they call their AP results a ‘surge’ because the number of students ‘taking’ the AP went up by 17% while the NUMBER of students (NOT the percentage) getting a 3 or better went up by 18%. Do they realize that this is meaningless? Those percentages are basically the same number, which is what you’d expect.
At least they had the decency to include a link to the College Board’s summary. Here are some statistics quoted directly from the report:
• Louisiana’s percentage of AP Exam participation increased in every subgroup.
• The percentage of students participating in AP Exams increased by 17.4% since 2011 and by 68.8% over the last five years.
• While more students are participating in AP courses and taking more exams in 2012, Louisiana’s percentage of scores of 3 or higher
has held steady at 43%.
• While the percentage of exams with scores of 3 or higher has increased among Black test takers, the 18% success rate is well below
the national average for Black students.
So the percent getting a 3 or higher has ‘held steady’ at 43%, which is extremely low. Yes, I guess the reasoning is that they are letting more students take it, which should bring their scores down as they let the riff-raff in so ‘holding steady’ is something to celebrate, but 43% is awful, and 18% of Black students getting a 3 or better is also not something to celebrate. Out of 1,516 Black test takers, that’s 374 who got a 3 or better. Keep in mind that as more and more schools force their students to ‘take’ the AP as it artificially makes the schools look better with more test takers, it has gotten much easier to get a 3 since the test is graded on a curve based on how the testing pool does.
Another statistic that the press release fails to mention is that for the SAT, the combined mean score for Black students has gone DOWN by about 120 points compared to five years ago, approximately 40 points for each section.
They had graphs for all three SAT sections. Here is the math one, though the others are similar.
The corporate reform movement ‘needs’ New Orleans to succeed. Though they can spin the numbers all they want and brag about increasing the number of test takers, it is pretty clear that they have no evidence of success. I really don’t know why reporters out there don’t look into this themselves. I mean, I know that I’m a savant when it comes to this kind of thing, debunking this latest claim in about 30 minutes, but couldn’t a reporter down there spend a few hours looking into this?