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Two NAEP Reports Available on Time and Learning, Charter Schools

Two NAEP Reports Available on Time and Learning, Charter Schools

WASHINGTON – (January 3, 2013) –Two reports – one on time and learning, the other on charter schools – have been prepared by consultants to the National Assessment Governing Board as part of an effort to increase the usefulness of the background contextual data collected by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The first report, Time for Learning: An Exploratory Analysis of NAEP Data, found a strong association between higher student absenteeism and lower academic achievement. Overall, about one in five students nationwide report being absent at least three days a month, which translates into at least five weeks a year of lost instruction. Among students scoring below the Basic achievement level on NAEP, 25 to 29 percent are in this high-absentee category with somewhat greater absenteeism in higher grades. By contrast, only 10 to 14 percent of students at the Advanced achievement level have such poor school attendance.

The second report, Who Attends Charter schools and How Are Those Schools Doing?, found charter school enrollment to be concentrated in large cities and among low-income and minority students. Although nationally, regular public schools have higher achievement, gains have been greater in charter schools since 2003/2005. In large cities, low-income and minority students are generally performing better in charter schools, which operate independently of local school systems.

The co-authors of the studies are educations consultants Alan Ginsburg, former director of policy and program evaluation at the U.S. Department of Education, and Naomi Chudowsky, a former member of the education studies staff of the National Academy of Sciences.

The two reports are an outgrowth of recommendations made to the Board in March 2012 by the Expert Panel on NAEP Background Questions, headed by Marshall S. Smith, former U.S. Undersecretary of Education. Both Ginsburg and Chudowsky served on the panel. Many of the recommendations were approved by the Governing Board in August as part of a policy statement providing for greater use of contextual data in NAEP reporting and improvements in the background questionnaires that accompany NAEP assessments. The questionnaires survey students in the NAEP samples, their teachers and schools.

NAEP is the nation’s only continuing representative-sample assessment of student achievement in grades 4, 8, and 12. Its assessments include reading and mathematics and a range of other subjects from science to the visual arts.

Stephaan Harris