Last week the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released results of 2013 state tests. While many other standardized tests get no respect, the NAEP assessments, also called "The Nation's Report Card," are highly regarded by educators, offering an accurate profile of state progress in reading, math, and science for public school students, including those enrolled in charter schools. You can't cheat on NAEP tests. They're weighted properly for socio-economics, disabilities, and English Language Learners. The country's harshest test critics, including doyenne Diane Ravitch, refers to NAEP as the "gold standard" of standardized testing.
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But here's the big national news: the two states that have historically performed at the back of the pack, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., had the biggest gains, four times higher than any other state, and both narrowed their achievement gaps. Notably these are the two states that are furthest ahead in implementing education reform tenets like data-driven teacher evaluations, higher curricular standards, and expansion of school choice.
Enter the spin doctors.