Click on the 2011 in the NAEP results posts for a link to interactive maps. There you can break out scores by subgroup and compare Iowa subgroup scores to subgroup scores in other states. You could also compare Iowa subgroup scores to the average Iowa score or to average scores of other states. Click on the more results pull down menu to find a link to sample questions.
Check out other NAEP subject exams here.
As a rule of thumb, 10 points on the NAEP exam equals about approximately one grade level of learning. In looking at the 2011 NAEP exams, Iowa students, on average, are scoring approximately 1 to 1.5 grade levels behind Massachusetts students on the reading and mathematics exams.
Why should we care? I am not a proponent of the idea that we should do whatever it takes to be number one on standardized exams. However, I think these results might raise questions. Such as, do we have effective education leadership in Iowa? Is there something that we could learn from Massachusetts (or other states) about effective curriculum or instructional practices? Should we study Massachusetts (or other states) rather than rush to adopt the Common Core standards and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment? If Iowa students are struggling with basic skills, do we believe they are, in fact, learning “higher order skills” and “critical thinking skills”?