Alabama Reading Gains Hold Steady, Advance

Education News in Alabama for March 26, 2010

According to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), considered the “gold standard” of rigorous assessment:

  • Alabama’s 4th graders held strong to the historic 8-point gain made two years ago, again scoring 216, just 4 points shy of the national average
  • Alabama’s 8th graders advanced 3 points to 255. Only nine states showed progress with their 8th graders.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton considered the news “simply more indication that, while we still have a very long way to go, we are consistently moving in the right direction.”


Budget update, social studies course of study

The 2011 budget has begun moving in the Alabama Legislature. Highlights from the current version include:

  • Benefits – both health insurance and retirement – are level funded.
  • Helping initiatives (i.e. Alabama Reading Initiative; Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative; Advanced Placement; Pre-K) are level funded at prorated amounts.
  • All state-funded teacher jobs are preserved. (Though layoffs of locally funded teaching positions are still possible)

In other business, the committee revised the social studies course of study to address concerns raised during public comment period.

All members except the governor were present for the March 25 work session.

Podcasts of state school board meetings

Superintendents envision the future
From the A+ blog

* Data about student learning is transparent and seeds urgency.
* Alabama is a magnet for well-paying jobs and talented people.
* Kids are always at school because they love what they are doing.

Those are just a few of the powerful statements generated when the Superintendents’ Leaders Network was asked this question: What if every school in every district in Alabama were a true learning organization?

Read more

Gender gap closes in math, remains in reading

A new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) finds that girls now perform as well as boys on state math tests, but boys consistently trail girls on state reading tests.

The study, “State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08: Are There Differences in Achievement Between Boys and Girls?,” analyzed trend lines that began in 2002.

“Although the gaps–particularly in reading—are not nearly as large as those found between racial/ethnic and income subgroups, they are telling and have serious implications for the futures of all our students.” Jack Jennings, CEP president and CEO, said. “The college attendance and completion rate for males continues to decline, and these data strongly suggest that those patterns could be altered with a greater focus on male reading skills at the earliest stages of education.”