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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: NAEP

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March 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Report: Typical student spends hour or less on homework

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Many think students these days suffer under a heavy — and growing — load of homework.

But a new report by the Brown Center on Education Policy concludes that’s just not true.

While some face hours of homework each night, as reported in stories like this one in The Atlantic late last year, the Brown researchers say the average homework load hasn’t changed much for the past 30 years.

And the percent of students who report no homework, they say, still is much greater than those who say they do two or more hours a night.

The Center focused on a questionnaire that students fill out when they take a national test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

A sample of students from across the country take NAEP tests every few years.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Brown Center on Education Policy, homework, NAEP

January 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Western states at the bottom in per-student spending

Mark Weber / Op Art

Mark Weber / Op Art

A new report by Education Week provides a look at the big growth in school spending since the 1970s.

Across the nation, nearly all states doubled or tripled the amount of money spent on public schools from 1970 to 2010, with even the lowest growth, in Utah, going from $3,344 per student to $6,237 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

But the growth has been uneven, the national newsmagazine reported.

Per-pupil spending has increased most in nine states and the District of Columbia, and seven of those states are in the northeastern United States. Seven of the 10 states where spending has grown the least are in the West, and Washington is one of them.


Comments | More in News | Topics: education funding, McCleary decision, NAEP

November 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Reality check: Was high praise warranted for state’s performance on NAEP?

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn (Photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn (Photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is trumpeting Washington state’s performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a set of tests that a sample of students take every few years in selected grades and subjects.

On Wednesday, his office issued a news release with a link to hear U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan praise Washington for its gains this year.

But the picture isn’t quite that simple.

Washington students’ scores did go up and, in a simple ranking, went up more than most other states.  But according to a critique by Tom Loveless, such rankings lose a lot of meaning when the tests’ margin of error are taken into account. For those who want to dive deep into the details, Loveless provides it.

For those who just want the conclusion: Washington did improve, but not as much as Duncan’s message may make it sound.  And when it comes to overall scores, it’s really only safe to say that Washington ranks somewhere in the middle.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Arne Duncan, NAEP, Randy Dorn

October 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Washington outranks Finland in new test score analysis


Click on the graphic to see the full report.

In a new study of test scores, Washington outscored Finland in math.  Yes, you read that right.

We may wring our hands over how many students fail our state’s mathematics exams, but a new analysis suggests that eighth-graders here score higher than their counterparts in Finland, which is considered one of the world’s academic powerhouses.


Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: Finland, international comparisons, math