4 Responses to Broad ESA proposal out of committee in Arizona

  1. It should be noted that Arizona’s impressive cohort gain produced an 8th grade NAEP math score at the national average in 2015. The AZ 2015 4th grade score is slightly below the national average.

    In 2011 AZ 4th graders were 5 points below the national average and 8th graders were 4 points below national average. Both scores were much better in 2015.

    I would like to know how low spending really large class size Utah scores so well. In 2015 Utah 4th graders were just above national average and 8th graders were 2 points above national average.
    Is it stable families and family values? or perhaps fewer newly arrived immigrants than in AZ?

  2. matthewladner says:


    The cohort gains approach is a pretty decent measure of elementary and middle school quality imo. You can read more about how NAEP is timed and scaled in such a way to permit the calculation of these cohort gains here:

    Click to access PICGROWTH2.pdf

    In AZ’s case our 4th grade scores are below average, which is what achievement gaps would lead one to expect given the state’s majority minority student population, ELL issues etc. The fact that Arizona pulls to the national average by 8th grade is an accomplishment and the reason why the state gets the biggest overall “value add” for the same cohort of student over time. There are tricky things about this measure (standard error on both sides of the equation for instance).

    Obviously no one should be satisfied with average in a country as low performing as the US but at least things have been moving in the right direction faster than any other state.

  3. edthinktank says:

    About Florida… As AZ tops the cohort math 4th to 8th gain chart and FL is next to last, it must be noted that in 2015 math AZ 283 out scored FL 275 in math. In reading the story is somewhat different with both AZ and FL scoring 263 in 8th grade. Yet in 2011 4th graders in AZ 212 scored way less than FL 220.

    In 2015 4th grade reading… AZ 215 and FL 227
    Does AZ have promotion to grade 4 based on reading competence as FL does?

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