(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

This weekend, the Arizona Republic editorial board cited a forthcoming report from the Morrison Institute to note that Arizona was the only state to achieve statistically significant increases on all six NAEP exams between 2009 and 2015. I decided to check it out.

The 2009 to 2015 period was not chosen arbitrarily, and has a good deal of historical significance. We can begin to track science achievement under the new framework starting in 2009. It is highly desirable to include science, as it is a “non-tested” subject for state accountability purposes. Starting the clock in 2009 is also useful historically as it tells us which states coped best with the Great Recession.

The chart above is a net of statistically significant gains minus statistically significant declines by test for the 2009 to 2015 period for 4th and 8th grade Math, Reading and Science. Only Arizona hit the maximum of six statistically significant improvements with zero statistically significant declines so got a score of six. South Dakota apparently had the worst overall performance with a minus three. Boring but necessary note: a few states (AK, CO,KS,NE,LA, PA and VT) did not participate in the Science exams, so their scores could only range between -4 and 4.

I think the President may have been referencing AZ NAEP scores when he said:


8 Responses to #TooMuchWinningAZ

  1. Greg Forster says:

    So does that mean Arizona will build a wall to keep New Mexicans from coming in and stealing their charters?

    • John Thompson says:

      Now that’s an idea that Okla can scale up. The OKCPS would have collapsed had it not been for Hispanic immigration, and even the most fervent OKC Trump followers that I know are appreciative to the immigrant ethic which has boosted our economy. We should build a wall around OKC to keep the immigrants from leaving us.

      • Greg Forster says:

        Walls to keep people in? Bad enough that things have gotten to the point where we’re discussing walls to keep them out!

    • John Thompson says:

      actually, in OKC we’re getting scared that immigrants are already going home, taking their business and work ethic and the children, our students with them.

  2. John Thompson says:

    I’m not sure what the point of that chart is. It gives no indication of what a chart from 1998 to 2002 or 2003 to 2009 would show. Given 2nd place Oklahoma’s ranking, what is the lesson? Should other states follow us in cutting per student spending? Or should other states follow us in monkey wrenching value-added teacher evals and in kicking out our Chief for Change and rejecting high stakes testing? I doubt anyone believes Okla secondary schools are doing better and students are thus learning more in 2015 than 2009. Since we’ve done well with our underfunded early ed, maybe 4th grade scores are due to that. But even though I support early ed, I’d wouldn’t cherry pick data like that. Almost certainly, the biggest part of the NAEP outcomes is demographic i.e generational transitions. We’re getting a huge in-migration of young families. OKC metro scores (though not reported) are likely to be due to the same thing that increased D.C. scores – gentrification.

  3. matthewladner says:


    The point of the chart from out here in the Cactus Patch is:

  4. […] researcher Matthew Ladner has documented, Arizona is the only state to see statistically significant gains and no declines in science, math, […]

  5. […] researcher Matthew Ladner has documented, Arizona is the only state to see statistically significant gains and no declines in science, math, […]

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