Many of America’s Best Students Lose Gains Over Time
FOR EMBARGOED RELEASE
12:01 AM, EST, September 20, 2011
FOR EMBARGOED RELEASE
Many of America's Best Students Lose Gains Over Time First-ever study shows lesser achievement gains, particularly in reading and for boys
Lake Oswego, OR (September 20, 2011) - A new study released today by Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with research from the Kingsbury Center at Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) reveals that more than 40 percent of America's best students fail to maintain their high performance over time. The study is the first ever to track the performance trends of individual high achievers in math and reading over time, through U.S. elementary, middle and high schools.
Kingsbury Center at NWEA analysts Yun Xiang, Michael Dahlin, John Cronin, Robert Theaker and Sarah Durant authored the study, Do High Flyers Maintain Their Performance: Performance Trends of Top Students, which examined more than 120,000 students in 1,500+ schools located in most states. The study defined "high flyer" as those students who ranked above the 90th percentile, based on NWEA's 2008 cross-state norm. As a complement to the study, Kingsbury Center at NWEA is also releasing an interactive data gallery that offers partners the ability to conduct their own analysis and view interactive visualizations of the study data.
"In recent years, schools have focused their energies on improving the performance of their lowest-achieving students and have made great strides in this regard," said Steve Wise, Vice President of Research and Development at NWEA. "It is just as important for schools to focus on the performance of students who have demonstrated themselves as high achieving."
"This study is the first of its kind to examine the progress of individual high achievers over time in relation to other students," said John Cronin, Director of the Kingsbury Center at NWEA. "We are extremely proud to partner with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to create data visualizations that add a new depth to the information."
Analysis and interactive data visualizations comparing the performance and growth in math and reading in different grades and cohorts are available in the data gallery at http://kingsburycenter.org/gallery/high-achievers. The data indicate three specific findings about the performance of high achieving students over time:
- While the majority of high-achievers maintained their high-achieving status over time, within the two study cohorts, up to half (30 percent to 50 percent) of the initial high achievers lost that status by the end of the study period.
- High-achieving boys were more likely to lose their status than high-achieving girls in both reading and math.
- In reading, low-performing students seem to be improving at a faster rate than higher performing students.
The data is part of NWEA's Growth Research Database (GRD), one of the largest repositories of student achievement and growth information in the world. To learn more about the data in the GRD, please visit us at: http://kingsburycenter.org/our-data/about-our-data.
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