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A Think Twice Review of:

Report on Academic Progress Is a Worthwhile Conversation Starter

Think Twice - Nov 26, 2019

Publisher/Think Tank - Fordham Institute

Author(s) - Michael J. Petrilli

The Fordham Institute recently released a report highlighting the academic progress of Black and Hispanic groups over the past two decades at the elementary school level on the NAEP exam. From this, the report offers the major claim, based on its author’s eyeball test, that the academic progress of students of color is attributable “mostly” to poverty reduction. The report, however, also acknowledges that correlation is not causation and calls for systematic statistical analysis to test the author’s proposition.

Reviewer(s) - Jaekyung Lee, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Professor Lee notes the uneven patterns of achievement among grade levels and refutes the report’s claim that flat achievement trends among 12th graders are a result of dropout reductions. His analysis of additional data suggests that poverty reduction has indeed been important, as has increased school funding. Further, he raises critical questions about national progress towards both excellence and equity.