kitchen table math, the sequel: math and race in Iowa

Monday, January 16, 2012

math and race in Iowa

Among the possible explanations offered for the decline [in ITBS scores] are increased drug use in the mid-60′s, permissiveness, increase in divorces and single family homes, as well as the progressivist trends in education resulting in student-centered and needs-based courses. (See  Protecting Students from Learning for a more extensive discussion of this last item.) Another explanation offered is that the population of test takers starting around that time began to include more minority students, resulting in a dilution effect. That argument fails to explain, however, why the same pattern of declining test scores for the SATs exists for the ITBS and ITED test scores which were not limited only to college bound students. Also significant is the fact that the population of test takers in Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana remained primarily white which has been noted by Bishop (1989) and Murray (1992). Specifically, the U.S. Census of 1950 shows that the population in Iowa was 99.2 percent white, declining by 0.7 percentage points to 98.5 percent white by 1980. Similarly, the populations of Minnesota and Indiana were 99 and 95.5 percent white in 1950, dropping respectively to 98.2 and 92.8 by 1970. (Hobbes, 2002).
Barry Garelick: The Myth About Traditional Math Education
Education News


Anonymous said...

I think plate tectonics can explain this. Clearly Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana moved further away from the Canadian border for a while. Then they moved back to being closer.

-Mark Roulo

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

If I'm reading the graph right, early elementary education was at its worst at the beginnings of the 1970s, and got changed around 1974, and in 1984 was doing better than ever. The 8th and 12th grades track 3 and 7 years behind the 5th grade, so we are seeing a cohort effect, not random year-to-year variation.

But what has happened in the 27 years since then?