NAEP and the Great Convergence

Out of all the NAEP commentary, here’s what I thought what was missing: once you control for demographics, nearly every state performs about the same.

See below from Matt Chingos:

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 8.28.55 AM

A quick looks indicates that only 14 states perform outside of the +/- 2 month differential.

8 above: Massachusetts, Texas, Indiana, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina.

6 below: Hawaii, West Virginia, Alabama, California, Michigan, Mississippi.

And only 4-5 states are outside of the +/- six month band.

A few thoughts:

  1. I have no idea if there are any commonalities between the 8 above the line or 6 below the line states that could lead us to any testable hypothesis about over and under performance.
  2. I haven’t dug into longitudinal data, but this feels like a great convergence of some sorts, with most states performing about the same once you control for demographics. I’d love for Matt Chingos to do his demographically adjusted rankings over time to see if this is in fact the case.
  3. All that being said, while most states are in the middle, the gap between the top states at the bottom states is pretty significant.

For the most part, this isn’t shocking to me, as my guess is that the general operational mediocrity of government operated systems mutes many policy differences that might exist across states.

But I’m not sure. Worth mulling over some more.

4 thoughts on “NAEP and the Great Convergence

  1. Pingback: Dylan Matthews’ Education Policy is Fragile | relinquishment

  2. Theis Clarke

    I know it’s one-dimensional, but would you have ever guessed that the three states that require the least demographic correction are California, Illinois, and Indiana?


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