Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fact check: Greensboro Guardian's claims of Guilford County schools

GREENSBORO, NC -- Charles Davenport, Jr. at the Greensboro Guardian:
"In 2009, according to NAEP results, only 32% of the state’s fourth graders were proficient in reading. Among blacks, the figure was 14%. (These are statewide stats, but GCS [Guilford County Schools] results are approximately the same.) Only 29% of eighth-graders were proficient readers (and 12% of blacks)." 
Davenport provides no link to his source. You'd think the editor of an online publication would have that minimal skill—maybe he doesn't want us taking a closer look. But let's anyway.

According to End of Grade (EOG) test results (p. 8) for 2012, 66.9 percent of fourth grade students were proficient in reading as were 69 percent of eight graders in Guilford County Schools.

(Hat tip: Jeff Martin)


Fec said...

Thanks. What a bozo.

Andrew Brod said...

It's easy to believe things that fit one's preconceived notions. Such as when CBS reported that 80% of NYC high-school graduates "cannot read." (CBS eventually rewrote the hed on that piece.)

Or the claim that only 23% of the GCS budget is spent on teachers and classrooms.

Or the claim that only 37% of GCS employees are classroom teachers.

Hmmm, what's the common denominator here?

Roch Smith, Jr said...

Bad math?

Andrew Brod said...

I was thinking it was "conservatives making inaccurate claims about education," seeing as how the CBS article was cited by a local conservative to make a point about education spending.

Anonymous said...

While Mr. Davenport should have provided a link to his source, he did at least cite it, allowing readers to check for themselves. I did so, and all the figures were correct except for the 14% listed for fourth-grade blacks. The NAEP report listed that rate at 15% for NC public schools and 14% for all schools in NC.

Further, it doesn't make sense to list EOG results and then compare them to another standard, namely NAEP. And if you ARE going to use EOG, why don't you at least the EOG scores from the same year that Mr. Davenport is quoting?

Roch Smith, Jr said...


Roch Smith, Jr said...

Why would I use the latest data instead of 2009 like Davenport?

Um... Seriously?

Anonymous said...

You would use the same year to make an accurate comparison, that's why. You are not disproving his quotations of a 2009 study by quoting a 2012 study. It just means you're both right using your different reports -- you are not disproving his comments.

I'll post the link later, I'm on a crappy laptop right now.

Roch Smith, Jr said...

There is a current set of empirical measures from 2012. I mention them because they are more recent, documented and tangible than Davenport's out-dated and undiscoverable data.

Pick one. The choice is yours.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying your numbers are better or worse. I'm saying that you called the title of your post a "Fact Check," and that Davenport's "facts" are correct.

Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

I agree that Davenport should have gotten more recent data. So here are the 2011 NAEP numbers, which are the most recent from that standard.They are essentially unchanged from the 2009 NAEP numbers, so I guess the debate is whether the EOG or NAEP numbers are more accurate.

4th grade at or above proficiency
Nationwide public schools: 32%
South: 31%
North Carolina: 34%

8th grade at or above proficiency
Nationwide public schools: 32%
South: 29%
North Carolina: 31%

4th grade blacks at or above proficiency (North Carolina): 16%
8th grade blacks at or above proficiency (North Carolina): 14%

Link: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/policyoperations/naep/2011readfullreport.pdf

Roch Smith, Jr said...

Weird that Mr. Davenport used 2009 and you have conveniently found 2011 data from the same source.

Nontheless, you'll have to explain to me how these numbers back Davenport up in his assertion that "[Guilford County Schools] results are approximately the same."

The EOG results say reading proficiency in GCS is more than 100% higher than what Davenport said were "approximately the same."

He was wrong even by the most generous definition of approximately. My advice? If Davenport ever tries to set you up on a date and describes her as approximately 135 lbs., approximately 5'4" and approximately 36 years old, decline.

Anonymous said...

That was something I meant to put in my very first post -- that I didn't know where he got the Guilford County numbers. I would think that common sense tells you Guilford County would do better than some of the poorer counties where poverty plays a big role in low test scores.

Roch Smith, Jr said...

Thanks for the link, btw.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I also forgot to thank you for your work. I like the way you call out idiocy in reporting regardless of the source. Would you happen to be a fan of the No Agenda podcast, perchance?

Roch Smith, Jr said...

I'm not familiar with it.


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