Reality Check: Education Spending Skyrockets Year after Year, but Student Achievement Stays StagnantPosted: April 30, 2014 | Author: Pundit Planet | Filed under: Economics, Education, Think Tank | Tags: Academic achievement, Cato Institute, Correlation and dependence, Education, SAT, Social science, State school, United States |1 Comment
Andrew J. Coulson writes: Since the early 1970s, the federal government has tracked the academic achievement of American 17-year-olds.
Presented with this dismal national picture, many pundits and elected officials protest that their own states have done better.
“Overall, the correlation between spending and achievement is among the lowest I have ever seen in social-science research: 0.08 on a scale from 0 to 1.”
The trouble is, there’s been no way to verify their claims. State-level test score averages don’t reach back that far, or, as with the SAT, they aren’t taken by a representative sample of all students.
[Check out Glen Reynolds book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself” from Amazon]
But there’s a way over this hurdle: State-level academic trends can be estimated all the way back to 1972, and the results aren’t pretty. (See the charts that accompany this post).
The average state has seen a three-percent decline in math and verbal test scores, and a 120-percent increase in real spending per pupil.
The few states that improved their scores substantially tended to be those that were well below average to begin with.
Overall, the correlation between spending and achievement is among the lowest I have ever seen in social-science research: 0.08 on a scale from 0 to 1.
But what’s the trick to measuring state academic trends when no ready-made test results exist? Back in 1993, a pair of clever education statisticians developed a method for adjusting SAT scores to account for differences in the test-taking population between states.
By extending and enhancing their technique, I was able to draw meaningful trends for all 50 states reaching back 40 years.
What those trends suggest is that every state in America has suffered an education productivity collapse.
Outcomes are generally stagnant or declining despite massive increases in expenditures. In the best cases, verbal and math skills have improved modestly, but those improvements have been outstripped by much more dramatic increases in real spending….(read more)
Andrew J. Coulson directs the Cato Institute‘s Center for Educational Freedom and is author of the study “State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years.”
- Study: No Link Between School Spending, Student Achievement (washington.cbslocal.com)
- DEMOCRAT PARTY HARDEST HIT: No connection between education spending and student outcomes (directorblue.blogspot.com)
- Study: No connection between spending, student outcomes (eagnews.org)
- SAT Scores Remain Mostly Stagnant – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Study: No connection between spending, student outcomes (grumpyelder.com)
- Girls make higher grades than boys in all school subjects, analysis finds (psypost.org)
- District 205 School Receives State Honor Roll Award (wifr.com)
- The scary way Common Core test ‘cut scores’ are selected (washingtonpost.com)
- Funding schools doesn’t help students learn (siftingreality.com)
- UCSB Admits Record Number of Students (dailynexus.com)
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[…] Pundit from another Planet Andrew J. Coulson writes: Since the early 1970s, the federal government has tracked the academic […]