Maryland’s scores on a national reading test may have been inflated because the state’s schools excluded a higher percentage of special-education students than any other state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.
The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test, estimates that Maryland’s scores were 7 points higher for fourth-grade reading and 5 points higher for eighth-grade reading because of the exclusion.
Maryland has always earned high scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and its steady increases in test scores over the years has helped earn it the ranking of No. 1 in the nation by Education Week, an often-quoted measure.
“When exclusion rates are higher, average scores tend to be higher than if more children were tested,” said Larry Feinberg, assistant director for reporting and analysis for the National Assessment Governing Board, an independent body that sets policy for NAEP.