Secretary of Education, Julia Keleher, was appointed to a seat on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which oversees and determines the future of standardized tests that measure students’ skills in basic subject in US jurisdictions.
Her term begins today and ends on September 30, 2022, according to a press release by Betsy DeVos, federal Secretary of Education, when announcing the appointment.
Keleher will hold a position representing the main educational officials of the states.
"This appointment is important because Puerto Rico will have representation at the table where decisions will be made and that influences US education public policy," said Keleher yesterday.
NAGB is an independent body, created by law in 1988 to establish the public policy of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. These tests, which regularly measure students' skills in English, math, and science, are the basis for the creation of the Nation's Report Card.
The island had the lowest US scores in Math on the 2017 NAEP tests, however the results of local students improved when compared with those achieved in 2015. The results for 2017 establish that the students on the island scored 190. The national average was 239.
According to the analysis, students in Puerto Rico did no master the skills measured in the test, as their results fell into Basic and below Basic categories.
Only Math is assessed on the island.
Puerto Rico not included in national scores
The NAEP in Puerto Rico in NAEP are not used to calculate national scores, however local performance is included in some of the reports annually published annually.
Usually, the island's educational statistics are neither part of the analysis on the academic achievement of US public school students nor at of those at international level, Keleher recalled.
Only this year, there were three major reports on the state of US education, and Puerto Rico does not appear in any of them, said the official.
"The situation of Puerto Rico is not represented. The data should be there, it's a challenge we have," said the Secretary, noting that there are databases that do not include information about Washington D.C.
The NAGB has also influence on the administration of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) standardized tests.
Keleher stressed that being appointed to the 26-member Board will allow her to interact with school officials from several states and experts in different education areas. In the same way, as part of her position, she will be the representative of US state educational agencies, what means she will probably keep in contact with state officials, who otherwise would not have communicated with the Puerto Rico Secretary of Education.
"It is an opportunity that I can use to benefit public education in Puerto Rico, especially students. We will be able to see the best of the best practices, what is happening and bring all those recommendations of things that can be successfully implemented in Puerto Rico and that have worked in other places," she said.
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