Achievement Gap Continues To Narrow As Student Population Becomes More Diverse
"These results, like the long-term July data, confirm that we are on the right track with No Child Left Behind, particularly with younger students who have benefited from the core principles of annual assessment and disaggregation of data. The results in fourth grade are particularly encouraging, and we are truly heartened by the continued narrowing of the achievement gap.
"It's notable that as our student population has become increasingly diverse, the scores have continued to rise, and it's no accident. It is a tribute to the hard work of classroom teachers, school principals and local policymakers. These results clearly show a need to apply principles of accountability in middle and high schools."
Secretary Margaret Spellings
Newest Nation's Report Card Shows Steady Growth And Progress By African American Students
- The latest Nation's Report Card, released today, shows steady growth and gains by America's schoolchildren, particularly in the early grades and among African American and other minority students. The results, from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2005 benchmark exam of fourth- and eighth-graders, confirm that real progress is being made in helping to ensure that the promise of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is realized for millions of young Americans from every background.
Closing The Achievement Gap And Realizing The Promise Of NCLB
Signed into law in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act is working to bring all students up to grade level in reading and math, to close the nation's achievement gaps within a decade, and to hold schools accountable for results through annual assessments. Under NCLB, students in grades 3-8 are tested annually with one additional test administered in high school. The NAEP results show that achievement gaps continue to narrow even as student populations become more diverse.
- The achievement gap in eighth-grade math between white and African American students narrowed to its lowest point since 1990.
- In fourth-grade reading, African American students rose 10 points from 2000 to 2005, helping to drive overall progress higher in the last five years (up 6 points) than in the previous eight (down 4 points).
- In fourth-grade math, African American students rose 17 points from 2000 to 2005, helping to drive overall progress nearly as high in the last five years (up 12 points) as in the previous 10 (up 13 points).
- Since 2003, African American fourth-graders have made significant gains in both math (up 4 points) and reading (up 2 points).
Continued Academic Progress
The Nation's Report Card, with state-by-state data, echoes the positive results shown by NAEP's Long-Term Trend data, released in July 2005. The new results show across-the-board improvements in mathematics and in fourth-grade reading, with African American students posting all-time highs in a number of categories. Across the country, a majority of states improved academically or held steady.
- Overall fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores rose to all-time highs.
- Overall fourth-grade reading scores matched the all-time high.
- African American fourth-graders posted the highest reading and math scores in the history of the test.
- African American eighth-graders posted the highest math scores in the history of the test.
- In fourth- and eighth-grade math, higher percentages of white, African American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students performed at or above "proficient" levels as defined by NAEP than in any previous year.
- Forty-three states and the District of Columbia either improved academically or held steady in all categories fourth- and eighth-grade reading and fourth- and eighth-grade math.
More Work To Be Done
- The Nation's Report Card, with state-by-state data, shows across-the-board gains in mathematics and significant improvements in reading. However, the results suggest that more intensive instruction is needed to help older students stay on track. More work remains to be done. But thanks to No Child Left Behind, states and school districts now know what works and where to focus their efforts. We must now extend its high academic standards, accountability and assessments to every grade level so that all African American students and others can realize their full potential in high school and beyond.
About The Nation's Report Card
- The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as the Nation's Report Card, is the yardstick used to measure learning in each state and across the country. By providing policymakers with data about what works, it helps them make informed decisions that will help more students learn. Through two components, the long-term trend assessment (released every five years) and the main and state-by-state assessment (now released every two years), the Nation's Report Card measures what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. The 2005 main assessment, released today, includes national and state-by-state scores for 338,000 fourth-graders and 321,000 eighth-graders tested in reading, mathematics, and other subjects. The NAEP is carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. It is overseen by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), a bipartisan group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives, and members of the general public.
For More Information:
- Please visit http://www.nationsreportcard.gov