The following articles from several states reported on improvements in test scores or in closing the achievement gap as found by the Nation’s Report Card State-by-State Data, released Wednesday:
From the Miami Herald (10-21):
"The impressive testing gains Florida elementary students have made on the FCAT were validated by the release Wednesday of a respected national test, but the National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] also showed that the state's middle school students are struggling….
"The good news: Florida's emphasis on the basics in elementary school has produced a remarkable bounce in reading scores.
"In 1998, the first year the FCAT was given, 53 percent of Florida fourth-graders scored at the ‘basic’ level on the federal reading test. That skyrocketed to 63 percent in 2003, and ticked up again to 65 percent in 2005…. Florida's fourth-grade math scores were above the national average this year for the first time.
"‘Overall results are positive,’ said Hanna Skandera, director of Accountability, Research and Measurement with the Department of Education. "We are seeing our reform efforts paying off.’"
From Newsday, reported by the Associated Press (10-20):
"New Jersey students scored higher than most of their counterparts in other states on a standardized test given to fourth- and eighth-graders nationwide, according to exam results released Wednesday.
"On the reading and math tests on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — a test considered the best measure of how students in every state perform on core subjects — New Jersey has some of the highest percentages of students scoring at the ‘advanced’ level. Math scores of fourth-graders also have seen huge gains….
"Ron Rice, a spokesman for the state Education Department, said the scores show the efforts [to narrow the achievement gap] are working.
"‘The achievement gap seems to be moving in the right direction; we've seen some evidence of that,’ he said.
"Overall, the improvement in New Jersey has been dramatic in fourth-grade math. In both 1992 and 1996, 68 percent of New Jersey students scored at the ‘basic’ level or above. In 2005, it was up to 86 percent."
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10-20):
"Pennsylvania students showed a greater proficiency for reading and math than students did nationally, according to results of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress released yesterday….
"‘This is good news for everyone who has contributed to the academic progress of our children throughout the commonwealth and demonstrates continued commitment to meeting the challenges posed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act,’ acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak said in a statement.
"In reading, 36 percent of Pennsylvania's fourth-graders performed at or above the proficient level compared with the national average of 30 percent. In eighth-grade reading, the difference was slightly greater — 36 percent of Pennsylvania students scored at or above proficient, while the national average was 29 percent….
"And Pennsylvania students have shown a marked improvement in math scores since the 1990s. Forty-one percent of fourth-graders scored at the proficient level or above in math in 2005 compared to 22 percent in 1992. Eighth-graders jumped from a 17 percent proficiency level in 1990 to a 30 percent level in 2005."
From the Seattle Times (10-20):
"Washington leads the nation in reading and math scores for African-American fourth-graders, and does almost as well for black eighth-graders, based on a test often called the nation's report card.
"African-American fourth-graders in only Alaska and Delaware matched Washington's performance on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which the U.S. Department of Education released yesterday. In eighth-grade math, only in Alaska did African-American students have higher scores among the states….
"All states have participated in the NAEP since 2003, as a result of the federal No Child Left Behind Act….
"Among Washington fourth-graders tested in the latest exam, the percentage who are proficient in math is higher than in 1996, while in reading the percentage is the same as in 1994.
"Black and Latino students made dramatic gains in achievement on the NAEP reading and math tests, but continued as a group to perform lower than whites and Asians. (The patterns are similar for eighth-graders.)"
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