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Large City Schools Maintain Long-Term Gains on National Test

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EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE                                                        
April 10, 2018, 12:01 a.m., EST                                                                                                

Henry Duvall at 202-393-2427


Large City Schools Maintain Long-Term Gains on National Test

Some Big-City Schools Show Significant Progress since 2015


WASHINGTON, April 10 – Student achievement in the nation’s big-city public schools largely held steady between 2015 and 2017 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), while continuing to show longer term gains in both reading and math over the last 10 to 15 years.

Since 2015, large city public schools saw little change in eighth-grade reading and math and in fourth-grade reading, but they saw a significant decline in fourth-grade math—the first such decline in any subject or grade since large cities began participating in The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA).

At the same time, several participating cities defied broader national trends and produced significant gains. For instance, San Diego saw significant gains in fourth-grade reading and math compared to 2015, and it had numerically higher scores in both subjects at the eighth-grade level. Duval County (Jacksonville), Fresno, and Miami-Dade County posted significant gains in fourth-grade math and Albuquerque and Boston saw significant gains in eighth-grade reading.

In all, five city school districts saw numerically higher scores in at least three subject/grade combinations: San Diego, Atlanta, Fresno, Hillsborough County (Tampa), and Los Angeles. Four additional city school districts saw numerically higher scores in two subject/grade combinations: Chicago, the District of Columbia, Duval County, and Miami-Dade County. And six other cities showed numerically higher scores in one subject or grade: Albuquerque, Austin, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cleveland, and Detroit.

In addition, the new data show that several major city school systems scored comparably to or above the national average, including Austin, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Duval County, Guilford County (Greensboro, N.C.), Hillsborough County, Miami-Dade County, and San Diego, in fourth-grade math. In fourth-grade reading, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Duval County, Guilford County, Hillsborough County, Jefferson County (Louisville), Miami-Dade County, and San Diego posted 2017 scores that were at or above national averages. At the eighth-grade level, Austin, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Duval County, Hillsborough County, and San Diego scored comparably to or above the national average in either reading or math—or both.

“We are still striving to increase the pace of progress in all of our big-city school districts, and the Trial Urban District Assessment helps us to analyze and accelerate student achievement,” says Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public-school systems.

In 2000, the Council appealed to Congress to allow urban school districts to participate independently in the rigorous national test so that the nation’s largest school systems could track their progress against other cities, states, and the nation. Under TUDA, 27 big-city school districts participated in the 2017 urban NAEP, with Clark County (Las Vegas), Denver, Fort Worth, Guilford County (Greensboro), and Shelby County (Memphis) participating for the first time. Milwaukee also rejoined the TUDA program after not participating in 2015.

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