Six Headlines From 2015 NAEP TUDA



By 11/12/2015

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I spent a few hours digging into the recently released 2015 NAEP TUDA data. The results didn’t get much media coverage. That’s a shame because these are the best assessments for understanding student performance in (and comparing the results of) America’s biggest urban districts.

It’s a treasure trove of information, and it tells hundreds of stories. I encourage you to get into the numbers and see what pops for you.

I tried to condense my big takeaways into six headlines and images.

1. We’ve been trying to improve urban districts for half a century. These are the results. No district is able to get even one in five black kids up to proficiency in eighth-grade math or reading.

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2. Across the participating districts, there has been meager progress in both subjects and both grades for more than a decade.

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3. A few districts, however, have made gains over time, most notably Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles. They deserve credit.

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4. Instances of progress deserve attention because progress is not guaranteed. For example, several districts have made virtually no headway in eighth-grade reading among low-income kids.

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5. The districts that have made the most progress are the ones that started the farthest behind a decade ago. So despite consistent progress, Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles are either at or still below the performance of the average large urban district.

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6. It is essential when looking at NAEP TUDA data to always disaggregate the results (hence my focus above on black and low-income kids). The achievement gap in urban districts is larger than the achievement gap in the rest of the nation. White and non-poor students in urban districts are generally high-performing. Their results can skew citywide results.

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—Andy Smarick

This post originally appeared on the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper.




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