Updated: March 24, 2010 at 12:00 am
Colorado students in grades four and eight perform higher than the national average on reading assessments, according to results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Seventy-two percent of fourth-grade students and 78 percent of eighth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level for reading in 2009. Nationally, 66 percent of fourth-grade students and 74 percent of eighth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level. That level means the student has the skills to do proficient work at their grade level.
NAEP is a U.S. Department of Education federally-mandated assessment, referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card,” It is used to provide a point of reference for comparisons between states and to provide an accurate and representative picture of student performance over time.
“This represents the hard work of teachers and all parents and others who help students learn this most fundamental skill,” stated Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones.“Overall these are extremely positive results, but we continue to see a disparity in performance based on race and income and know that the focus on improving reading instruction must continue.”
Jones stated that the state is in the second year of Closing the Achievement Gap initiative. The $1.8 million pilot program is assisting six school districts in effort to close achievement gaps associated with race and income. Each district has an on-sight manager to develop programs and provide professional development. The districts include Roaring Fork, Greeley-Evans District 6, Eagle Schools, Yuma Schools, and St. Vrain Valley.
Nationally, about 172,000 students in 9,004 public schools in grade four and 155,000 students in 6,589 public schools in grade eight took the tests, according to the CDE press release.
In Colorado, approximately 2,920 students in 154 public schools in grade four participated. In grade eight, approximately 2,755 in 121 Colorado public schools participated. Students across the nation participated in the same assessment for each grade and subject.
-Colorado fourth-grade students received an average scale score of 226. Only four states outperformed Colorado fourth-grade students, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont. There were 19 states with results that were not significantly different than Colorado and 28 states significantly lower than Colorado.
-- Colorado fourth-grade average scale score has not significantly changed since the 2007 administration, when the scale score was 224. The average scale score in 1992 was 217, according to the CDE press release.
--Among fourth-grade students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, only four states --Florida, North Dakota, Vermont and Kentucky—were ahead of Colorado.
--The fourth-grade average scale score for white students was 236, while Hispanic students averaged 204 and black students averaged 213.
--The average scale score for Colorado eighth-grade students was 266.
Eleven states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming) and the Department of Defense outperformed Colorado; 19 states were not significantly different;20 states were significantly lower.
--The Colorado grade eight average scale score has not significantly changed since 1998.