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District of Columbia’s NAEP Scores Show Continued Progress in Closing the Gap with the Nation Over Time

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Results remain statistically similar to 2015, reflecting national trend

Media Contact: Fred Lewis, [email protected], (202) 412-2167
Results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released today, showing results in reading and math for fourth and eighth grade students at public schools in Washington, DC consistent with 2015 scores. The District’s results reflect the national trend, which show little or no change since the last administration of the assessment in 2015. However, for the first time, black fourth grade students in Washington, DC scored higher than black fourth grade students nationwide.

“The District has shown steady growth over time, closing achievement gaps between our students and students across the country, but we have much more work to do to accelerate, deepen, and build on the progress we’ve made,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “As we continue to broaden and improve the programs and policies we have put in place over the years, these results help us understand what’s working broadly and where we need to double down and focus our efforts.”
While District of Columbia average scale scores showed no statistically significant growth or decline since 2015, the District has continued to close the gap with the national public schools’ average since 2003 – the first year all states were required to participate in NAEP – in several categories, including grade 4 math (29-point gap in 2003; 8-point gap in 2017), grade 4 reading (28-point gap in 2003; 8-point gap in 2017), and grade 8 math (33-point gap in 2003; 16 point gap in 2017). Grade 8 reading progress has followed the national public average trend (22-point gap in 2003; 18-point gap in 2017).

In examining subgroup trends from 2003 to 2017, fourth grade black students in the District have closed the gap with their peers nationally in reading (13-point gap in 2003; 2 points ahead of the national public black student average in 2017) and math (14-point gap in 2003; 1 point ahead of the national public black student average in 2017). In eighth grade, black students mirror the progress of the national public black student average in math (3 points from closing the gap) and are progressing at a similar rate as the national public black student average in reading (8 points from closing the gap).  

Similarly, fourth grade Hispanic students in the District are closing the gap with their peers nationally in both reading (12-point gap in 2003; 4-point gap in 2017) and math (16-point gap in 2003, 1 point ahead of the national Hispanic student average in 2017), and eighth grade Hispanic students are closing the gap in math (12-point gap in 2003; 5-point gap in 2017).

In grade 4 reading, the District saw progress for students with disabilities participating in NAEP with a statistically significant gain of 11 points from 2015 to 2017.

Nationally, only one state showed statistically significant gains since 2015 in grade 4 math, while 10 other states declined between 2 and 6 points. No state had statistically significant gains in grade 4 reading, while nine states posted declines of between 3 and 6 points. Two states made statistically significant gains in grade 8 math, while scores in three states dropped 3 to 4 points. In grade 8 reading, 10 states showed 3- to 4-point gains, while one state saw a statistically significant decline.

Administered every two years by the National Center for Education Statistics in mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8, NAEP is the largest nationally representative assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in several subject areas. Commonly referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card,” NAEP provides a clear picture of student academic progress over time. The 2017 NAEP release highlights statewide results for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools in fourth and eighth grade reading and mathematics.

In the District, about 4,400 fourth grade students took either the NAEP math or reading assessment; about 3,000 eighth grade students took one of the assessments during the 2016-17 school year.

Additional information, along with complete results of “The Nation’s Report Card: Reading and Mathematics 2017,” is available for review and can be downloaded from www.nationsreportcard.gov. View OSSE’s results on the OSSE website.