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District of Columbia's NAEP Scores Show Sustained, Significant Improvement, Outpace the Nation

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Contact: Jessie Harteis (202) 344-9805; [email protected]

Fourth grade students in the District of Columbia posted significant gains in reading and math, while reading and math scores for eighth grade students remained statistically even with 2013 results, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Average scale scores for fourth grade students in the District increased seven points in reading and three points in math between 2013 and 2015. 

DC achieved the biggest gains of any state in fourth grade reading. NAEP scores for public schools in the District continue to show steady progress in a year when scores stayed flat or declined nationwide.

The District was one of only three states to see improvements in fourth grade math and one of 13 states to improve in fourth grade reading. Eighth grade reading and math results remained consistent with 2013 results in the District, while 22 other states saw statistically significant declines in math and eight other states saw statistically significant declines in reading.

“I am inspired by the hard work of our students and educators in the District and pleased to see the NAEP results reflect their efforts,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang, who highlighted fourth grade results as an example of continued progress. “District fourth graders, who have benefitted from more rigorous instruction from the beginning of their academic lives, made significant progress in reading that outpaced gains made by other states.”

DC students continue to close the gap with their peers nationally. In fourth grade reading and math, the gap narrowed from 28 points and 29 points in 2003 to nine points in each subject in 2015.

In both fourth grade reading and math, DC’s black students are performing on par with their national peers. In 2003, on average, black students in the District scored 14 points below their peers across the nation in fourth grade math. In 2015, black students have all but eliminated this gap, closing within one point of their peers. Similarly, in fourth grade reading, black students closed the gap with their nationwide peers from 13 points in 2003 to two points in 2015.

NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics and is the largest nationally representative continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in several subject areas. NAEP is commonly referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card,” and provides a clear picture of student academic progress over time. The NAEP release highlights statewide results for the District of Columbia that include District of Columbia (DCPS) students and public charter school students, as well as DCPS’s results on the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Today’s release shows gains in both DC’s statewide NAEP and TUDA results.

In the District, more than 4,400 fourth grade students took either the NAEP math or reading assessment; more than 3,600 eighth grade students took one of the assessments during the 2014-15 school year. 

Additional information, along with complete results of “The Nation’s Report Card: Reading and Mathematics 2015,” is available for review and can be downloaded from