NAEP Math Scores in Urban Districts

Thursday, December 17, 2009Printer-friendly version

The 4th and 8th grade results for The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) Mathematics 2009, were released Tuesday December 8, highlighting student achievement scores of students in 18 districts – Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore City, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, District of Columbia, Fresno, Houston, Jefferson County (KY), Los Angeles, Miami- Dade, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia and San Diego.

For most districts, the nation’s average on NAEP was still higher than the urban districts that took the exam. The nation’s average on NAEP in 2009 was 239 (on a 500 point scale), while the urban districts average was 231. More disappointing: The achievement gap did not narrow at all in the 2009 results. However, there are a few bright spots; 4th graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, with an average score of 245, and 8th graders in Austin, with an average score of 240, can boast scores that are higher than the nation’s average. In addition, between 2003 and 2009, the average scores increased in both the 4th and 8th grade, in the districts participating in TUDA over this time period. The average scores also increased in both grades from 2007 to 2009, which is particularly interesting as there was no change in the nations 4th grade overall average from 2007 to 2009.

So what does this all mean? Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools Michelle Rhee spoke about the importance of and need for accountability (at the school and teacher level) in driving up student proficiency scores and David Gordon, a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, focused on the fact that no districts had lost any ground towards increasing their numbers of proficient students, and several have indeed raised their percentages at the release of these new results. Both of these leaders are right; success is possible and within sight, but it will take serious reform and a new take on how to promote and encourage proficiency at all levels of our education system.

To read more about TUDA and view the results for all 18 districts over time, see