There was a bit of good news for California in the federal government’s latest round of academic test results: it’s one of seven states that registered four-point gains in reading comprehension among eighth-graders.
But that positive morsel in the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing of fourth- and eighth-graders released this week was more than offset by stagnation in other overall trends and, even more unfortunately, by continuation of what educators call the “achievement gap.”
That is the yawning differential of academic skills within socioeconomic and ethnic subgroups.
Take, for example, that increase in eighth grade reading, from a 2015 score of 259 on a 500-point scale to 263 in 2017.
That’s still below the designated “proficiency” level for the nation of 280 and while California’s average scores for white and Asian students reach that level, those for black and Latino students are about 30 points lower, a gap that is fundamentally unchanged over the last 10 years of NAEP testing. Not surprisingly, eighth grade “English-learners” in California fall 50 points behind students deemed to be proficient in English.
Madison’s long term disastrous reading results.