The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results were released today and Duval tops the list of urban school districts in student achievement.
Duval’s fourth-grade students ranked No. 1 on the math assessment (49% scored at or above proficient), surpassing the other 26 school districts who participate in NAEP’s Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) program. These districts include Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Charlotte.
- Duval’s fourth- and eighth-grade scores in reading and math were higher than the average for large cities.
- The fourth-grade student results also beat the average for all public schools.
- Within the subgroups for fourth-grade math, African-American students in Duval took the top spot in math among TUDA districts while Hispanic students came in second. They rank second and third, respectively, for fourth-grade reading.
Nationally, the data wasn’t as exciting. Scores mostly remained steady compared to the last administration of the NAEP in 2015 when they declined for the first time in two decades. Even more concerning, large achievement gaps remain between low socioeconomic students and their wealthier peers. Furthermore, the score differential between higher-performing and lower-performing students continued to increase. Among the states, Florida observed large gains, earning praise from the acting commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Peggy Carr.
Here is how Duval compared to Florida and nationally for students who scored at or above proficient on the math and reading assessments:
How is the NAEP administered?
States receive the same NAEP test booklet, and the data from the “Nation’s Report Card,” is used to track America’s progress in student academic achievement nationally and across states and large urban school districts using a representative sample. Students in the fourth and eighth grades take the main assessments (reading and math) but data for individual students and schools is not reported. NAEP is sponsored by the Department of Education. Among other benefits, NAEP provides results about achievement in subject matters, instructional experiences and school environment for student populations by grade level and subject area, as well as groups within those populations such as students of color or a specific gender. Researchers and analysts of NAEP results caution against narrowly using the data and urge readers to look at the long-term trends.
This year, state education leaders have expressed concern about the accuracy of results for comparison purposes due to information that suggests statistical differences exist between students who took the assessment on paper and those who took it using a digital tablet. 2017 was the first time the NAEP was partially conducted electronically. The data comparing the paper and tablet results was not provided with today’s release; Commissioner Carr said she will share it with superintendents who ask. Multiple state leaders are worried that students with less access to digital technology, including students from low-income backgrounds, won’t perform as well simply because of the computer-testing method, thus skewing the ability to properly compare results.
Duval school officials react to the district’s results with pride
“We are definitely on the rise,” Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis said. “Being an urban district ahead of the national average for all public schools reflects very strongly the way our schools have improved the instructional experience for students. Excellence is our goal, and our schools are moving in that direction.”
“This is our mission,” said Duval School Board Chairwoman Paula Wright. “We work hard to stay focused on the mission and it is now showing in our results. From record high graduation to national leadership in NAEP results, schools in Duval are an asset to attract jobs and economic investment to our community.”