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2017 NAEP results consistent with state and large city trends

Bernard C. "Jack" Young
Mayor, City of Baltimore

Linda Chinnia
Chair, Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners

Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises
Chief Executive Officer

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(Baltimore, MD) — Mirroring trends among districts in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) and more broadly at the state level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), City Schools’ results on NAEP held steady in 4th- and 8th-grade reading and math in 2017. The National Assessment Governing Board released NAEP and TUDA results today.

NAEP was administered nationwide early in 2017 to a sample of students in 4th and 8th grades. Often called the “Nation’s Report Card,” NAEP allows comparisons in reading and math achievement across states and, for TUDA districts, across a subset of 27 large, urban school districts. For the first time, NAEP was given to students on computers, which test officials assert will not affect data trends.

In 2017, City Schools’ NAEP results remained flat from 2015 in 8th-grade reading and math, and in 4th-grade math. A 2-point decrease in 4th-grade reading was not statistically significant. In 4th-grade reading, a scale score of 238 indicates proficiency; in 8th-grade reading, the proficiency scale score is 281, in 4th-grade math, 249; and in 8th-grade math, 299.

bar graph showing average scale scoresAcross large cities, results were essentially flat, with a 1-point decrease in 4th-grade reading and a 2-point decrease in 4th-grade math; results in 8th grade showed a 1 point increase in reading and no change in math. Results were similar nationally, with the exception of a statistically significant 1-point increase in 8th-grade reading. Among the 27 TUDA districts, City Schools was consistently ahead of Cleveland and Detroit and occasionally ahead of Milwaukee.

“These results underscore the urgency of the work we are now doing to ensure our students achieve at higher levels,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. “Across the district, we are working to build the capacity of our school principals to lead instructional improvement across grades and subjects, and we are fostering learning communities where teachers collaborate, learn from one another, and grow as highly skilled professionals. We have turned a deep focus on literacy, not only to improve outcomes in Page 2 of 2 English language arts but also to support students in building knowledge and writing across all subject areas. At the same time, we are working to provide enrichment opportunities, services, and supports that recognize the whole of students' needs, engage their interests, and position them to be successful.”

“We are making major changes to our academic programs in math and English language arts,” said Sean Conley, the district’s chief academic officer. “With the new college and career-ready standards now well established, there are more high-quality options for curriculum materials. This school year, we implemented a new math curriculum, and next school year, we’re moving toward a new English language arts curriculum to accelerate student achievement.”

“These latest results in Baltimore reflect the national trend of relatively steady scores,” said Mike Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. “The data provide the evidence the district needs to accelerate the literacy reform it has now begun to put into place. The district is poised for improvement ahead—and a bright future.”

“City Schools is moving forward on a clear path toward improved student outcomes,” said Board of School Commissioners Chair Cheryl Casciani. “Under Dr. Santelises’ leadership, we are following a blueprint for success in building a district of high-quality schools with educators who have the skills and training they need to help students thrive and grow.”

As in 2015, City Schools increased the rate of students with disabilities who were included in the assessment sample in 2017. The district’s inclusion rate is now in line with the rates of other TUDA districts and nationally.