Oregon student scores for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released yesterday, did not change significantly from last year. However, long-term trends, illustrated in the graphs below, show a steady improvement over time.
Even though Oregon students overall are doing better than they did in 2000, a stubborn achievement gap continues to persist between white students and students of color, and also between students living in poverty and their more affluent peers. The gap is a disheartening testament to the challenges some students in our public school system face.
Here are some more takeaways from Oregon’s NAEP results:
- The average math score for Oregon fourth-graders students was only two points lower than the national average.
- Black students had an average score that was 26 points lower than the average score for White students. This gap has narrowed only slightly since 2000, falling only five points.
- Hispanic students had an average score that was 18 points lower than that of White students. There hasn’t been much change in this gap since 2000 when there was a 25 point-gap.
- Students who were eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch scored on average 20 points lower than students who were not eligible. This gap hasn’t narrowed much since 2000 when there was a 22-points gap.
Long-term trends in 4th grade math:
- Hispanic students scored on average 22 points lower than White students. While this continues to represent a significant gap, it has narrowed a bit since 2000, when the gap was 36 points.
- Students from low-income families scored an average of 26 points lower than those students who are not from low-income families. At 23 points, the gap was barely narrower in 2000.
Long-term trends in 8th grade math:
- In 2015, the average score for Oregon fourth-graders fell only by a point.
- The average score for Hispanic was 25 points lower than for White students. The gap has narrowed since 1998, when there was a 39-point difference.
Long-term trends in 4th grade reading:
- In 2015, Hispanic students had an average reading score that was 22 points lower than the average score for White students, compared to a 32-point difference in 1998.
- Students who were eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch had an average score that was 20 points lower than for those who were not eligible. This achievement gap has not changed since 1998 when there was a 19 point-difference.
Long-term trends in 8th grade reading:
One last observation I find surprising is that while Oregon student achievement is close to national average, it’s not uncommon to hear references like “Oregon is ‘Appalachia West.’” That’s because despite our average reading and math scores for 4th and 8th graders, our graduation rates are merely three slots up from dead last.
While our younger students fare pretty well on a national scale, we’re not doing a great job of supporting students once they are in high school. In addition to having one of the worst graduation rates, three in four high school graduates who go on to community college are not ready for college-level work. This is helpful information to use in figuring out what's working and what's not as we make improvements to our K-12 education system.
About National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): The NAEP exam is commonly referred to as the Nation’s Report Card. It’s a snapshot taken from a representative group of students from across the country, measuring progress at the state and national level. It also tracks demographic shifts in scores, as well as progress at the district level. Watch an explanatory video.