This morning the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) results for Mathematics and Reading were released. The TUDA results look specifically at 21 large urban school districts that volunteered to have their NAEP scores reported separately (three of which participated for the first time; see the complete rundown of cities here).
The TUDA results for both reading and math in the fourth and eighth grade followed the same trend as the national results that were released last month: scores show little to no significant change since 2009. At the fourth-grade level average reading scores did not significantly improve in any of the 18 districts that previously participated. In eighth grade, the results are almost the same, with only one district, Charlotte, showing a significant improvement in its scores from 2009. The results in mathematics are somewhat more encouraging. Four districts -- Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore City, and Boston -- demonstrated higher scores than 2009, and ever more encouraging is the fact that, at the eighth-grade level, six districts performed better than they did in 2009.
Cleveland, Ohio’s second-largest district, is a TUDA participant. And like most of the other TUDA cities, its scores in both reading and math at the fourth and eighth grade level were not significantly different than 2009. The district also had lower overall average scores than the state of Ohio. (For a recap of how Ohio did on the NAEP see here.)
Cleveland’s results are even more discouraging when compared to other large cities and to the nation. For example, 68 percent of Cleveland’s fourth graders scored at a below basic level in reading, compared to 45 percent of students in other large cities and 34 percent nationally. The same trend continues when you look at math. Forty-seven percent of fourth graders in Cleveland scored below basic proficiency, compared to 26 percent in other large cities and 28 percent nationwide.
These lackluster results come in the wake of several reform efforts that Cleveland has been pushing hard for the past 18 months. Almost two year ago Cleveland launched a far-reaching strategy to improve achievement and repair the district. Included in the strategy is a systematic way to identify chronically low- performing schools and address them and more school choice options for students in the form of alternative schools and charters. The district has also broken down high schools into smaller schools focused on specific themes and is moving forward with a rigorous evaluation system to distinguish highly effective teachers.
Cleveland should be applauded for these efforts; however, today’s NAEP results show that these nascent efforts have not yet begun to move the achievement needle.