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Wisconsin surpasses national averages on 'nation's report card'

Wisconsin 4th and 8th graders scored above national averages in math and reading in the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress survey of student achievement released Wednesday (October 19, 2005).

Fourth graders earned an average score of 241 in math, compared to the national average of 237 – an improvement from 2003 when Wisconsin's average score was 237. Eighth graders scored 285 in math – the same as 2003 – compared to the national average of 278.

In reading, 4th graders scored 221, compared to 217 for the national average. Eighth graders scored 266, compared to 260 nationally. Both grades' scores for reading were the same in 2003.

The NAEP is a small sampling assessment, popularly called "the nation's report card," designed to provide a snapshot of student achievement. The assessment is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which was reauthorized in 2002 as the so-called “No Child Left Behind” act, which requires national and state NAEP assessments at least every two years in reading and mathematics, at grades 4 and 8.

State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster said the results are "solid," but she is concerned about the state's high poverty rate.

"In the past two year, Wisconsin had the highest growth rate in poverty of all 50 states," Burmaster said. "Our schools are experiencing the highest levels of poverty in more than a decade, with 14% of Wisconsin's children coming from economically disadvantaged families. We know poverty is a challenge to student achievement."

The survey also shows a racial achievement gap. The state's Asian, Pacific Islander, African American and Hispanic students trailed white students' scores in both reading and math.

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association and the National Education Association are helping bridge the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged and minority students in Milwaukee with an NEA grant worth up to $2.5 million. The NEA grant, announced in September, comes with an expectation that the gaps will be reduced each year as a result of improved teacher and staff training, better planning and more materials. It provides $500,000 per year for up to five years to a union-district partnership.

2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress

Posted October 19, 2005

Education News