Results from exams given to a cross section of fourth-and eighth-graders nationally showed Louisiana lagging the nation in terms of proficiency in subject matter — with improvements in some areas and declines in others.
The National Assessment of Education Progress, commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card, was released Wednesday. The results for 2015 show that, while Louisiana fourth-graders’ performance improved, only 29 percent of them were deemed proficient in reading — 6 percentage points lower than the national score.
The percentage of eighth-graders considered proficient at reading was 23 percent, 10 percentage points lower than the nation.
Thirty percent of fourth-graders were considered proficient at math, compared to 39 percent of students nationally; Only 18 percent of eighth-graders achieved proficiency in math — 14 percentage points below the national figure.
The Louisiana Department of Education’s analysis of the figures shows the state moving up in its overall NAEP ranking in fourth-grade reading proficiency from 50th in 2009 to 43rd this year. The state edged up from 48th to 45th in fourth-grade math but is stuck at 48th in eighth-grade reading. For eighth-grade math, the state slipped from 45th in 2009 to 49th this year.
“In Louisiana, the NAEP shows both long-term, steady improvement, of which the state should be proud, and gaps within our state and beyond our borders that should fuel our push for higher expectations,” the state Department of Education said in a news release.
The NAEP tests are not part of the state’s school accountability program. The state notes in its analysis that, in an average state, they are administered to 2,500 students in about 100 public schools. By contrast the Common Core-aligned tests given for the first time this year in Louisiana were taken by 320,000 students in all public schools.
Both tests showed how far the state has to go in terms of raising student achievement to proficiency — or “mastery” in the language of the state Common Core-aligned tests.
The percentage of students achieving mastery in state test results released earlier this month ranged from from 22 percent (7th grade math) to 40 percent (8th grade English Language Arts).