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News Release - Colorado eighth-graders continue to outperform other states on biennial NAEP test

April 10, 2018

Colorado eighth-graders continue to outperform other states on biennial NAEP test 

DENVER - Colorado eighth-graders performed better than their peers in other states on the biennial national reading and math assessment known as NAEP, according to the results from last year's tests that were released today. 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is called The Nation's Report Card and is administered by the U.S. Department of Education to representative samples of students around the nation. Math and reading tests are given every other year to fourth- and eighth-grade students at the state and national levels.

Results from the 2017 tests showed not only did Colorado's eighth-graders have statistically higher average scores than their peers across the country in math and reading, but they also had higher percentage achieving at the NAEP Basic and Proficient levels. 

Colorado fourth-graders followed the same course on the reading tests with statistically higher average scores than their national peers, and a higher percentage scoring at the Basic and Proficient levels than those in other states. But in math, Colorado's fourth-graders didn't have significantly higher average scores, and the percentages performing above Basic or Proficient levels were not statistically different from those around the country.

The 2017 scores on the fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math assessments were relatively unchanged from the 2015 scores. Colorado's average scores have been flat for about 10 years with one exception. Colorado’s eighth-grade reading results showed a statistically significant increase, rising from 266 in 2007 to 270 in 2017.

The state’s results continue to show significant score gaps across student groups. Colorado students who were eligible for free or reduced lunch, students with disabilities, black students, Hispanic students and students who were English learners all continue to have lower average scores than their peers across all grades and subject areas assessed by NAEP. These subgroup gaps are not significantly different than they were in 2007. 

While Colorado’s gaps between whites and blacks and between those who are eligible for free and reduced lunch tend to be similar to more than 30 states/jurisdictions, only one state/jurisdiction had consistently larger gaps for these groups -- Washington, D.C. 

“Colorado, like much of the rest of the country, still has work to do to close our achievement gaps, but I know that our teachers are already working long, hard hours to meet the needs of students," said Katy Anthes, Colorado's education commissioner. "I believe that teachers can’t do it alone. We need to rally entire communities around our students to meet their needs before, during and after they enter and leave the school building each morning, so they all have equal access to the educational opportunities at school.”

2017 NAEP Colorado Subgroup Gaps Compared to 2017 NAEP National Subgroup Gaps

 

Grade 4 Reading

Grade 8 Reading

Grade 4 Math

Grade 8 Math

CO

Nation

CO

Nation

CO

Nation

CO

Nation

White-Black gap

29 pts

26 pts

28 pts

25 pts

28 pts

25 pts

35 pts

33 pts

White-Hispanic gap

26 pts

23 pts

22 pts

19 pts

24 pts*

19 pts

30 pts*

24 pts

FRL-non FRL gap

29 pts

28 pts

27 pts

24 pts

26 pts

25 pts

31 pts

30 pts

Female-Male gap

6 pts

6 pts

9 pts

10 pts

0 pts

-2 pts

0 pts

0 pts

Disabled-non Disabled gap

53 pts*

40 pts

40 pts

39 pts

38 pts*

29 pts

44 pts

41 pts

ELL-non ELL gap

41 pts

37 pts

42 pts

42 pts

33 pts*

26 pts

50 pts*

39 pts

 
*CO gap is statistically different (p<.05) than National gap
 

Key Findings for Colorado NAEP 2017 Reading

Overall Key Findings for Grade Four Reading

  • In 2017, the average reading score for fourth-grade students in Colorado was 225. This was higher than that for students across the nation (221).
  • In 2017, there were four states/jurisdictions that outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and New Hampshire); 26 states that were not significantly different than Colorado and 21 scored significantly lower than Colorado.
  • The average score for students in Colorado in 2017 (225) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (224) or in 2007 (224).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 40 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (35 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient in 2017 (40 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (39 percent) or in 2007 (36 percent).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 71 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (67 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic in 2017 (71 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (71 percent) or in 2007 (70 percent).

Overall Key Findings for Grade Eight Reading

  • In 2017, the average reading score for eighth-grade students in Colorado was 270. This was higher than that for the nation's public schools (265).
  • In 2015, there were four states/jurisdictions that outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire), 20 states that were not significantly different than Colorado and 27 scored significantly lower than Colorado.
  • The average score for students in Colorado in 2017 (270) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (268) and was higher than 2007 (266).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 41 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (35 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient in 2017 (41 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (38 percent) and was greater than 2007 (35 percent).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 79 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (75 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic in 2017 (79 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (78 percent) or in 2007 (79 percent).

Key Findings for Colorado NAEP 2017 Mathematics

Overall Key Findings for Grade Four Math

  • In 2017, the average mathematics score for fourth-grade students in Colorado was 241. This was not significantly different from that for the nation's public schools (239).
  • In 2017, there were 11 states/jurisdictions that outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming); 20 states that were not significantly different than Colorado and 21 scored significantly lower than Colorado.
  • The average score for students in Colorado in 2017 (241) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (242) or in 2007 (240).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 42 percent. This was not significantly different from that for the nation's public schools (40 percent).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient (42 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (43 percent) or in 2007 (41 percent).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 80 percent. This was not significantly different from that for the nation's public schools (79 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic in 2017 (80 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (82 percent) or in 2007 (82 percent).
Overall Key Findings for Grade Eight Math
  • In 2017, the average mathematics score for eighth-grade students in Colorado was 286. This was higher than that for the nation's public schools (282).
  • In 2015, there were five states/jurisdictions that outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New Jersey ), 19 states that were not significantly different than Colorado and 28 scored significantly lower than Colorado.
  • The average score for students in Colorado in 2017 (286) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (286) or in 2007 (286).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 38 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (33 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient in 2017 (38 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (37 percent) or in 2007 (37 percent).
  • In 2017, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 74 percent. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (69 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic in 2017 (74 percent) was not significantly different from that in 2015 (73 percent) or in 2007 (75 percent).

Background

Since 1969, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) under the U.S. Department of Education has administered the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. NAEP provides national and state achievement results of elementary and secondary students in the U.S. in eight subject areas, including math, reading, writing and science. Based on a representative sample of students at the state and national level selected to participate, NAEP produces state results for grades four and eight in math and reading every two years. With the exception of Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) districts which will receive district results, the NAEP assessments are not designed to produce individual student, school, or district data, but can be used to provide a point of reference for comparisons between states and to provide a representative picture of average student performance over time. In 2017, 27 districts nationwide participated in the TUDA program.  States are neither rewarded nor sanctioned based on their results.

For the 2017 mathematics assessment, 287,400 fourth-grade students in 7,440 public schools and 277,400 eight-grade students in 6,150 public schools nationwide participated in the math and reading tests. In Colorado, 6,300 fourth-grade students in 160 public schools and 6,100 eighth-grade students in 140 public schools participated in the math and reading tests. 2017 is the first year that all NAEP reading and math assessments are digitally-based.

For more information on the 2017 NAEP scores, visit the NAEP website.

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