The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

I remain obsessed with trying to understand out the gigantic seven point surge in scores that Washington DC posted on the 2013 NAEP national assessment, which I first reported on Nov. 7, 2013. Last week, on Nov. 15th, I broke the test data down by race and noticed that while black scores did improve, the seven point increase was more influenced by the growing population of white and Hispanics. Both groups, on average, have even higher test scores than blacks do. A blog reader asked me if I looked at socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, NAEP doesn’t have a SES variable, but it does look at which students are low income as measure by whether they qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

Average Fourth Grade Mathematics Scores in Washington DC on the 2013 NAEP

Qualifies for free or reduced price lunch

Doesn’t qualify for free or reduced price lunch








up 7

up 15

So it’s interesting to see that the lowest income students are not driving the gains as much as the middle class and upper income students are. That jives with what NCES Commissioner Jack Buckley noted nationwide, that the bottom students are not making the same incremental progress that the top students are.

I also broke down the DC results by percentile, but didn’t see the same stark trend. Not sure what to make of this…

Average Fourth Grade Mathematics Scores in Washington DC on the 2013 NAEP by Percentile



















up 8

up 6

up 7

up 7

up 6

Related Stories:

Washington DC and Tennessee post huge gains in math and reading in 2013 while nation shows small improvement

Is gentrification in Washington DC driving the surge in test scores?

The Hechinger Report provides in-depth, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing issues at schools and on campuses throughout the country. We tell the whole story, even when the details are inconvenient. Help us keep doing that.

Join us today.

Letters to the Editor

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information. We will not consider letters that do not contain a full name and valid email address. You may submit news tips or ideas here without a full name, but not letters.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email address. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *