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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

2013

220

261

2011

213

246

change

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

10th

25th

50th

75th

90th

2013

184

205

229

252

273

2011

176

199

222

245

267

change

up 8

up 6

up 7

up 7

up 6

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Jill Barshay writes the weekly “Proof Points” column about education research and data, covering a range of topics from early childhood to higher education. She taught algebra to ninth-graders for...

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