This post concerns the 8th grade NAEP TUDA reading scores for DC and other large cities. As you may recall, according to Michelle Rhee’s authorized biographer and friend, here is how Rhee claims she could tell if an applicant for a principal position was good enough:
“What’s good to Rhee? If they arrived at their previous school with 20 percent of students reading on grade level and when they left, the number was 70 percent.” (page 132 of The Bee Eater)
Also recall what Rhee claimed to have done in Baltimore: “Over a two-year period, moved students scoring at the 13th percentile on national standardized tests to 90 percent of students scoring at the 90th percentile or higher.”
Keep that standard in mind when you see these graphs and tables.
First, where are DCPS students right now, after more than 4 years of Rhee/Henderson’s “radical reformist” regime? Way down near the bottom of the pack as measured by percentages of students “below basic”, according to NAEP:
But, you say, surely that pitiful figure of 54% of 8th graders reading on a “below basic” level has been getting better under Rhee and Henderson? Guess again, or else look at this graph for DCPS 8th grade reading results over time, and you will see that just the opposite is true, since it’s now worse than in 2002, 2003, 2007, or even 2009:
Now let’s look at those trends in DC again. As you can see, NAEP TUDA 8th grade reading scores are, in fact, slightly LOWER in 2011 than they have been AT ANY TIME while the TUDA study has been going on:
You can see also that while the scores for higher-income kids dropped in 2011, the gap between the richer and poorer students widened by quite a lot in 2009, and is unchanged in 2011 (in both years, it’s 31 points, as opposed to 15 to 21 points during the earlier years).
And let’s look at the gaps between scores of various ethnic groups in DC over time at the 8th grade reading level:
In the graph above, we lack a lot of scores for white students for many years, simply because there were not enough white DCPS students tested at those points in time to satisfy statistical reporting requirements. However, it is clear that the arrival of the protegees of Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg has NOT benefited any of the 8th grade groups shown: not Hispanic students, not Black students, and not White students.
You might be thinking, “Well, perhaps these gaps are bad in DC, but they are worse elsewhere?”
Pretty much, NO. There are only two cities with larger 8th grade reading achievement gaps between the rich and the poor on the NAEP: Austin and Fresno.
Now let’s look at the gap between scores of white and black 8th graders in various cities, below. As you can see, DC’s gap (circled) is by far the widest such gap: 58 points.
And for Hispanics and whites?
(/sarcasm on) We beat Fresno and Austin! Yippee! DC has the biggest gap! (/sarcasm off)