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Good news on the schools front: Mayor Vince Gray and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced today that DCPS experienced a bigger jump in its test scores this year than any other urban district in the country. D.C. students’ gains between 2011 and 2013 on the Trial Urban District Assessment, Gray and Henderson touted in a press release, were higher than any other urban school district in every category. The TUDA breaks down the various districts’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered every two years.
So how does D.C. now stack up against these other urban districts? Still not all that well, but certainly better than a few years ago. In 2007, D.C. was dead last among urban districts on the test. Now the District has surpassed or tied a number of other cities in the four categories: 4th-grade and 8th-grade math and 4th-grade and 8th-grade reading. We now score better than or equal to Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Fresno in all of those those categories.
The District has closed the gap with other cities substantially since 2003, when the D.C.’s average test score was 205 and the national average among large urban districts was 224. Still, we haven’t entirely caught up: The D.C. average this year was 229, compared to the national average of 235. And an enormous achievement gap remains between students of different races in D.C. Only 2 percent of black students and 3 percent of Hispanic students received an advanced score this year; 42 percent of white students did. The difference between white and black students’ scores is largely unchanged from 2003.
But if you’re a parent choosing between D.C. and Fresno for your child’s public-school needs, your decision just got that much easier.
Charts via DCPS