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NAEP Scores Show More 8th Graders At Higher Reading Levels

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, (404) 651-7358,  mcardoza@gadoe.org    - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook     March 24, 2010  – A higher percentage of Georgia’s 8th graders are scoring at or above basic and proficient levels in reading than ever before, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released today. Seventy-two (72) percent of 8th graders scored at the basic or above level, compared to 70% in 2007. The national average shows 74% of 8th graders at the basic or above level, but had only a one percent increase from 2007, compared to Georgia’s two percent increase.   "Since day one, my vision has been for Georgia to lead the nation in improving student achievement,” said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. “For us to accomplish this we have to improve at a faster rate than the nation, and our 8th graders are doing that.”   Georgia’s 4th graders saw a slight decrease since 2007 in the percentage of students at basic levels and above, but the percentage of students at or above proficient increased one percentage point while the nation had no increase.   Georgia students in grades 4 and 8 took the NAEP exams in reading last school year. The students who were tested had been taught using the state's new Reading/English Language Arts curriculum for four years.   The NAEP is given to a representative sample of students in every state. Scores are broken into four categories -- below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.    At or Above the Nation   Georgia's minority students continued to score the same or better than minority students across the nation. In 4th grade reading, for instance, Georgia's Hispanic students scored a 208, four points higher than the national Hispanic average. African-American students had a scale score of 204, the same as the national African-American average. In 8th grade reading, Hispanic students in Georgia scored a 254, six points higher than the national Hispanic average. African-Americans in Georgia had a scale score of 249, four points higher than the national African-American average. (NAEP is scored on a scale of 0-500)    Progress Since 2003   NAEP Reading results in 4th and 8th grade have increased for virtually all students in all subgroups. In 2009, the average 4th grade reading scale score of 218 was four points higher than in 2003. And 8th grade students had an average reading scale score of 260 this year, compared to a 258 in 2003.   4th Grade Reading (increase from 2003 to 2009):     - Hispanic students scored seven points higher.     - African-American students scored five points higher.     - White students scored three points higher.     - Economically-disadvantaged students scored six points higher.     - Students with Disabilities scored six points higher.     - English Language Learners scored four points higher.   8th Grade Reading (increase from 2003 to 2009):     - Hispanic students scored nine points higher.     - African-American students scored five points higher.     - White students’ scores held steady.     - Economically-disadvantaged students scored six points higher.     - Students with Disabilities scored 12 points higher.     - English Language Learners (sample size was not met so no score reported).   The gains on the NAEP reading exam provide further evidence that Georgia's new curriculum -- the Georgia Performance Standards -- is having a big impact.   "We know that our new curriculum is setting high expectations for all of our students and those high expectations are paying off," said Superintendent Cox. “I want to thank all of our educators for embracing our more rigorous and relevant curriculum standards."   Aside from the Georgia Performance Standards, Superintendent Cox credited the No Child Left Behind Act and the state's promotion and retention policy for bringing a new focus to reading education for all students.   More Information:   - Charts and Graphics:  http://tinyurl.com/GaNAEPReading    - National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) website:  http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/      
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