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Georgia Students Show Significant Improvement on National Assessment

Media Contact:  - Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,   October 14, 2009 -- Georgia is one of just 15 states to show significant improvement in eighth-grade mathematics, according to national test results released today.     The results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are the first national results that show the impact of Georgia's new mathematics curriculum. Nearly all the grade 8 students who took the NAEP last school year had been taught using the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) in mathematics for three years.      "This is the first evidence we have that the GPS is helping our students be more competitive at the national level," Superintendent Cox said. "I am confident this is just the beginning of the gains our students will show on national tests as our new curriculum takes hold."      "These latest Math NAEP scores continue to show that we are making significant progress in the most important subject areas," said Governor Sonny Perdue, who was named to the National Assessment Governing Board in May by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "Our scores are improving at a faster rate than the national average, which is a result of the hard work of our students, parents and teachers.      Georgia’s eighth grade scores on the NAEP have also shown a higher rate of growth than the nation over the last several years. In 2003, Georgia's score of 270 was six points lower than the nation (276). This year’s results show the gap between Georgia and the nation has decreased to just four points.      “Since I became State Superintendent in 2003 my focus has been on implementing a more rigorous curriculum and requiring higher expectations of all students,” Superintendent Cox said.      The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a test given to a representative sampling of students from each state across the nation. The test is scored on a scale from 0 to 500 and is also broken down into four scoring categories: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.      NAEP results for Mathematics were released today in grades 4 and 8. NAEP results in other subjects, including reading, will be released in the coming months.    GRADE 8       Georgia is one of 15 states that shows statistically-significant improvement on the Mathematics NAEP when compared to the last test given in 2007.      Georgia's eighth graders scored 278, up three points and just four points behind the national average of 282. All subgroups in Grade 8 showed improvement, most notably Hispanic students (270, up four points from 2007) and economically disadvantaged students (265, up three points).       "Georgia's eighth-graders gained on the nation and showed improvement in every major student subgroup," Superintendent Cox said. "I know that if we stay on our current path in mathematics, our students will continue to be competitive on national and international assessments."      About two-thirds of Georgia's 8th graders (67%) scored at basic level or higher on the 2009 NAEP -- up three points from 2007 -- and 27% scored at proficient or above, up two points.      "We will not be satisfied until all of our students are scoring at higher levels on the NAEP," Superintendent Cox said, "but it's clear we are making progress."      The achievement gap between Black and White students in 8th grade in Georgia continues to be smaller than the national average. Since 2003, Georgia’s gap has decreased seven points from 34 to 27 while the national average has closed only three points from 35 to 32.      Georgia has also closed the achievement gap among students eligible for the National School Lunch Program and those that are not. This gap has closed six points since 2003 from 31 to 25, while the national average closed only one point.    GRADE 4       Fourth-grade scores on the Mathematics NAEP were fairly steady compared to 2007.      Georgia's grade 4 test-takers scored 236 on the Mathematics NAEP, up one point from 2007 and just three points behind the national average. Georgia's student subgroup scores also remained generally the same. None of the changes in Georgia's fourth-grade scores were considered statistically significant.      However, Superintendent Cox pointed out that the fourth-grade students who took the NAEP had only been taught using the GPS in Mathematics for one-and-a-half years at the time of the test.  "We should see significantly better results from our fourth-graders the next time the NAEP is given," Superintendent Cox said.      In 2009, 78 percent of Georgia's fourth-graders scored at or above the basic level, down one point from 2007. However, 34 percent scored at the proficient level or higher, up two points from the last test.      The achievement gap between Hispanic and White students in 4th grade in Georgia continues to be smaller than the national average. In 2009, the Hispanic to White achievement gap was five points less than the national average.   MORE INFORMATION:  - National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) website:  - Georgia’s Mathematics Curriculum: