August 12, 2022

Education outcomes for students in low-income communities and students of color are still remarkably low, new CAP report finds.


Boser UlrichWashington, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2016) — A new report published by the Center for American Progress reveals that that many reform-oriented states and school districts are making clear gains in student achievement. In Massachusetts, for instance, the percentage of fourth graders scoring proficient or above in math assessments jumped from 41 percent to 54 percent over a 10 year period. In other words, approximately 7,000 more fourth graders in Massachusetts are reaching proficiency now than they were 10 years ago.

“The states and districts that have boosted achievement offer valuable lessons to other communities seeking to improve the learning and achievement of all their students—including students of color and students from low-income families,” said Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at CAP. “When it comes to addressing the nation’s education crisis, there is a growing consensus that higher standards can help drive up achievement.”

Report authors Boser, Perpetual Baffour, and Steph Vela, rely on data from two national assessments: The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, and the Trial Urban District Assessment, or TUDA. The report estimates the absolute number of students at or above proficient for each disaggregated group. For instance, the authors also found that over the past decade, the District of Columbia has seen about 1,000 more fourth graders score proficient or above in math and reading.

The report also makes clear that the nation has a long way to go and that achievement continues to lag in many areas. In Detroit, for example, only an estimated 120 black students in fourth grade score proficient or above. The numbers are even more alarming in Cleveland, where just about 30 Latino eighth graders would be considered proficient in math.

CAP’s report concludes with a series of recommendations in order to ensure solutions to the nation’s education issues:

  • Implement the higher Common Core standards
  • Promote transparency and high-quality data, including the aligned Common Core assessments
  • Invest in rigorous curricula and high-quality instructional material
  • Ensure students have access to high-quality teachers
  • Promote fiscal equity

Click here to read “A Look at the Education Crisis: Tests, Standards, and the Future of American Education” by Ulrich Boser, Perpetual Baffour, and Steph Vela.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Jennifer Molina at [email protected] or 202.796.9706.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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