NATION’S REPORT CARD: Reading Scores Flat for Fourth Graders; Eighth Graders Improve by One Point: Reading scores for eighth-grade students climbed one point while the reading performance of fourth-grade students was unchanged from 2007 according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading, also known as The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2009. The report also finds that only 32 percent of the nation’s eight graders read at a proficient level, which demonstrates ‘solid academic performance,’ while 25 percent of eighth graders read below the basic level.
MOVING ON UP: Delaware and Tennessee Win First Phase of the Race to the Top Competition: On March 29, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Delaware and Tennessee won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top (RTT) competition, a $4.35 billion competitive grant program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that rewards states for undertaking significant K–12 education reforms designed to boost student achievement.
METLIFE SURVEY OF THE AMERICAN TEACHER: Only Half of Teachers Think Their Students Will Attend a Two- or Four-Year College After High School: A recent survey on educators’ views about student achievement reveals that about two thirds of teachers (64 percent) strongly agree that it is important for all students to have one year or more of postsecondary education in order to be prepared for work or a career. However, the study also shows that only 59 percent of secondary school teachers report that they regularly talk about what college is like with their students and on average, teachers expect only 50 percent of their students will attend a two- or four-year college after high school.
BEATING THE ODDS: New Report Finds that Urban School Districts Are Improving Student Outcomes but Still Trailing State Averages: According to a new report from the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), students in the nation’s biggest cities are improving their performance on state and national tests but are still scoring below state averages. However, the report, Beating the Odds: Analysis of Student Performance on State Assessments and NAEP, also finds that urban districts are demonstrating faster growth in improving math and reading scores than are states.
ARE TEST SCORES PRIMARLY STATIC? Turning Around a Failing School Is “Extremely Difficult” but Not Impossible, According to New Report: A new report from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy finds that turning around a failing school is “extremely difficult” but not impossible. After comparing test scores on the California Assessment Program (CAP) from 1989 and 2009, The 2009 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? finds that test scores are primarily static and concludes that the odds of turning around a failing school are “daunting.”
REPORT EXAMINES CONNECTION BETWEEN HEALTH AND HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS: A new report from the California Dropout Research Project (CDRP) describes the connections between health and high school dropouts and examines several aspects of how health affects dropouts. The report, The Connection Between Health and High School Dropout, notes that children with poor health will likely have difficulty learning throughout their school careers, culminating for many into failure to graduate from high school. After their educational career is over, students who fail to graduate from high school are at an even higher risk for future health problems throughout adulthood.