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Closing the Gap in Reading and Math: NAEP Trends Show Significant Positive Effects for Almost Half the States


This paper analyzes the state-level NAEP trends (available from the U.S. Department of Education online through the NAEP Report Card, Our goal was to determine the extent of improvement in scores for low-income students in each state, and then compare change for this group of students with the change for the average student in the same state.

A valid and useful method of applying state-level student achievement scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is to measure the trend for a state -- i.e. extent of change from one year's state NAEP results to the results several years later. Another method of applying NAEP results by state is to analyze the extent of change for specific groups of students, and particularly the groups of students that have traditionally had lower levels of achievement in school, such as students from lower-income families. With increasing emphasis on disaggregation of student outcomes data under NCLB, educators are increasingly focused on tracking educational progress by specific student group in order to determine the effectiveness of our schools in improving the performance of all students.