Romney Lauds Nation-Topping Performance by Massachusetts Students
BOSTON - Governor Mitt Romney today joined Education Commissioner David Driscoll to announce that Massachusetts outscored the nation the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics exams in 2005.
The Commonwealth's fourth and eighth grade students ranked first in reading and tied for first in mathematics, by far surpassing the national average and improving on the state's own 2003 results. This marks the first year that one state has placed first or tied for first on four exams in one year.
"We're making progress, there's no doubt about it, but we have more work to do," Romney said. "These test scores reflect the hard work and creativity of our students, teachers and schools, but they also reveal that some are still struggling. It is increasingly critical that we advance bold reforms to ensure greater accountability and performance in every classroom."
Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said, "This recognition is a great tribute to the hard work our students and teachers have done in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, while we are leading the nation as a state, we are still facing an unacceptable achievement gap between our white and minority students. We still have an enormous amount of work left to do to get every student in this Commonwealth to Proficient."
Final 2005 results show that fourth graders led the nation in reading, with an average of 44 percent scoring at Proficient or above and tied for first with Minnesota, New Hampshire and Kansas in math, with an average of 49 percent scoring at Proficient or above. Eighth graders were first in the nation in reading with an average of 44 percent scoring at Proficient or above and tied for first with Minnesota in math, with an average of 43 percent scoring at Proficient or above.
Because Boston is one of 11 urban districts nationwide participating in NAEP's Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), it will be the only district in the Commonwealth to receive district results next month.
"The NAEP exams are widely respected as a tough and accurate measure of student performance," said Boston Superintendent Tom Payzant. "We plan to use our local results to help further guide our reform efforts to accelerate the rate of improvement and help all students reach proficiency."
Overall state results show that while some gains were made by minority students, a clear performance gap still exists between white students and black and Hispanic students:
- Grade four: In reading, 20 percent of black students and 11 percent of Hispanic students scored at Proficient or above, as compared to 51 percent of white students. In math, 18 percent of black students and 14 percent of Hispanic students scored at Proficient or above, as compared to 57 percent of white students.
- Grade eight: In reading, 18 percent of black students and 15 percent of Hispanic students scored at Proficient or above, as compared to 50 percent of white students. In math, 15 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics scored at the top two categories, as compared to 49 percent of white students.
"As a state, closing this gap is our biggest challenge and one of our most pressing priorities," Driscoll said. "It is critical that all of our students are given the tools, the assistance and the guidance they need to achieve at higher levels."
The NAEP exam, known as "the Nation's Report Card," is the only national, continuing assessment of what American students know and can do in various subject areas. NAEP is mandated by the U.S. Congress and is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information on the state's results and to view the full Massachusetts report, look online at www.doe.mass.edu/mcas.