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Boston Public Schools Maintains Long-Term Gains On Nation’s Report Card

On Wednesday, October 30, the 2019 results of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), a nationwide assessment for students in fourth and eighth grade, which is also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” show Boston Public Schools (BPS) continues to hold its status as a higher-performing urban school district nationally.

When compared to 26 large school districts around the country, a list of which can be found on NAEP's website, BPS performed the same or better than 20 districts in fourth-grade math and reading, 24 districts in eighth-grade math, and 23 districts in eighth-grade reading.

Additionally, since 2015, Boston has remained on par with the national average in eighth-grade math scores and continued to do so on the 2019 assessment. Detailed results for BPS are available online.

“Boston has always and will continue to place a high value on education,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The Nation’s Report Card is an important assessment of our educational progress as a city, a state, and a nation. We are committed to doing the work that's needed to ensure all Boston students receive a high-quality and equitable education.”

The BPS results have remained steady since the last NAEP assessment in 2017, which is reflective of a national trend for both urban districts and districts overall. The 2019 BPS performance is not statistically significantly different from 2017 performance; BPS gained one scaled score point in grade 4 math, declined three points in grade 4 reading, declined one point in grade 8 math, and declined four points in grade 8 reading.

“Boston Public Schools has shown tremendous progress over the past two decades, but these results underscore our need to continue to place an urgent focus on improving outcomes for all students,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “I am committed to removing the barriers that slow or prevent any student from achieving at the highest level.”

“I’m pleased that BPS continues to lead the nation in several areas, but we all know there is more work ahead,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “The Nation’s Report Card is a valuable way to understand how our students are performing compared to the rest of the country, and provides us a pathway forward for our ongoing strategic planning.”

Since BPS began participating in NAEP in 2003, the district has made some strong gains, which include a 14-point increase in fourth-grade math, a 17-point increase in eighth-grade math, an eight-point gain in fourth-grade reading, and a five-point gain in eighth-grade reading.

Over the past 20 years, the achievement gap between large urban districts and the rest of the nation has narrowed by about 50 percent in reading and math.

“We have made significant progress over the years in both reading and math and we have dramatically narrowed the gap with the nation,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a nationwide professional network of large school districts of which BPS is a member.