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For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Massachusetts 4th and 8th Graders Lead the Nation in Reading and Mathematics Performance for the Fifth Consecutive Time

MALDEN - Governor Deval Patrick today announced that Massachusetts 4th and 8th graders once again earned the nation's top scores in reading and mathematics on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam. This year marks the fifth straight administration (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013) in which Massachusetts students have scored first or tied for first place on all four NAEP tests.

According to the 2013 NAEP results, Massachusetts ranked first alone among the states in 8th grade mathematics, and tied for first in 4th grade reading, 4th grade mathematics, and 8th grade reading. On all four tests, Massachusetts students scored well above the national average.

"Education is the Commonwealth's signature calling card around the world," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I couldn't be more proud of our students, teachers, and school administrators whose dedication and hard work made this remarkable achievement possible for the fifth time in a row."

"I applaud the hard work of our teachers, students, and administrators for this incredible feat," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "As we continue to compete in a global economy, it is imperative that we position and prepare all of our students for success so that they can flourish in college, career, and life."

Since two years ago, the performance of Massachusetts students held steady on three of the four NAEP tests – reading at grade 8 and mathematics at grades 4 and 8. But in grade 4 reading, the average score for Massachusetts students in 2013 declined by five points. Massachusetts was one of only three states in the nation to see a statistically significant decline in grade 4 reading scores between 2011 and 2013.

"Our performance in mathematics and in middle grade reading affirms the good progress we are seeing in classrooms across the Commonwealth," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "But whether we look at NAEP or MCAS, our lower grade reading scores are a cause for concern. To address this, we are upgrading the state's curriculum, providing schools with tools and resources to support the shift to new college and career ready standards, and giving educators better feedback than ever before to improve their practice."

For the first time this year, schools across the Commonwealth are fully implementing the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The new standards are more rigorous, coherent, and focused than previous standards – and reinforce the importance of reading, writing, speaking, and listening across all subjects, and not just ELA. School districts are also implementing the state's new educator evaluation system that places student learning at the center of evaluations and supports the professional growth of all teachers and administrators. The new system promotes opportunities for teachers to improve their practice and better serve students in their classrooms.

NAEP, known as "The Nation's Report Card," is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in core subjects. NAEP assesses representative samples of students in all 50 states and reports state-level results at grades 4 and 8. In Massachusetts, 9,300 students were randomly selected at grade 4 to take a NAEP reading or mathematics test, and 8,500 students were randomly selected at grade 8 to take a reading or mathematics test. The scale for NAEP reading and mathematics ranges from 0 to 500.

According to the 2013 NAEP results, Massachusetts 4th graders had an average scaled score of 232 in reading, lower than in 2011 (237) and above the national average of 221. In mathematics, 4th graders scored 253, unchanged from 2011 and higher than the national average of 241. At grade 8, students scored 277 in reading, statistically unchanged from 2011 (275) and above the national average of 266. In mathematics, 8th graders scored 301, statistically unchanged from 2011 (299) and higher than the national average of 284.

Other 2013 NAEP results for Massachusetts students included:

Grade 4 Reading:

  • Massachusetts had the top scaled score (232), tied with Maryland (232), New Hampshire (232), Connecticut (230), and New Jersey (229). The remaining states scored statistically lower than Massachusetts.
  • 47 percent of all Massachusetts students scored Proficient or above, substantially higher than the national average of 34 percent and not statistically different from 2011 (50 percent).
  • In 2013, white students (average scaled score of 241) outscored African American students (209) and Hispanic students (208), and scored similar to Asian/Pacific Islander students (240).
  • 57 percent of white students scored Proficient or above, as did 21 percent of African American students, 20 percent of Hispanic students, and 57 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • Massachusetts' female students at grade 4 outperformed male students in reading both in terms of scaled scores (235 to 229) and the percent scoring Proficient or above (51 percent to 44 percent).
  • The performance of students with disabilities (from 213 to 201) and students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (from 218 to 213) declined significantly between 2011 and 2013. The performance of English language learners (from 204 to 192) did not change significantly between 2011 and 2013.

Grade 8 Reading:

  • Massachusetts had the top scaled score (277), tied with New Jersey (276) and Connecticut (274). The remaining states scored statistically lower than Massachusetts.
  • 48 percent of all Massachusetts students scored Proficient or above, significantly higher than the national average of 34 percent and similar to 2011 (46 percent).
  • The following student groups make significant score gains between 2011 and 2013: non-disabled students (from 280 to 283), students not eligible for free/reduced price-lunch (from 284 to 288), and English language learners (from 211 to 224).
  • In 2013, white students (average scaled score of 285) outscored African American students (255) and Hispanic students (253), while Asian/Pacific Islander students scored 286.
  • 57 percent of white students scored Proficient or above, as did 24 percent of African American students, 20 percent of Hispanic students, and 56 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • Massachusetts' female students at grade 8 outperformed male students in reading both in terms of scaled scores (281 to 273) and the percent scoring Proficient or above (54 percent to 43 percent).
  • The performance of students with disabilities (from 249 to 246) and students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (from 257 to 260) did not change significantly between 2011 and 2013.

Grade 4 Mathematics:

  • Students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire had the top scaled scored (253). The remaining states scored statistically lower than Massachusetts.
  • 58 percent of all Massachusetts students scored Proficient or above, significantly higher than the national average of 41 percent and similar to 2011 (58 percent).
  • In 2013, white students (average scaled score of 260) outscored African American students (230) and Hispanic students (234), while scoring lower than Asian/Pacific Islander students (266).
  • 68 percent of white students scored Proficient or above, as did 26 percent of African American students, 32 percent of Hispanic students, and 72 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • Massachusetts' male and female students at grade 4 performed similarly in 2013 in mathematics both in terms of scaled scores (253) and the percent scoring Proficient or above (59 percent to 58 percent).
  • The performance of students with disabilities (from 233 to 232), English language learners (from 228 to 223), and students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (from 239 to 237) did not change significantly between 2011 and 2013.

Grade 8 Mathematics:

  • Students in Massachusetts had the top scaled score (301). The remaining states scored statistically lower than Massachusetts.
  • 55 percent of all Massachusetts students scored Proficient or above, significantly higher than the national average of 34 percent and significantly higher than 2011 (51 percent).
  • The following student groups made significant score gains between 2011 and 2013: non-English language learners (from 300 to 303), and students not eligible for free/reduced price-lunch (from 308 to 313).
  • In 2013, white students (average scaled score of 307) outscored African American students (277) and Hispanic students (277), while scoring lower than Asian/Pacific Islander students (323).
  • 63 percent of white students scored Proficient or above, as did 28 percent of African American students, 28 percent of Hispanic students, and 78 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • Massachusetts' male and female students at grade 8 performed similarly in 2013 in mathematics both in terms of scaled scores (301 to 300) and the percent scoring Proficient or above (54 percent to 55 percent).
  • The performance of students with disabilities (268 in both years), English language learners (from 247 to 249), and students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (from 280 to 281) did not change significantly between 2011 and 2013.

Additional information on NAEP is available on the Nation's Report Card website at www.nationsreportcard.gov.



Last Updated: November 7, 2013
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