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Friday, May 21, 2010

Reading scores stay flat for CPS eighth-graders

Despite the mantra from Mayor Daley to focus on reading, Chicago's eighth-grade reading scores haven't really budged since 2002 on a key national test, although fourth-grade results have seen a gradual uptick, results released Thursday show.

Chicago landed in the middle of the pack of 18 big-city school districts that agreed last year to take the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card. The city trailed New York and Miami, but outpaced Los Angeles and Milwaukee.

Overall, 45 percent of Chicago fourth-graders reached at least the "basic'' reading level in 2009, while 60 percent of eighth-graders hit that mark. But only 16 percent of fourth-graders and 17 percent of eighth-graders reached the higher bar of "proficient.''

Statistically significant fourth-grade improvement only emerged by comparing 2009 Chicago results to those from 2003 or 2002. Eighth-grade scores didn't show any significant gains between 2002 and 2009 -- a period spanning most of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's tenure here as Schools CEO.

Chicago posted no substantial progress since 2002 in closing the achievement gap between white students compared with African Americans or Hispanics, and between poor and non-poor students.

The standout was Atlanta, which showed the biggest, most consistent jumps in both grades.

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