#EdTalk: In Tennessee, Stubborn Achievement Gaps Persist Across Race and Ethnicity

Today, the Nation­al Assess­ment of Edu­ca­tion Pro­gress (NAEP) released data from the most recent achieve­ment assess­ment. Ten­nessee has been eager to see the lat­est scores in hopes that stu­dents would main­tain the gains they’ve made since 2011. This is the first year we see more stag­nat­ed results in the state, how­ev­er, the­se results mir­ror the nation­al land­scape of achieve­ment for math and read­ing. While we cel­e­brate the gains that we have made, we are also aware of per­sis­tent gaps between cer­tain sub­groups.

NAEP or “The Nation’s Report Card” is a nation­al assess­ment that mea­sures stu­dents’ com­pe­ten­cy in var­i­ous sub­ject areas and that is most com­mon­ly admin­is­tered in 4th and 8th grade read­ing and math. NAEP pro­vides a com­mon mea­sure of stu­dent achieve­ment across the coun­try by ensur­ing an assess­ment with the same ques­tions and the same process of admin­is­tra­tion across all states. 2017 is the first year that the assess­ment was admin­is­tered online.

NAEP Results For Tennessee 2017

2017 NAEP results show that Ten­nessee stu­dents’ per­for­mance holds steady across 4th and 8th grade read­ing and 8th grade math with a dip in 4th grade math. Over­all, the per­cent­age of Ten­nessee stu­dents  scor­ing At or Above Pro­fi­cient increased. The break­down is as fol­lows:

  • Fourth-grade math achieve­ments in the state has increased from 30 per­cent to 36 per­cent
  • Fourth-grade read­ing achieve­ment in the state has increased 26 per­cent to 33 per­cent
  • Eighth-grade math achieve­ment has increased from 24 per­cent to 29 per­cent
  • Eighth-grade read­ing achieve­ment has increased from 27 per­cent to 31 per­cent

In nation­al rank­ings, Ten­nessee fourth-graders moved from 46th to 34th in math and 41st to 34th in read­ing. Eighth-graders climbed from 45th to 35th in math and 41st to 38th in read­ing.

Over the last few years, Ten­nessee has seen con­stant changes to edu­ca­tion poli­cies. In order to see con­tin­ued gains in the future, Tennessee’s stu­dents and teach­ers now need sta­bil­i­ty and time to see the pol­i­cy changes imple­ment­ed with fideli­ty.

A Closer Look By Race and Ethnicity

4th Grade Math­e­mat­ics
From 2015 to 2017, the num­ber of His­pan­ic stu­dents that were at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 10 per­cent­age points, and the num­ber of Black stu­dents that were at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 3 per­cent­age points.

4th Grade Read­ing
From 2015 to 2017, the num­ber of His­pan­ic stu­dents that were at or above pro­fi­cient decrease by 4 per­cent­age points, and the num­ber of Black stu­dents that were at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 2 points. Ten­nessee is one of two states show­ing a widen­ing gap between White and His­pan­ic stu­dents in 4th grade Read­ing.

8th Grade Math­e­mat­ics
From 2015 to 2017, the num­ber of His­pan­ic stu­dents scor­ing at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 4 per­cent­age points, and the num­ber of Black stu­dents scor­ing at or above pro­fi­cient increased by 3 per­cent­age points.

8th Grade Read­ing
From 2015 to 2017, the num­ber of His­pan­ic stu­dents scor­ing at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 3 per­cent­age points, and the num­ber of Black stu­dents scor­ing at or above pro­fi­cient decreased by 2 per­cent­age points.

A National Trend

Nation­al­ly, 2017 NAEP results for 4th and 8th grade math show major dif­fer­ences between the per­for­mance of high-achiev­ing and low-per­form­ing stu­dents. Addi­tion­al gaps per­sist across race, eth­nic­i­ty, and income. For exam­ple, in fourth grade math­e­mat­ics, the White-Black achieve­ment gap has widened in four states (Ari­zona, Arkansas, Ken­tucky, and Louisiana), and the White-His­pan­ic achieve­ment gap has also widened in four states (Alaska, Geor­gia, Louisiana, and New Mex­i­co).

Our pol­i­cy and research team will be dig­ging deep­er into the data released today, with a speci­fic focus on the per­for­mance of stu­dents of col­or, eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents, and Eng­lish Learn­ers.

Additional Resources

Explore the lat­est NAEP results. Here, you can browse or down­load the lat­est report cards, indi­vid­u­al state and select dis­trict pro­files, and access resources and online data tools that will enable them to view more exten­sive results, such as results by demo­graph­ic groups.

See how Ten­nessee fairs in The Nation’s Report Card.

Learn more about NAEP, includ­ing an intro­duc­tion to NAEP and FAQs.

Access NAEP resource from the Urban Insti­tute.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *