Stubborn achievement gap virtually unchanged

Stubborn achievement gap virtually unchanged

(Wis.) Results from statewide assessments in math and reading found the achievement gap between white and Asian students and virtually all other subgroups still persists.

Just 12 percent of black third graders in Wisconsin schools, for instance, scored at the proficient level in English language arts—compared to 48 percent of white students.

In math, the numbers are even worse: just 17 percent of black students scored at grade level, while 60 percent of white students met or exceeded the standard.

Overall, fewer than half of Wisconsin students participating in the springtime testing were found to be meeting proficiency standards in either math or reading.

“We set a high bar for achievement,” Tom McCarthy, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Monday. “To reach more than half proficiency, we would need to raise the achievement of our lowest district and subgroup performers through policies like those recommended in our budget, targeted at the large, urban districts.”

While the numbers are not good, they are also not too different from the results in many other large, complex states.

Indeed, California released its results this week too: just under 50 percent of student met or exceeded English language arts standards—a 1.3 percent increase from 2017 and a 5.88 percent increase from 2015.

In Oregon, statewide averages remained mostly unchanged from last year, although scores in reading improved by 1 percent over last year to a total of 55 percent meeting or exceeding benchmarks.

In Wisconsin, about 41 percent of elementary and middle school students scored at a proficient or advanced skill level on both reading and math tests. Performance in science subjects among students in fourth and eighth grade was a little higher: 42.5 percent of students scored proficient or advanced.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin high school students in public and private voucher schools produced a composite score on the ACT exam of 19.7 on a scale of one to 36 points. In each subject area, students' composite scores fall within the state's basic proficiency level.

The Wisconsin exams were administered to 455,291 children statewide, which included 437,706 public-school students and 17,585 voucher students.

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