via Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune
A new national study shows that while Chicago public school 4th- and 8th-graders have improved in reading and math proficiency over the last decade, they still trail their peers in other large urban districts.
Results released Wednesday from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, indicate CPS students have improved in step with national averages in core subjects.
Thirty percent of CPS 4th-graders scored at “basic” proficiency in reading in 2011, a mark just off the national average for large districts and seven percentage points higher than in 2002. Still, 52 percent of 4th-graders scored “below basic” in reading proficiency in 2011, 14 points better than nine years earlier.
The performance was better among 8th-graders. Forty-three percent scored at basic proficiency in 2011, a drop from 2002 but on par with both the large district and national averages. Nineteen percent scored proficient in reading, 2 percentage points off the large district mark.
In math, 44 percent of CPS 4th-graders scored basic proficiency, two points higher than the national average and four points better than in 2002. Forty percent of 8th-graders reached that mark, better than both the large district (37) and national (39) averages.
However, the percentage of CPS 4th- and 8th-graders who scored below basic proficiency in math also exceeded large district and national averages.
And as long as we continue to close schools and shift kids around and out of neighborhoods nothing will change. We need smaller class sizes, truancy officers, and a rich curriculum filled with the arts, civics, and health education. All that takes financial re-investment in the most needed schools, and new (electable) leadership for CPS as opposed to the appointed leadership that answers to the whim of our mayor and the Academy of Urban School Leadership whose track record is less than pristine, especially with students with disabilities (44%) and English Language Learners (>15%) who also take the same NAEP / ISAT tests but are not accurately accounted for.