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National Report Card Scores DCPS Below Average

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D.C.'s public school students took a step forward in math but a step back in reading. That's the word according to the "Nation's Report Card" -- a federal education study.

The average DCPS score in both reading and math was lower than the average score for public school students in large cities across the U.S, but while fourth and eighth graders in the District improved slightly in math, their scores went down slightly in reading.

The last time the report was released in 2009, DCPS showed large gains at the fourth grade level. And the improvement was attributed to aggressive reform efforts under former chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Michael Casserly who heads Council of the Great City Schools, says organizational changes laid the groundwork, but teacher quality and a clear curriculum matter: "Typically for school districts undergoing reform, you have to do a number of these structural things at the beginning but unless you pair them with instructional reforms it's very hard to sustain the initial gains that you get from just the structural ones."

Casserly says current chancellor Kaya Henderson's efforts to improve classroom instruction have not been implemented long enough to show results.

Charter schools were not included in the study. Approximately 40 percent of children in the District attend charter schools.

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