WAMU 88.5 : News

Despite Gains On Tests, Achievement Gap In Region Grew Over Last Decade

Despite recent testing gains, educational achievement in the region remains distinctly unequal — and the gap between low-income students and their higher-income counterparts isn't narrowing.

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that while reading proficiency among fourth graders in D.C. increased from 2003 to 2013, the achievement gap increased by more than 30 percent in D.C. and 12 states — including Maryland and Virginia.

In 2003, 90 percent of all D.C. fourth graders rated below proficient on reading. A decade later, that number dropped to 77 percent, a 14 percent improvement, second only to Maryland nationally. But according to the report, by last year 87 percent of low-income fourth graders rated below proficient, while only 39 percent of higher-income students rated the same.

That trend held nationally over the same time period: while 66 percent of all fourth-graders were below proficient in reading in 2013, the percentages differed by race (whites at 55 percent, blacks at 83 percent) and income level (low-income at 80 percent, higher-income at 49 percent). Still, the growth of that gap was more pronounced in the 12 states and D.C. highlighted by the report.

Last November, D.C. officials cheered the news that D.C. students outpaced their counterparts across the country in math and reading improvements on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card. But those same scores showed that D.C. still ranked behind all the states in overall scores, and that gains were tempered by a stubborn achievement gap between white and black students.

Early Reading Proficiency 2014

NPR

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors, and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, "Seriously, why?"
NPR

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors, and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, "Seriously, why?"
WAMU 88.5

Why Local Nonprofits Haven't Fixed Poverty

As long as there has been poverty, there have been people trying to end it. We explore the obstacles and inefficiencies local nonprofits run into when trying to solve society's stubborn problem.

WAMU 88.5

Can We Trust Our Cars?

There were more airbag recalls this week, and VW has agreed to pay nearly fifteen billion in its emissions cheating scandal. Meanwhile, cars with driverless technology are becoming available, but whether they will make us safer is up for debate. A look at auto safety and consumer trust.

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