Detroit NAEP results provide meaningful baseline as district pursues strategic reform
The Nation’s Report Card reinforces the urgency of the district’s improvement efforts
DETROIT – April 10, 2018 – Results from last year’s administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as “the nation’s report card” – were released today in Washington, D.C. The assessment, administered every two years to fourth and eighth grade students, provides a common measure of reading and math achievement across the country, and allows states and select urban districts to understand their progress.
Detroit Public Schools has participated in NAEP since 2009, but this year’s results are particularly important for Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti and the school board as they seek to establish a baseline for measuring improvement in the district. The 2017 results were sobering, but not surprising:
Fourth graders attending public schools in large cities scored an average of 213 in reading and 232 in mathematics; Detroit under-performed every other participating district, with average scores of 182 and 200 respectively.
- Just 5 percent of Detroit’s fourth graders were at or above proficient in reading. Only 7 percent achieved proficiency in mathematics.
- Detroit’s fourth grade reading results were not significantly different from the average score in 2015, but in mathematics, the average score declined significantly, dropping from 205 to 200.
- Eighth graders attending public schools in large cities scored an average of 258 in reading and 274 in mathematics; Detroit underperformed every other participating district, with average scores of 235 and 246 respectively.
- Detroit’s eighth grade reading and mathematics results were not significantly different from the average score in 2015.
- Just 4 percent of Detroit’s eighth graders were at or above proficient in reading. Only 5 percent achieved proficiency in mathematics.
“Our community has rallied around our student-centered priorities for improving the district over the past year, and these results reinforce the urgency of the reforms we are making. I have my eye on the 2021 administration of NAEP, when our current first graders will take part. That is when we will see what our students can do when they are working with aligned curriculum, have teachers who have been supported, and have consistent access to resources that help their students succeed,” said Superintendent Vitti.
The Superintendent’s plan for improving results is a proven one, as the district he led prior to accepting his position in Detroit, Duval County, Florida, was one of just six urban districts to show a statistically significant improvement in the tested grades and subjects while also ranking first in fourth grade mathematics among large urban school districts and in the top tier of districts in other grades and subjects tested.
“Our results show that we have tremendous work to do, but they also show that we have the right Superintendent in place to lead the necessary reform,” said Board President, Dr. Iris Taylor. “When we began our superintendent’s search last spring, the Board understood the gravity of the decision we were making. We knew our children were losing ground, and we knew we needed a proven urban superintendent. We have one.”
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, also voiced his support for the reforms underway to improve these results. “Already, the district’s leadership has conducted a curriculum review and a special education audit to help shape its future reforms along with taking a number of other important steps to get the system on track. We have confidence in the district’s leadership and considerable hope in the direction that the superintendent and board are setting,” he said.
About Detroit Public Schools Community District
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is the state’s largest public education system located in Detroit. It is governed by a locally-elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has 106 schools and educates 50,000 children.