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Colorado Department of Education News Release
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Oct. 30, 2019
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News Release

Colorado 4th and 8th graders continue to outperform nation on biennial tests

NAEP assessment tests samples of students from around the nation on math, reading

DENVER - Colorado fourth and eighth-graders continue to perform better than their peers across the country on the biennial national reading and math assessment known as NAEP, according to the 2019 results that were released today.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is called The Nation's Report Card and is administered by the U.S. Department of Education to representative samples of students around the nation. The math and reading tests are given every other year to fourth- and eighth-grade students at state and national levels. Students were given the tests at selected schools in January and March.

READING
Colorado scores on the fourth- and eighth-grade reading assessments did not significantly change in 2019 compared to 2017, while NAEP reported lower reading scores for the nation as a whole.

In 2019, Colorado’s average reading scores in both fourth and eighth grades were higher than the national average, and only two states/jurisdictions had higher scores in grade four. Colorado had a higher percentage of students achieving at the NAEP Basic level than the nation in both grades four and eight reading. Colorado also had a higher percentage of students at the Advanced level in grade four.

MATH
Colorado scores on the fourth- and eighth-grade math assessments also did not change significantly in 2019 compared to 2017. However, nationally, there were mixed results with the average fourth-grade math score higher in 2019 than 2017 and the average eighth-grade math score lower. While Colorado’s average score was not statistically different from the nation in grade four math, it was in grade eight.

In 2019, Colorado’s average score was higher than 20 states/jurisdictions in fourth-grade math and 26 states/jurisdictions at eighth-grade. Colorado had a higher percentage of students achieving at the NAEP Basic level than the nation in grade four math and at the NAEP Advanced level for grade eight.

Colorado's average scores have not changed significantly in about 10 years across all NAEP grades and subjects.

ACHIEVEMENT GAPS
As with CMAS, the state’s results continue to show significant scoring gaps across student groups, similar to other states. Colorado gaps do exceed the nation for some subgroups. The most significant difference is the larger gaps between Colorado English learners and non-English learners compared to the national gaps in both grades and content areas.

Although it appears Colorado did not show the decrease in average scores that some other states did, the lack of improved achievement is concerning.
 
“We know educators across Colorado are working hard to support all students and increase achievement of all student groups,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “If this work were easy, we would all be done. But it’s not. It’s hard work that requires meeting the different needs of every student in every community. CDE will continue to listen and support our schools and districts in this work and help spread best practices that are showing results at many schools.”
 

2019 NAEP Colorado Supbgroup Gaps Compared to 2017 NAEP National Subgroup Gaps
  Grade 4 Reading Grade 8 Reading Grade 4 Math Grade 8 Math
CO Nation CO Nation CO Nation CO Nation
White-Black gap 24 pts 26 pts 31 pts 27 pts 28 pts 25 pts 34 pts 32 pts
White-Hispanic gap 27 pts 21 pts 26 pts* 20 pts 25 pts* 18 pts 27 pts* 23 pts
FRL-non FRL gap 30 pts 28 pts 28 pts 25 pts 29* pts 24 pts 32 pts 30 pts
Female-Male gap 7 pts 7 pts 11 pts 11 pts -5 pts -3 pts -1 pts 1 pts
Disabled-non Disabled gap 47 pts 42 pts 41 pts 39 pts 37 pts* 30 pts 46 pts 40 pts
ELL and non-ELL gap 44 pts* 33 pts 52 pts* 45 pts 34 pts* 24 pts 49 pts* 41 pts 

 
*CO gap is statistically different (p<.05) than National gap
 

Key Findings for Colorado NAEP 2019 Reading

Colorado Grade Four Reading
  • In 2019, the average reading score for students at grade four in Colorado was 225. This was higher than that for the nation's public schools (219).
  • In 2019, two states/jurisdictions outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense and Massachusetts,), 15 states were not significantly different from Colorado, and 34 scored lower than Colorado.
  • In 2019, the average score for students in Colorado (225) was the same as 2017 (225) and not significantly different from that in from 2011 (223).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 40%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (34%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient (40%) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (40%) or from 2011 (39%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 71%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (65%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic (71%) was the same as in 2017 (71%) and not significantly different from that in from 2011 (71%).

Colorado Grade Eight Reading

  • In 2019, the average reading score for students at grade eight in Colorado was 267. This was higher than that for the nation's public schools (262).
  • In 2019, two states/jurisdictions outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense and Massachusetts), 16 states were not significantly different from Colorado, and 33 scored lower than Colorado.
  • In 2019, the average score for students in Colorado (267) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (270) or from 2011 (271).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 38%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (32%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient (38%) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (41%) or from 2011 (40%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 77%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (72%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic (77%) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (79%) and significantly different from 2011 (81%).

Key Findings for Colorado NAEP 2019 Mathematics

Colorado Grade Four Math

  • In 2019, the average mathematics score for fourth-grade students in Colorado was 242. This was not significantly different from that for the nation's public schools (240).
  • In 2019, seven states/jurisdictions outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, New Jersey, and Wyoming), 24 states were not significantly different than Colorado, and 20 scored lower than Colorado.
  • In 2019, the average score for students in Colorado (242) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (241) and was lower than that in 2011 (244).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 44%. This was significantly different from that for the nation's public schools (40%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient (44%) was not significantly different from that in 2017(42%) or in 2015 (43%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 80%. This was the same as the nation's public schools (80%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic (80%) was the same as that in 2017 (80%) and was lower than that in 2011 (84%).

Colorado Grade Eight Math

  • In 2019, the average mathematics score for eighth-grade students in Colorado was 285. This was higher than that for the nation's public schools (281).
  • In 2019, five states/jurisdictions outperformed Colorado in average scale score (Department of Defense, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin), 20 states were not significantly different than Colorado, and 26 scored lower than Colorado.
  • In 2019, the average score for students in Colorado (285) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (286) and was lower than that in 2011 (292).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient was 37%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (33%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Proficient (37%) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (38%) and was lower than that in 2011 (43%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic was 73%. This was greater than that for the nation's public schools (68%).
  • In 2019, the percentage of students in Colorado who performed at or above Basic (73%) was not significantly different from that in 2017 (74%) and was lower than that in 2011 (80%).
Background
Since 1969, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) under the U.S. Department of Education has administered the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. NAEP provides national and state achievement results of elementary and secondary students in the U.S. in eight subject areas, including math, reading, writing and science. Based on a representative sample of students at the state and national level selected to participate, NAEP produces state results for grades four and eight in math and reading every two years.

With the exception of Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) districts which will receive district results, the NAEP assessments are not designed to produce individual student, school, or district data, but can be used to provide a point of reference for comparisons between states and to provide a representative picture of average student performance over time. In 2019, 27 districts nationwide participated in the TUDA program. States are neither rewarded nor sanctioned based on their results.

For the 2019 assessment, 144,700 fourth-grade students in 7,830 public schools and 138,100 eight-grade students in 6,550 public schools nationwide participated in the math and reading tests. In Colorado, 3,200 fourth-grade students in 170 public schools and 3,100 eighth-grade students in 150 public schools participated in the math and reading tests. In 2019, all NAEP reading and math assessments are digitally-based.
For more information on the 2017 NAEP scores, visit the NAEP website.

 

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