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New Hampshire test scores dip slightly, but still among top nationwide

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2018 9:56PM




New Hampshire’s fourth-graders and eighth-graders performed in 2017 at about the same level in math and reading as they did in 2015, which was above the national average.

But results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as The Nation’s Report Card, revealed that New Hampshire students who were eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch — an indicator of low family income — had an average score that was 21 points lower than students who were not eligible.

“We need to ask ourselves if the way we do school is really as effective as it can be when we get less than half of our students to proficiency with our far larger and persistent achievement gaps occurring with our minority, poverty and special education students,” Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We now have an opportunity to close the gap for all our students.”

Julie Couch, administrator for the Bureau of Instructional Support and Student Assessment, said in a news release that the scores for New Hampshire students have not shown any statistically significant changes since 2003.

In addition, she said the results continue to reveal a gap in achievement across subgroups such as special education students and economically disadvantaged students.

Overall, only between 23 and 28 percent of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches scored at or above proficient in math or reading in both fourth grade and eighth grade.

In addition, only between 10 and 16 percent of special education students scored at or above proficient in math or reading in both grade levels.

“These are both areas of concern that we will be examining in more detail,” said Couch.

How NH compares

Still, New Hampshire’s fourth-graders obtained the fourth-highest scores in reading and the second-highest in math among other states. And, eighth-grade students were the second-highest achieving in both reading and math nationwide.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, students in Massachusetts were the highest performing in reading and math for both fourth and eighth-grade.

About 43 percent of New Hampshire’s fourth-graders scored at or above proficient on the reading assessments, and 48 percent of fourth-graders scored at or above proficient on the math assessment. Similarly, 45 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above proficient on both the reading and math tests.

In math, fourth-graders in New Hampshire scored an average of 245 points compared to the national average of 239, and New Hampshire’s 2015 score of 249. In math, eighth-graders in New Hampshire scored an average of 293 compared to the national average of 282 and New Hampshire’s 2015 score of 294.

In reading, fourth-graders in New Hampshire scored an average of 229 compared to the national average of 221 and New Hampshire’s 2015 score of 232. In reading, eighth-graders in New Hampshire scored an average of 275 compared to the national average of 265.

The "snapshots" for New Hampshire can be viewed below:



National reaction

“The report card is in and the results are clear. We can and we must do better for America’s students,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Our nation’s reading and math scores continue to stagnate. More alarmingly, the gap between the highest and lowest performing students is widening, despite billions in federal funding designated to specifically help close it.”

She said the administration is committed to working with states and communities across the nation to bring about much-needed change that students deserve.

“The 2017 results for mathematics show declining achievement among lower-performing students, continuing a pattern we have seen in NAEP since 2013, as well as in recent international assessments,” Dr. Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said during a news conference on the NAEP results Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Still, Carr said the students were very engaged in the test process, in part because of its new digitally based assessment that was conducted on electronic tablets.

khoughton@newstote.com


Education Nashua


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