DC students make largest test score gains in 3 decades

America’s 8th graders are falling behind in math and reading, while 4th graders are doing slightly better in reading, but D.C. has made much larger strides, according to a federally administered test often seen as the nation’s report card.

After years of lagging behind in the National Assessment of Educational Progress — or NAEP — the District made the largest gains in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math in the three decades since the test was first given.

Nationally, reading scores for 4th and 8th graders have declined since 2017. In math, there was a bit of an improvement for 4th graders, while scores for 8th graders dropped.

D.C. was the only school system to show a large improvement in 8th grade reading, powered by an eight-point increase in test scores of Hispanic students. Black 8th grade students had a one-point improvement, while white classmates had a one-point decline.

Maryland saw declines for both 4th and 8th graders in English and math.

In Virginia, reading scores dropped slightly, while math results stayed the same.

Mississippi was the only other jurisdiction to show improvements in three of the four metrics tested.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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