RI Reading Scores Improve

Now for some good news: according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP test results, RI Reading scores are up, overall. Unfortunately, the way the ProJo reports it is confusing:

In Grade 4, 36 percent of Rhode Island students were reading at grade level, a five-point increase from the previous rate and five points above the national average. In eighth grade, 28 percent scored at grade level, up from 27 percent the previous period, two points below the national average.

A cynic (er…average Rhode Islander) would naturally look at this and think that means that 64% of RI 4th graders and 72% of RI 8th graders are reading below grade level! But that’s not the case. The ProJo only gives the “at grade level” number, not those reading above grade level. Oy.
To keep it short and sweet: 69% of 4th graders and 72% of 8th graders are reading at or above grade level.
For her part, Education Commissioner Deborah Gist appears to have the right perspective:

“These improving scores [in Rhode Island] show that we are on the right track, with our emphasis on literacy in all courses and our support for students … who need extra help in reading,” said state education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist. “Despite these improvements, I am very concerned about low achievement rates for some student groups.”

What she’s concerned about are the results for low-income students, English-language learners and students with disabilities.
I’ve done a more complete summary of the RI stats in the extended entry. From it, we can basically conclude (or confirm what we suspected) that, on average–and to take extreme examples:
1) The best 4th grade readers are middle- or upper- class, English speaking white females without disabilities. The best 8th grade readers are middle- or upper- class, English speaking Asian/Pacific Islander females without disabilities.
2) The worst 4th grade readers are poor, non-English speaking Hispanic males with disabilities. The worst 8th grade readers are poor, non-English speaking Black or Hispanic males with disabilities.
My guess is that Title I and school district reading and literacy programs have done much to help increase these scores. Hopefully, we can build on that success and, where feasible, apply that pedagogy to Math and Writing (and eventually, other subject areas).


Here are the numbers of those at or above Basic (ie; grade level) as well as those proficient or above as taken directly from the report:
Fourth Grade
Overall
Basic & Above – 69%
Proficient & Above – 36%
Ethnicity
White – Basic & Above – 78%
White – Proficient & Above – 56%
Black – Basic & Above – 52%
Black – Proficient & Above – 19%
Hispanic – Basic & Above – 45%
Hispanic – Proficient & Above – 16%
Asian/Pacific Islander – Basic & Above – 66%
Asian/Pacific Islander – Proficient & Above – 39%
Gender
Male – Basic & Above – 64%
Male – Proficient & Above – 39%
Female – Basic & Above – 74%
Female – Proficient & Above – 51%
Income
Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Basic & Above – 51%
Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Proficient & Above – 19%
Not Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Basic & Above – 81%
Not Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Proficient & Above – 62%
Disabilities
With Disabilities – Basic & Above – 33%
With Disabilities – Proficient & Above – 10%
Without Disabilities – Basic & Above – 75%
Without Disabilities – Proficient & Above – 51%
Language
English Language Learners – Basic & Above – 26%
English Language Learners – Proficient & Above – 8%
Non-English Language Learners – Basic & Above – 71%
Non-English Language Learners – Proficient & Above – 47%
Eighth Grade
Overall
Basic & Above – 72%
Proficient & Above – 28%
Ethnicity
White – Basic & Above – 79%
White – Proficient & Above – 36%
Black – Basic & Above – 50%
Black – Proficient & Above – 9%
Hispanic – Basic & Above – 50%
Hispanic – Proficient & Above – 11%
Asian/Pacific Islander – Basic & Above – 81%
Asian/Pacific Islander – Proficient & Above – 41%
Gender
Male – Basic & Above – 67%
Male – Proficient & Above – 24%
Female – Basic & Above – 77%
Female – Proficient & Above – 34%
Income
Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Basic & Above – 56%
Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Proficient & Above – 15%
Not Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Basic & Above – 81%
Not Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch – Proficient & Above – 38%
Disabilities
With Disabilities – Basic & Above – 36%
With Disabilities – Proficient & Above – 7%
Without Disabilities – Basic & Above – 79%
Without Disabilities – Proficient & Above – 34%
Language
English Language Learners – Basic & Above – 16%
English Language Learners – Proficient & Above – 1%
Non-English Language Learners – Basic & Above – 73%
Non-English Language Learners – Proficient & Above – 30%

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Bob W
Bob W
11 years ago

I downloaded Dept of Ed’s document and found that there are four reading categories – Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced.
Rhode Island’s fourth graders scored 64% at Below Basic or Basic,and 35% Proficient or Advanced.
This means that we have a long way to go. Massachusetts has the top rated kids, at 53% below Proficient and 47% Proficient or Advanced. Debra Gist is just now doing what MA started in 1993, which is why that state leads the nation.

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