BOSTON – A lot is said about education in Massachusetts. Often times, we are rated highly for having such a density of colleges and universities, but it seems that our prowess in education is evident at younger ages too.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administers an exam to see how the nation's students are testing in both math and reading. The test is given to about 293,700 fourth and eighth graders in reading and roughly 296,900 fourth and eighth graders in math in 2019.
How did we do? According the the organization, "In 2019, students at grades 4 and 8 in both mathematics and reading had higher scores overall and at all five selected percentiles, except for the 10th percentile in reading, compared to the first assessments in the early 1990s. Compared to a decade ago, scores at both grades in both subjects were lower or not significantly different for lower-performing students at the 10th and 25th percentiles."
So basically, students in grades 4 and 8 scored higher in almost every single percentile. That means that our highest achieving students are getting higher scores than the highest achievers in other states, while our lowest achievers still scored higher than the lowest achievers in other states. This bodes very well for the overall health of the education system in Massachusetts.
However, the results vary starkly depending on race, especially for black and Hispanic students. WBUR found that "the biggest gaps were seen in math scores. Asian fourth graders, for example, earned the highest math scores, coming in 18 points higher than white students, 38 points higher than Hispanic students and 39 points higher than black students."
While the report brought good news of students excelling against the national average, it's worrying just how stark the difference is between students of different races and different economic advantages.