Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NCES Releases Results of 2007 TUDA

On Thursday, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the results from the 2007 Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). First initiated in 2002, the TUDA highlights the achievement of fourth- and eighth-graders in 11 of the nation's largest cities on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading and mathematics assessments. Districts participating in the TUDA include Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Los Angeles; New York City; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.

In mathematics, the majority of the TUDA districts had higher percentages of fourth- and eighth-graders performing at or above the basic and proficient levels of achievement on the test since 2003. Nearly half of all districts had higher percentages of fourth-graders reaching advanced - the highest level of performance. In reading, gains have been less consistent and more modest, following the same pattern as the nation. Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, explained that TUDA was implemented as a way to show that urban school districts are committed to providing high academic standards for their children, and its designers sought a way to evaluate their progress. According to Casserly, when focusing on this report, one should not look at the data of any individual school district. Instead, focus on the trends in improvement that have occurred since the initial implementation of this assessment. Overall, urban schools are growing in a positive way, but there is still a long road of increased achievement ahead.

Darvin Winick, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, stated that the results of the report can inform the development of better, more universal, school improvement programs. For example, knowing that, overall, fourth-grade performance is stronger than eighth-grade performance; mathematics performance is stronger than reading; and large achievement gaps are present between race and ethnic groups can assist in developing effective programs that address these shortcomings.

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