Thursday, May 25, 2006

White students continue to perform better than their black and Hispanic peers in Virginia

Olympia Meola:

Black students in eighth grade had an average score that was lower than white students by 33 points, compared to 32 points in 1996. In fourth grade, black students had an average score that was lower than white students by 31 points, compared with 27 points in 2000.

"Certainly, as we take great pride in the gains that we made in 2005 both in aggregate and with our minority groups, we need to accelerate the narrowing of the achievement gap," Wright said. "All of us are struggling with the issue of how do you close the achievement gap, and that's what No Child Left Behind is all about."

The federal legislation, she said, forced states to face a reality that achievement gaps that persist are wider than they probably recognized before.

Virginia school officials hope a student-information system will help them to identify problem areas, especially among subgroups, and target services to those groups.

Hispanic students in fourth grade showed stronger gains but still lag behind their white peers by 20 points on average.

Nationally, black and Hispanic students narrowed the achievement gap with white students in fourth grade. The racial gaps did not change in eighth grade, while the gap between blacks and whites widened in 12th grade.

Mississippi has nation's lowest scores NAEP science tests

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