Thursday, 4:30 PM
Bay State students again top scores on national test
By Globe Staff
Massachusetts students outscored or tied other states on a series of national reading and math exams given to fourth and eighth graders, the Patrick administration announced this morning.
Bay State students earned the top score on three of the four National Assessment of Educational Progress exams and tied for first on the fourth test. The exams, known as "The Nation's Report Card," are the only nationally representative assessment of American students' knowledge of core subjects, according to the administration.
"This is an outstanding achievement and our students, teachers, administrators and parents deserve to be congratulated," Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement. "Our goal is to build on that success. To reach that goal, we must work to educate the whole child from the time they start learning before kindergarten, through grade 12 and higher education, and continue that effort in work force development and lifelong learning."
The governor was scheduled to visit the Aborn Elementary School in Lynn today to discuss the scores. Massachusetts students also ranked first on all four tests in 2005, the last year the tests were administered.
This year, Bay State fourth graders had the highest scores in the country on the reading and math exams. Eighth graders ranked first in math and tied for first in reading with Montana, New Jersey, and Vermont.
"Today's announcement not only shows that we are making progress, but it also proves that Massachusetts is committed to being a leader in education," Senate President Therese Murray said in a statement. "Students and teachers are working hard to transform our education system into the best in the nation, and government will continue to support them in that cause. Our children and our future deserve nothing less."
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi added: “Our successes on NAEP and on the MCAS exams show that, through reform and steady improvement, we have built a solid foundation in Massachusetts. As we reach higher, we must build upon that platform to help our students compete even better in the increasingly global economy.”
Despite the overall gains, an achievement gap was still evident in the state’s results, according to the administration. Hispanic students made some gains in fourth grade, but showed flat results in eight grade. Results for black students were not statistically different in 2007 than in 2005.
Fourth graders with disabilities made gains on only the math portion of the test, and scores for non-native English speakers were flat across the board.
“We must strive to ensure that all students are improving, regardless of race, ethnicity or disability,” said Jeffrey Nellhaus, the acting education commissioner. “Our ultimate success in reform will be judged by our capacity to narrow and ultimately close these achievement gaps.”
Other findings for Massachusetts students on the 2007 exams include:
• Male students scored higher than female students in math in both grades 4 and 8.
• Female students outscored male students in reading in both grades 4 and 8.
• Students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch made significant gains in grade 4.
• Suburban and rural students outscored urban students on all four exams.