New Ed Trust Report on Student Progress, Achievement Gap Highlights Montana's Gains

Thursday, January 21, 2010
by Jessica Rhoades
406.444.3160

Helena, Mont. — A new report by the Education Trust is further evidence that Montana is making strides in narrowing gaps in achievement on standardized tests while increasing the progress of individual student groups.

Superintendent of Public instruction Denise Juneau says the new report looks at reading and math test scores for fourth and eighth graders under the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) — the only standardized test that allows for direct comparison across states. The purpose of the report is "to gain a more sophisticated, comprehensive, and accurate picture" of the nation's achievement gap.

Montana was recognized for increasing student achievement in reading and math for both American Indian and White students over the past six years. Montana was also one of six states recognized for achieving significant progress for low–income students. The state can point to gaps between low–income students and higher–income students that are among the smallest in the nation.

"The Education Trust's latest report confirms that Montana students are making gains in reading and math," says Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. "This analysis shows that Montana is making progress in closing the achievement gap among students, but our job is not done until all children are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to compete in the 21st century."

Highlights include:

4th Grade

—4th grade reading scores for American Indian students increased by ten points, scores for white students increased by three points, and scores for low income students increased by seven points.

—The achievement gap between the reading scores of 4th grade American Indian and white students narrowed by six points while the achievement gap between the scores of low and higher income 4th grade students decreased by five points.

—4th grade math scores of American Indian students increased by eleven points, scores for white students increased by nine points, and scores for low income students increased by eight points.

—The achievement gap between the reading scores of 4th grade American Indian and white students narrowed by two points.

8th Grade

—8th Grade reading scores of American Indian students increased by two points, scores for white students increased by two points, and scores for low income students increased by one point.

—The achievement gap between the reading scores of American Indian and white students narrowed by one point.

—8th grade math scores for American Indian students showed no change, scores of white students increased by seven points, and scores for low income students increased by four points.

The full text of the new Education Trust report can be found at:
http://www.edtrust.org/dc/publication/gauging-the-gaps-a-deeper-look-at-student-achievement

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Jessica Rhoades
Communications Director
p: 406.444.3160
c: 406.431.0151
f: 406.444.9299

Montana Office of Public Instruction
Denise Juneau, Superintendent

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