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The Nation's Report Card: 
Trial Urban District Assessment Reading 2009

May 2010

Author: National Center for Education Statistics

PDF Download The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment Reading 2009 PDF for viewing and printing (10907K PDF)


Image of the cover of the 2009 Reeading Trial Urban District Assessment report.

Executive Summary

Scores increase since 2007 in four districts at grade 4 and in two districts at grade 8

Five districts score above large cities at both grades in 2009

A Closer Look at District Results Compared to Large Cities

Demographics vary among the nation, large cities, and individual urban districts

Results from the 2009 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) make it possible to compare the performance of students in urban districts to public school students in the nation and large cities (i.e., cities with populations of 250,000 or more). Changes in students’ performance over time can also be seen for those districts that participated in earlier assessments.

Scores increase since 2007 in four districts at grade 4 and in two districts at grade 8

Representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade public school students from 18 urban districts participated in the 2009 assessment. Eleven of the districts participated in earlier assessment years, and seven districts participated for the first time in 2009. Between 800 and 2,400 fourth- and eighth-graders were assessed in each district.

At grade 4, average reading scores increased since 2007 in 4 of the 11 participating districts, although there were no significant changes in the scores for fourth-graders in the nation or large cities overall. Scores were higher in 2009 than in 2002 for five of the six districts that participated in both years, along with increases for both the nation and large cities over the same period.

At grade 8, average reading scores for the nation and large cities were higher in 2009 than in 2007, with 2 of the 11 participating districts (Atlanta and Los Angeles) showing gains. These same two districts of the five that participated in both years scored higher in 2009 than in 2002, although there were no significant changes in the scores for eighth-graders in the nation and large cities in comparison to 2002.

Changes in 2009 average reading scores since 2002 and 2007

 District Grade 4 Grade 8
From
2002
From
2007
From
2002
From
2007
Nation
3*
#
#
1*
Large city¹
8*
2
2
2*
Atlanta
14*
2
14*
5*
Austin
3
4
Boston
5*
3
Charlotte
2
#
Chicago
9*
2
#
#
Cleveland
–4
–4
District of Columbia (DCPS)
13*
6*
#
#
Houston
5
6*
4
#
Los Angeles
6*
2
7*
3*
New York City
11*
4*
3
San Diego
3
4

— District did not participate in 2002.
# Rounds to zero.
* Significant (p < .05) score change.
¹Large city includes students from all cities in the nation with populations of 250,000 or more including the participating districts.
NOTE: Beginning in 2009, if the results for charter schools are not included in the school district’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report to the U.S. Department of Education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, they are excluded from that district’s TUDA results. The score-point changes shown in this chart are based on the differences between unrounded scores as opposed to the rounded scores shown in figures presented in the report. DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2002, 2007, and 2009 Reading Assessments.

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Five districts score above large cities at both grades in 2009

Among the 18 urban districts that participated in the 2009 reading assessment, scores for both fourth- and eighth-graders in 5 districts were higher than the scores for public school students attending schools in large cities overall. Scores for 7 districts were lower than the scores for fourth- and eighth-graders in large cities nationally.

In comparison to the average scores in 2009 for large cities in the nation,

higher at both grades

Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Jefferson County (Louisville, KY), and Miami-Dade had higher scores at both grades;

not significantly different at grade 8

scores for New York City were higher at grade 4 and not significantly different at grade 8;

not significantly different at either grade

scores in Atlanta, Houston, and San Diego were not significantly different at either grade;

lower at both grades

Baltimore City, Cleveland, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Fresno, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee had lower scores at both grades; and

lower at grade 4 and not significantly different at grade 8

scores for Chicago and Philadelphia were lower at grade 4 and not significantly different at grade 8.

Comparison of district and large city average reading scores in 2009

A U.S. map showing the participating trial urban districts.

NOTE: DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.

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A Closer Look at District Results Compared to Large Cities

Differences in overall average scores between participating districts and large cities were not always consistent across specific student demographic groups. In Baltimore City, for example, the overall average reading score was lower than the score for large cities at both grades. However, the score for Black students in the district (who comprise most of the student population) was not significantly different from the score for Black students in large cities at either grade.

Among the seven districts where average scores at both grades were lower than the score for large cities, only Fresno had lower scores for White, Black, and Hispanic students, and for students eligible for school lunch (an indicator of lower family income) in both grades.

Among the five districts where overall scores were higher than the score for large cities at both grades 4 and 8, Charlotte was the only district to have higher scores for White, Black, and Hispanic students and for lower-income students at grade 4; no district had higher scores across all these student groups at grade 8.

Comparison of district and large city average reading scores in 2009

District Grade 4 Student Groups
Overall
White
Black
Hispanic
Eligible for school lunch
Atlanta
no significant difference
higher
no significant difference
reporting standards not met
no significant difference
Austin
higher
higher
higher
higher
no significant difference
Baltimore City
lower
lower
no significant difference
reporting standards not met

no significant difference

Boston
higher
no significant difference
higher
 higher
higher
Charlotte
higher

higher

higher
 higher
higher 
Chicago
lower 
no significant difference
lower
no significant difference

lower 

Cleveland
lower
lower
lower
no significant difference
lower 
Detroit
lower
reporting standards not met
lower
lower
lower
District of Columbia (DCPS)
lower
higher 

lower

no significant difference 
lower
Fresno
lower
lower
lower
lower
lower
Houston
no significant difference

no significant difference

higher
no significant difference
higher
Jefferson County (KY)

higher

no significant difference

no significant difference

reporting standards not met
higher
Los Angeles

lower

lower
no significant difference
lower
lower 
Miami-Dade
 higher
no significant difference
no significant difference
higher
higher
Milwaukee
lower
no significant difference
lower
no significant difference
lower
New York City
 higher
no significant difference
 higher
higher

higher

Philadelphia

lower

lower
lower
lower

lower

San Diego
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
lower
no significant difference

District Grade 8 Student Groups
Overall
White
Black
Hispanic
Eligible for school lunch
Atlanta
no significant difference
higher
no significant difference
reporting standards not met
no significant difference
Austin
higher
higher
no significant difference

higher

no significant difference

Baltimore City
lower

reporting standards not met

no significant difference

reporting standards not met

no significant difference

Boston
higher
higher
no significant difference

higher

higher

Charlotte
higher
no significant difference
higher
no significant difference
higher
Chicago
no significant difference
no significant difference

no significant difference

no significant difference

no significant difference

Cleveland
lower
lower
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
Detroit
lower
reporting standards not met
lower
no significant difference

lower

District of Columbia (DCPS)
lower
reporting standards not met
lower
no significant difference
lower
Fresno
lower
lower
lower
lower
lower
Houston
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
higher

no significant difference

Jefferson County (KY)
higher
lower
no significant difference
reporting standards not met
higher
Los Angeles
lower
no significant difference
no significant difference
lower
lower
Miami-Dade
higher

no significant difference

higher
higher
higher
Milwaukee
lower
no significant difference
lower
no significant difference
lower
New York City
no significant difference
no significant difference

no significant difference

no significant difference
higher
Philadelphia
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference
San Diego
no significant difference
no significant difference
no significant difference

no significant difference

no significant difference

higher Higher average score than large city.

lower Lower average score than large city.

no significant difference No significant difference between the district and large city.

reporting standards not met Reporting standards not met. Sample size insufficient to permit a reliable estimate.

DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.

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Demographics vary among the nation, large cities, and individual urban districts

When comparing the results for urban districts to results for the nation and large cities, it is important to consider how the demographics of the jurisdictions are different. Nationally, the percentages of White students at both grades 4 and 8 were higher than the combined percentages of Black and Hispanic students in 2009, while the opposite was true for large cities and for most participating urban districts.

Large cities and participating urban districts also differed from the nation in the proportion of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. While the percentages of students eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch in the nation were 47 percent at grade 4 and 43 percent at grade 8, the percentages of eligible students in the districts ranged from 46 to 100 percent in 2009.

More detailed information about the demographic characteristics of fourth- and eighth-graders in the nation, large cities, and participating districts is included in the report.

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Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

PDF The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment Reading 2009 report PDF (10907K PDF)

NCES 2010-459  Ordering information


Suggested Citation
National Center for Education Statistics (2009). The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment Reading 2009  (NCES 2010–459). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see the results of the 2009 Reading Trial Urban District assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.

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Last updated 07 June 2010 (RH)

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