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The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment
National Assessment of Educational Progress at Grades 4 and 8 

December 2013

Author: National Center for Education Statistics

Download The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment PDF File (4.5 MB)


Cover image of The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment.

Urban district results easy to access online

What is TUDA?

What are results based upon?

How are results reported?

How are large cities performing?

How are urban districts performing?

Are urban districts making progress?

Which student groups are making progress in urban districts?

District Profiles

What other information is available online?



Urban district results easy to access online

NAEP results are now easier than ever to access in a new interactive website at http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_tuda_2013/. The results from the 2013 assessments in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8 highlighted here can be explored in more detail with interactive graphics, downloadable data, and enhanced features for viewing urban district results.


What is TUDA?

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), in partnership with the National Assessment Governing Board and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), created the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in 2002 to support the improvement of student achievement in the nation’s large urban districts. The TUDA focuses attention on urban education and measures educational progress within participating large urban districts. Reading results were first reported for six urban districts in 2002, and mathematics results were first reported in 2003 for 10 districts. Since 2002, urban districts have been added in each assessment year, culminating in the 21 districts that participated in both 2011 and 2013.

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What are results based upon?

TUDA results are based on the same mathematics and reading assessments used to report national and state results, thus allowing students’ performance in the 21 participating districts to be compared to the performance of their peers in the nation’s large cities as well as their home state. The National Assessment Governing Board oversees the development of NAEP frameworks that describe the specific knowledge and skills to be assessed in each subject.

The NAEP mathematics assessment measures students’ knowledge and skills in mathematics and students’ ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations. At each grade, students responded to multiple-choice and constructed-response questions designed to measure what they know and can do across five mathematics content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra.

The NAEP reading assessment measures students’ reading comprehension by asking them to read selected grade-appropriate materials and answer questions based on what they have read. At each grade, students responded to multiple-choice and constructed-response questions designed to measure their reading comprehension across two types of text: literary and informational.

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How are results reported?

Student performance is reported as average scores on separate 0 to 500 scales in mathematics and reading, and as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced). Changes in students’ performance over time are noted only if the differences in scores or percentages are determined to be statistically significant (p < .05). Because NAEP scales and achievement levels are developed independently for each subject, results cannot be compared across subjects. NAEP results in mathematics and reading are based on representative samples of 1,100 to 2,300 public school students at grade 4 and 900 to 2,100 public school students at grade 8 in each participating urban district.

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How are large cities performing?

“Large city” is a comparison category that includes public school students from all cities in the nation with populations of 250,000 or more. In addition to comparing the results in each urban district to public school students in the nation, comparisons are also made to large cities because their students are the peer group most similar to the students in the 21 urban districts.

The percentages of students in large cities performing below the Basic achievement level were lower in 2013 than in 2003 in both mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8. Over the same period, the percentages of students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels were higher across both subjects and grades.

Achievement-level results in NAEP mathematics and reading for fourth- and eighth-grade students attending large city public schools in the nation: 2003 and 2013

The image shows 2 vertical bar graphs: one for mathematics and one for reading. Each graph contains 4 layered bars. The X axis in each graph indicates the grade and the year for each bar. The Y axis indicates the percent of students below the Basic level, at the Basic level, and at or above the Proficient level. In mathematics at grade 4: The percentage of students scoring below Basic in 2003 was 37, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 25. The percentage of students scoring at or above Basic in 2003 was 63, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 75.  The percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient in 2003 was 20, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 33. In mathematics at grade 8: The percentage of students scoring below Basic in 2003 was 50, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 35. The percentage of students scoring at or above Basic in 2003 was 50, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 65. The percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient in 2003 was 16, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 27. In reading at grade 4: The percentage of students scoring below Basic in 2003 was 53, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 43. The percentage of students scoring at or above Basic in 2003 was 47, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 57. The percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient in 2003 was 19, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 26. In reading at grade 8: The percentage of students scoring below Basic in 2003 was 42, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 32. The percentage of students scoring at or above Basic in 2003 was 58, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 68. The percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient in 2003 was 19, significantly different from the percentage of students at this level in 2013 which was 26.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2013.
NOTE: Large city includes students from all cities in the nation with populations of 250,000 or more including the participating districts. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2003 and 2013 Mathematics and Reading Assessments.

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How are urban districts performing?

Mathematics and reading scores in three urban districts (Austin, Charlotte, and Hillsborough County) were higher in 2013 than the scores for large cities at grades 4 and 8. Scores in nine urban districts (Baltimore City, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Fresno, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia) were lower in both subjects and both grades.

In 2013, average mathematics and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-grade public school students in large cities were lower than the scores for public school students in the nation.

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Are urban districts making progress?

Students in eight districts scored higher in 2013 than in 2011 in at least one subject and grade combination. Students in Los Angeles scored higher in three of four subject and grade combinations, while students in the District of Columbia scored higher at all four subject and grade combinations.

Compared to the nation, score gains from 2003 to 2013 in mathematics were greater in six districts at grade 4 and in seven districts at grade 8. Five districts had greater reading score gains than the nation from 2003 to 2013 at grade 4, while three districts did so at grade 8.

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Which student groups are making progress in urban districts?

In Los Angeles, White, Black, and Hispanic students all made gains from 2011 to 2013 in mathematics at grade 4. ln the District of Columbia, White, Black, and Hispanic students had score increases from 2011 to 2013 in reading at grade 8. Average scores for students eligible for the National School Lunch Program increased from 2011 to 2013 in at least one subject and grade combination in eight districts (Atlanta, Baltimore City, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, the District of Columbia, Fresno, and Los Angeles). There was only one district (Detroit) where the average score for eligible students decreased in 2013 from 2011, and that was in mathematics at grade 8.

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District Profiles

District Profiles provide an in-depth look at each participating district’s performance in context by subject and grade. Results are also shown for large city, each district’s home state, and the nation overall to facilitate relevant comparisons. Website users may select from drop-down menus to create the profile of your choice.

The Overview of Performance section provides a complete trend line of the district’s average scores and achievement-level results for 2013.

The Performance Gaps section displays the differences in average scores for racial/ethnic groups and by students’ eligibility for the National School Lunch Program.

Classroom Context shows the percentages of students in terms of subject-specific variables: for example, instructional time spent on mathematics and emphasis on algebra in fourth-grade mathematics.

The Inclusion section provides a display of percentages of students with disabilities and English language learners who were identified, and those who were excluded in the 2013 assessments.

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What other information is available online?

Urban district results from the 2013 NAEP mathematics and reading assessments can be explored in more detail at http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_tuda_2013/. The NAEP website features a number of applications designed to give users the ability to analyze NAEP data, explore assessment questions, and compare district results at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/naeptools.aspx.

Use the NAEP Data Explorer to see additional results based on information collected from school, teacher, and student questionnaires and to create custom tables, graphics, and maps with results for the nation, states, and districts.

Use the NAEP Questions Tool to view more than 3,000 questions released in nine subject areas along with actual student responses, scoring guides, and data on how students performed on each question.

View District Profiles highlighting information on a district’s student and school characteristics, and a summary of its performance on NAEP assessments.

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Download The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment PDF File (4.5 MB)

NCES 2014-466  Ordering information

Suggested Citation
National Center for Education Statistics (2013). The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading Trial Urban District Assessment (NCES 2014–466). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see the results of the TUDA Mathematics and Reading assessments on the Nation's Report Card website.  

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Last updated 13 December 2013 (RH)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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