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The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment,
Mathematics Highlights 2003

December 2003

Authors: Anthony D. Lutkus and Arlene W. Weiner


Results of the First NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment in Mathematics

Line graph of average TUDA Mathematics scores for 2003: for grade 4, Nation 234, Large central city 224, Atlanta 216, Boston 220, Charlotte 242, Chicago 214, Cleveland 215, District of Columbia 205, Houston 227, Los Angeles 216, New York City 226, and San Diego 226; for grade 8, Nation 276, Large central city 262, Atlanta 244, Boston 262, Charlotte 279, Chicago 254, Cleveland 253, District of Columbia 243, Houston 264, Los Angeles 245, New York City 266, and San Diego 264

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment, Mathematics Highlights 2003.


In 2002, five urban school districts participated in NAEP's first Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in reading and writing. In 2003, nine urban districts (including the original five) participated in the TUDA in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8: Atlanta City, Boston School District, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, City of Chicago School District 299, Cleveland Municipal School District, Houston Independent School District, Los Angeles Unified, New York City Public Schools, and San Diego City Unified. Only public-school students were sampled in the TUDA. Results for the District of Columbia public schools, which normally participate in NAEP's state assessments, are also reported.

Average mathematics scores are reported on a 0–500 scale. The figure above shows the average scores at both grades for the districts that participated in 2003. The average scores for public-school students in the nation and for public-school students attending schools located in large central cities are also shown for comparison. "Urban districts" refers to the ten districts reported in this trial study. Eight of the ten urban districts consist entirely of schools in cities with a population of 250,000 or more (i.e., large central cities as defined by NCES); two of them (Charlotte and Los Angeles) consist primarily of schools in large central cities, but also have from one-quarter to one-third of their fourth- and eighth-grade students enrolled in surrounding urban fringe or rural areas. All of the data for both districts were used to compare with data from large central cities and the nation.

At grade 4, the average score in Charlotte was higher than the average scores for the nation, large central cities, and the other participating districts. All participating districts at grade 4 except Charlotte had lower average scores than the average score for the nation. Compared with the average score in large central cities, the average scores in three districts (Houston, New York City, and San Diego) were not found to be significantly different, and the average scores in the remaining six districts were lower.

At grade 8, the average score in Charlotte was again higher than the average scores for the nation, large central cities, and the other participating districts, while the average scores for all other districts were lower than that for the nation. Students in New York City also scored higher, on average, than students in large central city public schools, while the average scores for students in Boston, Houston, and San Diego were not found to be significantly different from that in large central cities. The average scores in the remaining five districts were lower than the average score in large central cities.

All estimates have a standard error—a range of up to a few points above or below the score—due to sampling error and measurement error. Statistical tests are used to determine whether the differences between average scores are significant, after considering the standard errors. Therefore, not all apparent differences may be found to be statistically significant. All the differences discussed in this report were tested for statistical significance at the .05 level.



NCES 2004-458 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment, Mathematics Highlights 2003, NCES 2004-458, by A. D. Lutkus and A. W. Weiner. Washington, DC: 2003.

Last updated 09 December 2003 (RH)

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