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AISD Earns High Marks on Nation's Report Card, Ranking at Top of Urban School Districts in Math and Reading

AUSTIN, Texas—AISD students continue to outperform their peers in large urban school districts on the Nation's Report Card, ranking among the top in math and reading--while economically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners outperformed their peers nationally.

Today, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported AISD students ranked second in fourth grade math and third in eighth grade math in the percentage of students scoring at the proficient or advanced levels. In reading, the students ranked third in both fourth and eighth grade. AISD's economically disadvantaged students and English-language learners outperformed their peers in both the nation and large cities.

"AISD continues to be one of the highest performing urban districts in the state and nation. Austin students have made significant gains over time in reading and mathematics, and continue to outperform their peers in most urban district districts, large cities and the nation," Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said. "I am proud of our students and teachers for their accomplishments and I am pleased that our district's hard work continues to pay off."

For 2013, the district set a goal to include more students in the nation's report card because some students were excluded due to limited English proficiency because the NAEP assessment only is available in English, while state assessments are offered in Spanish at third through fifth grade. Similarly, some students were excluded because accommodations for students with disabilities were not available. AISD met its goal with dramatic decreases in the percentage of Austin's students excluded from the NAEP assessments. For example, fourth grade students excluded from the reading assessment due to limited English proficiency and/or disabilities decreased from 20 percent in 2005 to 4 percent in 2013.

Despite the changing composition of the students who were tested, Austin continued to perform well in comparison to the nation, large cities and urban districts.

"These new results show that Austin maintained its superior academic position compared with other big city school districts across the country at the same time they were including more students in the assessments. This is a difficult position for any school district to maintain, but Austin has done it," Michael Casserly, executive director for the Council of the Great City Schools, said.

Results for mathematics were particularly strong, a testament to the district's emphasis on numeracy, integration challenging content within the curriculum and the investment of resources to provide supports for students.

The Nation's Report Card also reported:

  • Austin's economically disadvantaged students outscored their peers in both the nation and large cities on the fourth grade math assessment for the first time.
  • Austin's English-language learners outscored their peers in both the nation and large cities on the fourth grade reading assessment.
  • Austin's students in all groups outscored their peers in large cities on the eighth grade math assessment, and white students and English-language learners also outscored their peers nationwide.
  • Austin's students in most groups outscored their peers in both large cities and the nation on the fourth grade math assessment.
  • Even with dramatic decreases in the percentage of students excluded in the assessment, Austin's fourth and eighth grade students still made significant gains over time in both reading and math.

Since 2005, Austin ISD has participated in NAEP's Trial Urban District Assessment administration, otherwise known as the Nation's Report Card. Representative samples of students from a total of 21 school districts across the United States participated in the 2013 assessment of fourth and eighth grade students in reading and mathematics, which provides an opportunity to benchmark progress over time as well as performance against students in other participating urban districts, large U.S. cities and the nation.

To see the complete report, visit http://www.austinisd.org/dre.