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 Article of Interest - Education

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Michigan Fourth & Eighth Graders Above National Average in Reading

National test also indicates achievement gap narrowing.

Michigan Department of Education Press Release, June 19, 2003

Contact: T.J. Bucholz, Public Information Officer, Education, (517) 241-4395 or Terry Stanton, Public Information Officer, Treasury, (517) 335-2167
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LANSING – Michigan fourth and eighth graders achieved above the national average in reading performance, according to recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) data released today.

More importantly, statewide results also show that African-American and Hispanic student scores improved for the first time in a decade.

“Our latest NAEP results clearly indicate that Michigan continues to edge toward excellence,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “We still have work to do in many areas – but the best news is that all of our children are achieving and that we are making progress toward narrowing the achievement gap.”

In 2002, the average scale score for fourth grade students in Michigan was 219, higher than the average of students across the nation (217). Michigan’s 2002 scale score among fourth graders was also higher than that of 1998 (216).

For grade 8, the average scale score for students in Michigan was 265, two points higher than the national average (263.)

While performance on the reading assessment among fourth grade white students increased from 223 in 1998 to 226 in 2002, African American student achievement levels jumped over the same period from 187 to 195. Hispanic fourth grade student scores also increased from 201 to 205. African American scores had been stagnant since 1992.

“We continue to see improvement on these assessments for all of our students – a testament to the excellent work of our public school teachers,” said Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins. “We will continue to use NAEP data to help school districts deliver outstanding educational programs, help teachers teach, and children learn.”

Michigan was one of 48 states and jurisdictions that participated in The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2002. The results were released today in Washington, D.C. by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The study randomly assessed some 250 Michigan school buildings and approximately 5,000 students. Beginning with the 2003 Reading and Mathematics results, scheduled for release this fall, participation in NAEP is a required element of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

“The NAEP testing, linked with the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests we administer every year, gives Michigan a good basis by which to approach No Child Left Behind requirements,” said Michigan Treasurer Jay B. Rising. “We believe we are ahead of the curve when it comes to the implementation and success of NCLB.”

Authorized by Congress and administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education, NAEP regularly reports to the public on the educational progress of American students.

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