Indiana's 4th and 8th grade students demonstrated the second largest improvement rate among states last year on standardized math and reading tests, according to data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education.
"Congratulations to our students, our teachers, and our families for achieving significant improvements in math and reading," said Governor Mike Pence. "While the NAEP measures only a snapshot of our students, the results show Indiana reforms are working and our teachers have risen to the challenge and produced significant gains in our classrooms. It's essential that we build upon the outcomes and momentum that these students have demonstrated."
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is considered to be the largest national assessment tool, testing nationally representative samples of fourth and eighth graders nationwide in Math and Reading. It is often deemed to be the "nation's report card" because it compares students in every state who take the same standardized test, regardless of individual state standards or other state testing requirements.
More than 715,000 scores are compiled from 4th and 8th grade students in schools across the country. Tested students are selected at random, and only public schools are considered in the final tallies for state comparisons. The overall comparison includes both 4th and 8th grade results in examining math and reading skills relative to similar data collected during the last testing period.
Pence credited the Indiana General Assembly and the past leadership of Gov. Mitch Daniels, the State Board of Education, and the Department of Education in creating the conditions for success that have led to these educational improvements. For example, Indiana's assessment and accountability measures were recently ranked as #1 in the nation, according to Education Week.
"Every day we are working toward additional achievements for all of our students, and we are focused on continued education innovations in Indiana," added Pence. "The new Center for Education and Career Innovation and the State Board of Education, working with the Department of Education and many committed community partners, aspire to demonstrable academic achievement gains for every Indiana student."
Indiana's 4th graders ranked number 4 in the nation in average math scores and demonstrated statistically significant improvements in both math and reading scores, while 8th graders also showed important overall score gains. Fifty-two percent of Indiana 4th graders tested at or above proficient in math, compared to the national average of 41 percent. Pence added that while Indiana scores exceed the national average, we also have to recognize that these scores have room for improvement as we look at overall national performance rankings for students.
"We all still have room to grow, and I know with our unified commitment to improve, we'll strive for even higher achievements for all of our students," said Claire Fiddian-Green, Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Innovation and a director of the Center for Education and Career Innovation. "Our workforce needs tell us we have to do better in preparing our students for successful careers, so it's critical for all of the state's efforts to support education innovation and the hard work undertaken every day by Indiana educators and community partners to embed continuous improvement and innovation in our classrooms."
NAEP has been uniformly administering tests to students since 1990 and is considered a common metric in comparing all school systems, since it issues tests and results. Additional testing information on all states is available here (http://nationsreportcard.gov/).