Persistent achievement gap vexes education reformers: Six takeaways

No education issue has received more attention in recent years – but with less apparent progress – than the achievement gaps for minority and low-income students. The Center on Education Policy released a study Tuesday that looks at trends in all 50 states. Read our list of a few of the study’s major findings.

Which states stand out

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    Florida has been effective in reducing the achievement gaps between both African-American and Latino students and white students. Gulfside Elementary is pictured here.
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While the report declined to rank states – in part because their tests are all so different – some are clearly doing a better job than others when it comes to narrowing achievement gaps.

Arizona and Florida, for instance, are doing the best job narrowing the gap between Latino and white students, while Florida also stands out when it comes to the African-American/white gap. In Florida, the percentage of fourth grade African-American students scoring proficient in math went from 28 percent in 2002 to 60 percent in 2009.

Tennessee is doing well at closing gaps for low-income students. Tennessee, in fact, is noteworthy in narrowing gaps across the board: for all subgroups, in both reading and math, at all three grade levels (fourth grade, eighth grade, and high school), and by both measures the researcher used (looking at average scores as well as the percentage of students that scored proficient).

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