Friday, March 26, 2010
Minnesota outperforms many other states in reading, but the gap between black and white students hasn't narrowed since 1992
Minnesota's students once again outperformed much of the nation on reading tests in 2009, but the achievement gap between black and white students hasn't budged in almost 20 years, according to the latest test results. The state's persistent, vexing achievement gap has become a long-term blemish on an otherwise good reputation for educational performance. The 2009 results of what's commonly called the "Nation's Report Card" show that Washington, D.C., is the only jurisdiction with a black-white gap statistically larger than Minnesota's in fourth grade, and that Connecticut is the only state with a larger gap in eighth grade, although some states didn't report enough data to be counted. The report card, officially titled the National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows that only three states outperformed Minnesota in reading by eighth-graders, and six outperformed the state in reading by fourth-graders. The state is statistically tied with 23 states in fourth-grade and 15 states in eighth-grade. Minnesota's girls scored higher than its boys in both grades. The gap between white and black fourth-graders hasn't narrowed since 1992, the first year data were available. The same is true of eighth-graders since 1998, the first year of available data for that grade. Likewise, the achievement gap between students who receive "free and reduced-price lunch" and those who don't has not changed since 1998, the earliest it was measured.