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National assessments show Team Duval remains at the head of the class

Oct. 30, 2019 – A national assessment of student achievement and learning again shows the strength of Duval County Public Schools in comparison to other large city school districts across the country.

Duval ranked in the top five of participating districts in 17 out of 20 student groupings in the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) which tests a random sample of fourth and eighth grade students in reading and mathematics.

Duval is not just beating most large city school districts. Duval’s students beat or tied the national average for all public schools in 17 out of 20 student groupings.

“To be consistently landing in the top five in the nation is a strong statement for the quality of instruction happening in our schools,” said School Board Chairwoman Lori Hershey. “To be an urban school district outpacing the average for all public schools in almost every category should be a source of pride for everyone in Jacksonville.”

Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Dr. Diana Greene, said the NAEP results mirror the trajectory seen in the Florida Standard Assessment (FSA) scores.

“These results are very similar to our state assessment scores,” Greene said. “Looking at the overall test score trend, there is no doubt that Duval’s students are performing at a high level compared to our peers. Even with this, I am motivated to keep pressing forward and take our success to an even greater level.”

What is NAEP

The NAEP program has served as the primary measurement of student achievement among the nation’s state education systems. NAEP informs the American public about how students are progressing and enables comparisons among states, large urban districts, and student groups.

Duval County Public Schools joined the NAEP district assessment program for mathematics and reading in 2015. Application to the program is voluntary. Selection criteria include district size, ratio of African American or Hispanic students and the ratio of students in the district who are eligible for free and reduced school lunch.

The district also participates in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) program of NAEP. This voluntary accountability program enables large districts to have their scores tallied separately from their states, enabling comparisons among the nation’s largest participating cities. Across the nation, 27 large districts participate in this program including two others in Florida.

How does Duval compare

Compared to Duval’s large urban school district peers that also voluntarily participate in NAEP’s Trial Urban District Assessment program, Duval finds itself ranked in the top five of 27 districts in almost every category.

The categories include racial and social subgroups tracked for equity in educational outcomes: All students; African American students; Hispanic students; Free and reduced lunch (FRL) students; and Students with Disabilities (SWD).

Duval’s students with disabilities ranked number one in the nation in both eighth-grade mathematics and in eighth grade reading. Duval’s Hispanic students tied Miami-Dade for number one in fourth grade reading. The district’s lowest ranking is 10th in grade eight mathematics for all students.

Areas where Duval is ranked in the top five in the nation:

Grade 4 Mathematics (ranking)

· All students (3)

· African American students (2)

· Hispanic students (2)

· Free and reduced lunch (FRL) students (2)

· Students with disabilities (SWD) (2)

Grade 8 Mathematics

· African American students (4)

· SWD (1)

Grade 4 Reading

· All Students (5)

· African American students (3)

· Hispanic students (1 – tied with Miami)

· FRL students (3)

· SWD (2)

Grade 8 Reading

· All students (5)

· African American students (3)

· Hispanic students (3)

· FRL students (3)

· SWD (1)

While there were no areas where Duval was below the top 10, there were three areas where Duval ranked 6 – 10 in the nation. This was in the All Students (10); Hispanic students (6); and FRL students (8) in the category of Grade 8 Mathematics.

As the district celebrates the high NAEP rankings, Greene reflects that she will continue to look beyond testing to foster the academic success of students.

“While testing enables the district to gauge it’s progress compared to other districts, true growth will come from an intensive and supportive focus on daily classroom instruction,” said Greene. “As such, the district will continue to evaluate its participation in voluntary testing programs to ensure balance is achieved between the needs of our students and educators and the need for comparative achievement results. The most promising opportunity we have is to escalate the rigor of our curriculum. We have to make sure teachers have access to materials and curriculum tools that are the right level of rigor for state and national assessments. That’s how we will get to the next level of student achievement.”


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