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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

June 27, 2011

Superintendent Castillo Statement on National Assessment of Educational Progress Hispanic / White Achievement Gap Report

State Superintendent Susan Castillo today released the following statement:

SALEM – “Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report on the achievement gap that exists between white and Hispanic students around our country. The report looked at the performance of both white and Hispanic 4th and 8th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – a national test which provides a common measure of student achievement in all 50 states.

“This report is both encouraging and sobering. The good news is that student achievement has been on the rise for both white and Hispanic students – meaning our kids are demonstrating higher level skills at both 4th and 8th grades. We know that states around the country, including Oregon, have been working to raise the bar to better prepare students for college and career, and these results indicate that students are rising to that challenge.

“The bad news is that on a national level the achievement gap that exists between white and Hispanic students has not really changed. However, some states – including Oregon – have seen gaps shrink. In Oregon, our white/Hispanic achievement gap for 4th graders on the NAEP math test is narrower today than it was when the test was first administered here in 1996.

“However, our state and states around the country still have a long way to go. Am I pleased that our students are achieving at higher levels? Am I happy to see evidence of reductions to our achievement gap? Absolutely! But we are nowhere near where we need to be. Far too many of our students are still on the wrong side of the achievement gap. And these results are a clear reminder of that.

“But still, I have faith that we are on the right track. Last year, Hispanic achievement on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills grew faster than that of white students in all subjects and grade levels. We have raised the bar with more rigorous diploma requirements and increased expectations in reading and math at the lower grades, and we are already seeing results. Last year we saw unprecedented gains in high school reading achievement, and this year schools around the state have been reporting continued growth in student performance. I am hopeful that we will see this progress reflected in future NAEP results as we continue to tackle the achievement gaps that persist in our schools.

“I am very proud of the good work going on in our schools to ensure that all students receive the supports they need to succeed. Schools are implementing proven best practices, focusing on teacher collaboration and professional development, and committing to do whatever it takes to give kids the strong academic foundation they will need for future success. I invite you to learn more about schools around our state that are making strong gains in closing the gap. For the past seven years, I have been recognizing schools that are leading the way and making the changes needed to narrow those persistent gaps. Learn more about what Oregon schools are doing to close the gap at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=3303.”

To read the full NAEP report, go to: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2011459.pdf PDF.

For an audio clip of Superintendent Susan Castillo, go to: http://video.orvsd.org/ode/NAEP-11062702.MP3

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, Acting Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5650

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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