NAEP TUDA 2011: Reading coverNAEP TUDA 2011: Math coverLike the November results of NAEP’s national math and reading report
cards, the latest results of the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) are
unlikely to inspire many pats on the back. The TUDA, which measures student
achievement in twenty-one large urban districts (that volunteer to take the
exam), presents a complicated picture of urban student achievement. The nation
as a whole made
modest gains
in fourth- and eighth-grade math and in eighth-grade reading
over the last two years; but among the eighteen TUDA districts with test
results in 2009 and 2011, only six showed statistically significant improvement
in fourth-grade math. Eight posted significant gains in that subject at the
eighth-grade level. Worse still, no districts made significant gains in
fourth-grade reading, and only one—Charlotte-Mecklenburg,
NC—improved in eighth-grade
reading. Still, these stats are more encouraging if we look at score gains
since TUDA’s inception: Since then, many of the participating districts have
made large gains in math and reading achievement. In math, nine of the ten original
districts saw their fourth graders improve between 2003 and 2011, while
thirteen of fourteen posted gains for eighth graders. (Cleveland failed to post any significant
improvements in either category.) In reading, all six original districts saw
gains among their fourth-grade readers from 2002 to 2011, and four of them have
also seen their eighth-grade readers improve. What’s more, beyond the
twenty-one TUDA districts, large cities as a whole have made greater strides
than the nation across the last decade, though large gaps in performance
remain. The TUDA data can be cut many ways (and should be—the online data tool
allows users to disaggregate data across multiple subgroups), but the gist of
the story remains: Large urban districts have made great strides over the last
decade, but still have far to go. What will we do to maintain their upward

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Click to listen to commentary on the NAEP TUDA from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.


National Center for Education Statistics, Trial Urban District Assessment 2011 (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics,

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