A new national report shows little or no increase the ability of Iowa fourth and eighth graders in math and reading. The National Assessment for Educational Progress surveys a sample of the students in those grades in Iowa’s public schools. Judy Jeffrey is in charge of early childhood education at the Iowa Department of Education. She says fourth grade reading showed a little improve, which she says is not surprising since they’ve put a lot of effort into improving the reading level at the primary grades. Seventy percent of fourth grade students performed above the basic reading level, compared to 69-percent last year. Jefferey says the small increase is not disappointing considering the effort put into improvement. She says they don’t expect a tremendous jump from year-to-year as it’s still just a sample of students, but she says any improvement is welcome. Eighth graders held steady in the percentage who read above the basic level at 79-percent. She says they’re not dissatisfied with the scores, but says they believe all students could do better. She says they’re most concerned about gaps among “subgroups of the population.” She elaborates on those gaps. She says the gaps are not common across the U.S. She says there are gaps between the white, black and Hispanic students, gaps among those on free and reduced lunches and those who are not, those who attend a central city school and those who attend elsewhere. Fourth graders scoring above the basic level in math hit 83-percent compared to 78-percent last year. Eighth graders scored 76-percent, compared to 78-percent. Jeffrey says Iowa students are still above the national average in for both math and reading in both grades.
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