Local News

All Durham Student Groups Post Achievement Gains

Posted July 8, 2003

— End-of-grade composite test scores in Durham reveal significant gains among all groups when delineated by ethnicity, with both African-American and white students in grades 3-8 reporting their highest one-year increases since 1998-99 in both reading and mathematics.

The number of African-American students reading at or above grade level has jumped to 73.5 percent, up 9.3 percentage points over last year. Among white students in the same grades, 94.1 percent are now at or above grade level, up 2.5 percentage points from last year's 91.6 percent.

In mathematics, African-American students reported a record-breaking 7.5 percentage-point jump (69.9 to 77.4 percent at or above grade level), while white students posted a 2.1-point increase (93.3 to 95.4), also the highest increase in four years.

Hispanic students reported a 10.2 percentage-point jump, the highest in history, from 67.7 to a record 77.9 percent, in mathematics, with their second-highest increase of 5.6 percentage points in reading (58.8 to 64.4 percent, also a record score).

Since 1998-99, the Achievement Gap among readers in grades 3 through 8 has narrowed by one third. In 1998-99, 89.2 percent of white students were reading at or above grade level, measured against 57.9 percent of African-Americans, for a gap of 31.3 percentage points. That has shrunk to a difference of 20.6 percentage points for the 2002-03 school year (94.1 percent for white students, 73.5 percent for African-Americans).

The breakdown of end-of-grade test score composites by ethnicity offers these additional results:

  • Thirteen out of 36 middle and elementary schools report at least 80 percent of African-American students tested reading at or above grade level, compared with only one school in each of the previous three years.
  • Thirteen schools report at least 95 percent of white students reading at or above grade level, with two additional schools reporting reading proficiency at 100 percent among white students. An additional seven schools have hit or surpassed the 90-percent mark in reading among white students.
  • Seven schools report at least a 30 percentage-point increase in African-American students reading at or above grade level since 1998-99, with an additional five schools posting increases of 25 to 29.9 percentage points during the same time period.
  • Seven schools report at least 90 percent of African-American students at or above grade level in mathematics, with an additional 17 schools having at least 80 percent, compared to one above 90 percent and six above 80 percent last year.
  • In 15 schools, at least 95 percent of white students are at or above grade level in mathematics, with an additional four schools at 100 percent.
  • Four schools posted an increase of at least 40 percentage points among African-American students at or above grade level in mathematics, while an additional three schools showed an increase of between 30 and 39.9 percentage points.
  • "The matchless efforts expended by our teachers, students, principals, Central Services professionals, parents and community supporters have produced these astounding outcomes," Superintendent Ann T. Denlinger said, "thereby ensuring Durham Public Schools' transcendence to a new level of accomplishment.

    "Our most challenged students have bounded upward at unprecedented growth rates, while our higher-performing students have shown record-breaking improvements as well. There could hardly be a better forecast for our dual goals of 95 percent of third-graders reading proficiently and closing the achievement gap in four years."

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