Chicago Public Schools finally showed some real progress in reading on national test results released Wednesday, but only compared to how its students fared at least seven years ago.
A new report on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress taken by 21 big-city districts was the second analysis in less than a month to indicate that, despite more than a decade of massive investments in reading, Chicago’s elementary-grade reading performance has barely budged in years.
CPS eighth-graders took seven years to finally produce real reading improvement, growing from an average score of 249 to 253 on a 500-point test known as “The Nation’s Report Card” between 2005 and 2011.
Fourth graders took even longer — nine years — to mount real reading gains and move from a 198 to 203 between 2003 and this year.
In between, the city’s flat or slight gains didn’t really amount to any kind of statistically significant improvement, a NAEP analysis of a representative sample of CPS students over time indicates.
Last month, a study by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research found that CPS elementary reading scores on other, higher-stakes tests — including the state’s achievement exams — really had not moved much between 1990 to 2009. To reach that conclusion, researchers adjusted for changes in the tests and study body.