How do HISD 8th graders compare?

April 3, 2008 4:19:23 PM PDT
Federal education officials have announced the results of a national writing exam, which is part of the 'Nation's Report Card.' This test is administered to large, urban school districts in an effort to find a way to compare them, and HISD is doing fairly well.The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing exam show that 81 percent of Houston eighth graders scored at or above the "basic" level on the test. That's up from 74 percent scoring at or above basic in 2002.

HISD, which volunteers to take the test so that it can be compared to 11 other urban districts, has a history of beating most of America's other big city school districts in reading and math performance on the national test. The new report card issued this morning shows the district also beats most of the other districts in the percentage of students scoring at or above the "basic" level in writing, but essentially HISD falls in the middle of the pack and has work to do in writing performance.

% at or above basic, NAEP

  • National Average -------------------- 88%
  • Texas Average -------------------- 85%
  • Large Central City Average -------------------- 81%
  • Charlotte -------------------- 88%
  • Boston -------------------- 83%
  • Chicago -------------------- 83%
  • Atlanta -------------------- 83%
  • HISD -------------------- 81%
  • New York City -------------------- 80%
  • San Diego -------------------- 79%
  • Austin -------------------- 78%
  • Cleveland -------------------- 77%
  • Los Angeles -------------------- 77%
Among Hispanic students, HISD ranked third in the nation.

Minority students Scale scores, 2008 NAEP writing test
Hispanic 8th graders

  • Chicago ---------- 148
  • Charlotte---------- 142
  • Houston---------- 138
  • Boston---------- 138
  • New York City---------- 137
  • Cleveland---------- 133
  • Los Angeles ---------- 133
  • Austin---------- 131
  • San Diego---------- 129

Black 8th graders

  • Charlotte ---------- 144
  • San Diego ---------- 144
  • Atlanta ---------- 142
  • Boston ---------- 141
  • Houston ---------- 140
  • New York City ---------- 140
  • Chicago ---------- 138
  • Cleveland ---------- 132
  • Austin ---------- 130
  • Los Angeles ---------- 129
To have 81% of students passing is an improvement, but school district officials say their efforts are not done yet.

"There is an improvement here, and we're glad to see that," HISD spokesperson Terry Abbott told Eyewitness News. "But we think we need to do a lot better in writing. Even though 81% meeting this basic standard is good, we'd like to do better than that. We're like to have more kids at the higher level of proficiency. "

"We're proud that HISD students do so well in math and reading compared with students in other big cities," Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra said. "We're also proud of our progress in writing. But all across the country, and here in HISD, school districts need to do a better job of teaching children how to be good writers. It's something we want to put a lot more emphasis on in the years ahead."

These tests are administered every year, focusing on different disciplines. The writing portion of this test won't be administered for another five years.

** What's making the news in local schools? Find plenty of education news and student achievements in our 'In the Classroom' section


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