Minority Students in Nevada Showing Gains in Reading, Math

Apr 10, 2018

Officials with the U.S. Department of Education will release the results of a test that’s become known as the nation’s report card. The National Assessment of Educational Progress – or NAEP – is an exam given to a sampling of fourth and eighth-grade students in every state to determine how schools across the country are doing. This year, Nevada had some interesting results. Our education reporter Paul Boger spoke to Brett Barley, Nevada’s Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement.

Key Takeaways:

Nevada’s NAEP results came from a sampling of 128 elementary and 93 middle schools.

- Overall, Nevada’s test results were largely static, in-line with the rest of the country.

  • Nevada’s fourth-grade proficiency rate in reading is 31 percent. That’s up from 29 percent in 2015 and has steadily trended upwards since Nevada’s students scored a 21 in 2005. Nevada’s average score is 215, lower than the national average of 221 for public school students.
  • Nevada’s eighth-grade proficiency rate in reading is 28 percent, up from 27 percent in 2015. Nevada’s average score is 260, lower than the national average of 265.
  • Nevada’s fourth-grade proficiency rate in math is 31 percent, down from 32 percent in 2015. Nevada’s average score is 232, lower than the national average of 239.
  • Nevada’s eighth-grade proficiency rate in math is 27 percent, up from 26 percent in 2015. Nevada’s average score is 275, lower than the national average of 282.

- Black and Hispanic students showed the greatest gains on last year’s administration of the NAEP.

  • Hispanic fourth graders improved 3 percentage points from 2015 in reading to match the national average in proficiency at 22 percent. As recently as 2009, Hispanics were only 13 percent proficient in reading.
  • Hispanic eighth-graders improved 3 percentage points from 2015 in reading to 20 percent proficiency, but lag the national average by 2 percentage points. As recently as 2007, Hispanic eighth-graders were only 11 percent proficient in reading.
  • Hispanic eighth-graders improved 2 percentage points from 2015 in math to 18 percent proficiency, but lag the national average by 2 points. As recently as 2003, Hispanic eighth-graders were only 7 percent proficient.
  • Black fourth-graders improved 6 percentage points from 2015 in reading to exceed the national average by a point with 20 percent scoring proficient.
  • Asian fourth-graders improved 13 points from 2015 in math to match the national average in math at 67 percent proficiency.

- Education officials credit the progress to a number of education reforms championed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval.

“When we look at the results of 2017 administration of NAEP, I think there are two real clear highlights," says Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement Brett Barley. "The first is that Nevada still has a long way to go to ensure that all students are achieving at the level we know they are capable of. Second, there is some really good news in this year’s administration for black and Hispanic students in particular… We are seeing some growth some of our student populations that we have been trying to raise student achievement levels on through a whole bunch of investments through the legislature and the governor have made over the previous several legislative sessions.”