A recent report shows that low-income students in Maryland have made more academic improvement between 2003-11 than any other state, according to the Washington Examiner.
The report—“The New State Achievement Gap” from the Education Sector—details the increase in reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for fourth and eighth graders who are eligible for free and reduced meals. Maryland students topped the list, showing a combined 55 points, ahead of New Jersey (51.7), Massachusetts (47.1), Washington, DC (43.3) and Alabama (42.7). Virginia ranked 40th with an increase of 15.9 points.
Conversely, scores for comparable students in West Virginia went down by 8.4 points. The other states in the bottom five included South Carolina (8.9), Iowa (8.4) South Dakota (2.4) and Oregon (2.1).
Education Sector interim CEO John Chubb told the Examiner that Maryland’s improvements were probably coming from school systems where income needs were highest, including Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.
The report seeks to measure the effectiveness of state educations programs that provide alternatives to the federal “No Child Left Behind” law, which set standards and established measureable goals in an effort to improve educational outcomes for U.S. students.
Chubb also praised state officials, calling them “very supportive of Maryland schools, maybe at a time when that support hasn’t been there in other states.”
The article also cites Maryland state law, which prevents local school districts from decreasing school funding from year-to-year.