The National Assessment of Educational Progress is given to students in the fourth and eighth grades. It measures math and reading skills. Over the last eight years, students in the HISD have improved their scores to exceed the national average for large-cities in both fourth grade math and reading, and eighth grade math. The district's Jason Spencer says the progress has come despite demographic challenges.
"Our poverty rate and our percentage of students who are non-native English speakers is much higher than the state average, and the average among the 21 large-city urban districts that also voluntarily participate in this testing."
The one area in which HISD lags behind the large-city national average is eighth-grade reading. Spencer says all scores should improve as the district makes a better effort to analyze student performance data.
"So that we can look and see, for each child, what are the areas that are causing him or her to not understand fractions, for example. And really target our instruction to reach that child."
Dallas and Austin are the two other Texas cities in the test. In all reading and math categories, HISD ranks higher than Dallas, but below Austin.