BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The report card is in for Baltimore City schools. Students rank below the national average, but they’re still making some important progress.
Weijia Jiang explains the problem dragging Baltimore students down.
Baltimore City elementary and middle school students are making some strides.
“We can all read better, we can write better, and our math skills have gone far beyond what I ever expected,” said Lamar Mitchell, City Springs eighth-grader.
And the numbers back that claim up—but only to an extent.
On Wednesday, the city released the results of the Nation’s Report Card. A National Assessment Board tests fourth- and eighth-graders in 21 large urban school districts across the country, including Baltimore.
The 2011 results show overall students are in the bottom third. But the city’s gains in math are among the highest of all the districts.
It is reading scores that have not budged.
“Either the quality of what’s being read or reading itself is taking too much time itself, is taking away from core reading instruction,” said Michael Casserly, Council of Great City Schools.
This test is considered to be more rigorous than the annual state assessment tests, which students have been steadily improving on for the past decade.
Only 11 percent of fourth-graders are considered proficient in reading and 17 percent proficient in math. For eighth-graders, it’s 12 and 13 percent respectively.
The scores put Baltimore ahead of Detroit, Washington, and Cleveland but behind New York, Boston, Atlanta and other big cities.
The head of city schools admits there’s a steep hill to climb.
“There is such a need to move the numbers of kids toward the proficiency band. The urgency in the work has to be there, even as we celebrate the advancements we’re making,” said Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore Schools CEO.
Students take the National Assessment Test every two years.