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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01

NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: APRIL 09, 2001

NC SHOWS STRONG PERFORMANCE ON NAEP DURING THE 1990'S; ONLY STATE TO REDUCE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN TOP AND BOTTOM PERFORMERS

North Carolina's fourth and eighth graders showed strong overall performance in reading and math during the 1990s and was the only state to reduce the achievement gap between its highest and lowest performers, according to a report released today by the National Education Goals Panel (NEGP).

NEGP's analysis showed that states are making "more progress in mathematics achievement than in reading" and that "good readers are getting better at the same time weak readers are losing ground." Most states also have not been successful in reducing the achievement gap between white and minority students.

"I'm pleased to see that all our extra efforts to hold North Carolina's public school students to higher standards are paying off. This is good news. One of our goals for North Carolina is to close achievement gaps and still raise achievement for every public school student. This report shows we're on the right track," State Superintendent Mike Ward said.

State Board of Education Chairman Phil Kirk attributed North Carolina's decade of achievement success to the state's focus on academic achievement. "I firmly believe that the success our students have experienced as a result of the ABCs will increase even more when statewide Student Accountability Standards are fully in place. This is not the time to rest on our successes but to keep moving forward," Kirk said.

Based on its new analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress data, NEGP found that North Carolina's fourth and eighth grade mathematics students posted achievement gains in average scores, in scores for both the top and bottom quartiles, and in the percentage of students at the proficient level and higher. In 4th grade reading, North Carolina students increased their average score and the scores of students in the bottom quartile. North Carolina was the only state to reduce the achievement gap between students in the top and bottom quartiles.

NEGP's goals call for "greater levels of student achievement; high school completion; teacher education and professional development; parental participation in the schools; adult literacy and lifelong learning; and safe, disciplined, and alcohol-and-drug-free schools. " A copy of the report can be found online at NEGP's Web site, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/negp/.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.