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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: DECEMBER 17, 2003


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools outperformed eight other urban school districts in a special assessment of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, according to results released today by the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Results of the special administration of the NAEP reading and mathematics tests in nine urban areas nationwide mirrored North Carolina's performance announced in November.

State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said that today's news is good news for North Carolina. "Charlotte-Mecklenburg's performance outstripped every other urban district measured and showed that our state's students can perform at high levels. We appreciate the support that has been provided by the General Assembly to help provide intervention with students that need it and to provide incentives for high achievement."

State Superintendent Mike Ward, who is also a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which governs the NAEP, said that he was very pleased with Charlotte-Mecklenburg's results. "I want to congratulate the educators and students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. It is clear that their students are performing as well as or better than the nation and better than the other large cities that were a part of this special trial assessment. Charlotte-Mecklenburg demonstrates that large city school districts can be high-achieving districts."

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system is the largest school district in North Carolina, serving approximately 110,000 students. Charlotte-Mecklenburg volunteered to participate in the TUDA.

The Trial Urban District Assessment is a project of the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the Council of Great City Schools. TUDA assessed representative samples of fourth and eighth grade public school students in 2003 from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, the District of Columbia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Diego in mathematics and reading. In 2002, the first year of the TUDA project, five urban districts participated, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg was not included in that initial year. The five original districts were Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Houston and Los Angeles.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's average mathematics scores were 242 for fourth graders and 279 for eighth graders. The average mathematics scores for the nation's public schools were 234 at the fourth grade and 276 at the eighth grade. For the large central cities in the TUDA, the average mathematics scores were 224 for fourth grade and 262 for eighth grade.

In reading, Charlotte-Mecklenburg posted scores that continued this positive trend. The district's average fourth grade reading score was 219 and the average eighth grade score was 262. The average reading scores for the nation's public schools were 216 at the fourth grade and 261 at the eighth grade. For the large central cities in the TUDA, the average reading scores were 205 for fourth grade and 249 for eighth grade.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's results were not statistically different from North Carolina's results, released on Nov. 13. North Carolina's results were higher than the South Census Bureau region average scores at both grades and in both subjects. That region includes 16 states and the District of Columbia. North Carolina's performance also was at the national average or better in both reading and mathematics at both grades. For more information about the North Carolina state results see the North Carolina's 2003 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Results News Release.

In addition to providing scale scores, the NAEP also reports the percentage of students considered to be at or above the NAEP Proficient level. Charlotte-Mecklenburg's performance was much more positive than the other urban areas in the trial assessment. For example, 41 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's fourth grade student sample was Proficient or better in mathematics as compared to 21 percent for large central cities overall. For eighth graders, 32 percent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg were Proficient or better compared to 17 percent for large central cities overall.

In reading, 31 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg fourth graders were Proficient or better, as compared to 20 percent of the urban districts on average. For the eighth grade, the figures were 30 percent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg and 19 percent for the urban districts' average.

For more information on the NAEP TUDA, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Division of Accountability Services, 919.807.3769.

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Web site
  • North Carolina State Reports on NAEP
  • Nation's Report Card Web site

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.