APS 4th- and 8th-graders demonstrate consistent, significant gains on nation’s report card over a 10-year period

021Over a 10-year period, Atlanta Public Schools fourth- and eighth- grade students have demonstrated consistent and significant gains compared to all participating Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) school districts in the nation. From 2003-2013, APS students posted the highest growth in Grade 4 reading and Grade 8 math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.  Students demonstrated the second highest growth in Grade 4 math. APS students also tied with Los Angeles for the highest growth in Grade 8 reading. The results of the 2013 tests released today also show steady improvement between 2011 and 2013.

Since 2003, APS fourth-grade reading scores increased 18 points, the highest of all TUDA districts. Student performance grew from 37 percent testing at or above basic to 57 percent, which represents a 20 percentage point increase. APS eighth-grade students gained 15 points on the reading test over the 10-year period, which tied APS with one other district for the highest of all TUDA districts.  Student performance grew from 31 percent testing at or above basic to 54 percent, which shows a 23 percentage point increase.

In mathematics, APS eighth-grade students gained 23 points on the NAEP tests since 2003, the highest of all TUDA districts.  APS went from 30 percent of students testing at or above basic in 2003 to 54 percent in 2013, a 24 percentage point increase.  APS fourth-grade students gained 17 points in mathematics for the same period, the second highest of all TUDA districts. In 2003, 50 percent of fourth-grade math students tested at or above basic. This number escalated to 73 percent in 2013, which represented an increase of 22 percentage point. Additionally, 42 percent of APS eighth-grade students tested at or above basic in reading in 2002.  This number increased to 63 percent, which shows a 21 percentage point increase.

APS Superintendent Erroll Davis attributed the steady increase in NAEP scores to the district’s consistent focus on instructional and organizational improvements.  “What you see over this 10-year period is a commitment to advancing students consistently and with fidelity,” said Davis.  “The district has invested heavily in the area of standards-based learning, which includes, most recently, the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).  School leaders embraced professional learning communities for teachers and administrators while also providing quality professional development in all subject areas,” Davis added. “Coupled with the recent announcement of an 8 percentage point increase in our graduation rate and 2.5 percentage point decrease in the district’s dropout rate, our future looks bright.”


NAEP, also referenced as the Nation’s Report Card, is a uniform assessment of student performance administered across the nation by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).  It is also the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history, and beginning in 2014, in technology and engineering literacy (TEL).


Atlanta Public Schools is one of 21 urban school districts that voluntarily participates in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) and has its NAEP results individually reported.  Other school systems take the NAEP, but their scores are included in their state’s overall NAEP results.

Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 103 learning sites. APS is organized into nine K-12 clusters and two citywide single-gender academies, and 13 charter schools, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. APS is renewing its commitment to stakeholders through excellence, equity, ethics and engagement. For more information visit www.atlantapublicschools.us

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  1. Because this assessment is nationally-normed and strictly monitored, what can our critics say? The focus on the cheating scandal has been over-sensationalized by the media and has obscured the valuable work of dedicated and expert employees who are focused only on building the college and/or career potiential of our students

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