CMS leads on national assessment

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was the top urban district for fourth-grade reading and math, and eighth-grade math, and was second in eighth-grade reading in the 2019 tests given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP assessments are the only ones given in all states across the country, allowing direct comparison of progress. NAEP is often described as the nation’s report card.

In addition to the NAEP testing in all 50 states, a group of 27 cities participates in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. This allows comparison between participating districts, large cities, states, and national scores. In 2019, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools led all 27 cities with the highest percentage of students at or above proficiency level in fourth-grade reading and fourth- and eighth-grade math. CMS was in second place for eighth-grade reading, after San Diego.

“We are pleased to see our students leading in the NAEP assessments,” said Earnest Winston, superintendent of CMS. “But we are not satisfied. We want to see more than 39 percent of fourth-graders, and 32 percent of eighth-graders, proficient or higher in reading – and we will continue to focus on literacy in the early grades. Our math scores are higher, but we’d like to see them go up as well. The NAEP assessments are an important benchmark for us and other districts across the country.”

In fourth-grade reading, 39 percent of CMS students were at or above the level of proficient in 2019, compared to 36 percent in North Carolina overall, 27 percent in large cities and 34 percent for national public schools.

In eighth-grade reading, 32 percent of CMS students were at or above proficient, compared to 33 percent in North Carolina, 26 percent in the large cities and 32 percent nationally.

In fourth-grade math, 49 percent of CMS students were at or above proficient, compared to 41 percent for North Carolina, 34 percent for large cities and 40 percent nationally. In eighth-grade math, 41 percent of CMS students were at or above proficiency, compared to 37 percent for the state, 27 percent for cities and 33 percent nationally. There were no statistically significant changes in scale scores (that is, increases or decreases) from 2017 to 2019 for CMS or North Carolina.

“Charlotte continued its pre-eminence among major city school districts nationwide” said Mike Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools.

The NAEP assessments were given to a representative sample of fourth- and eighth-graders in the 27 cities. CMS has participated in the Trial Urban District Assessment since 2003 and until Guilford County joined in 2017, was the only North Carolina district to take part.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is overseen by the commissioner of education statistics, who is the leader of the National Center for Education Statistics. An independent National Assessment Governing Board sets policy and develops the testing framework. In 2019, approximately 300,000 fourth-graders and 300,000 eighth-graders took part in the NAEP assessments.