THE ANNOUNCEMENT of historic achievement levels by D.C. public school students on annual math and reading tests was accompanied by reams of numbers, bar charts and graphs. But the best encapsulation of the accomplishment was the fist-pump-punctuated “Yes!” from D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D). It was a reaffirmation of the reform of public education launched in 2007, a rebuke to the naysayers who want us to believe reform has failed and a warning to those who would interfere with policies that are clearly gaining traction.
Data from the 2013 D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System released Tuesday had good news for students in both the traditional school system and in public charter schools.
D.C. Public Schools students improved their proficiency in math and reading by 3.6 percentage points and 3.9 percent percentage points respectively over the previous year, bringing proficiency rates (49.5 percent for math and 47.4 percent for reading) to the highest level in memory. All subgroups — black, Hispanic, white, special education and others — improved in math and most improved in reading; students in every ward and students in every grade improved their performance over 2012, and rates of advanced proficiency were up while rates for below proficiency were down in both subjects.