Academic Achievement: Low-Income/Minority Students

Using NAEP, we compared the percentage of students scoring in the top two achievement levels (proficient and advanced) across states in math and reading in grades 4 and 8 on the spring 2013 administration of the exam for African-American students, Hispanic students, and low-income students.

We used these numbers in two calculations. First, we averaged the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced across tests and subjects to create a single average.

Second, we measured the change in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced from 2005, the data used when we first published Leaders & Laggards, to the 2013 administration of the NAEP test. To do so, we averaged the 2005 scores in the same way we did for 2013 scores and subtracted the resulting score from the 2013 average. We awarded A’s to the top 10, B’s to the next 10, C’s to the next 10, D’s to the next 10, and F’s to the bottom 10. In several instances, a state did not have a large enough African-American or Hispanic population to meet NAEP sampling requirements. In these cases, the grade for that state was based solely on the two remaining populations. In the case of Vermont, the state did not meet sampling requirements for both African-American and Hispanic populations, so Vermont did not receive a grade for this metric.