A new report from the nationally renowned Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute shows the Long Beach Unified School District has improved the most compared to other large, urban districts statewide. The study further shows the district’s improvement ranking fourth nationwide.
The report offers positive news about student achievement in many of the nation’s largest urban school districts. While a number of recent reports have given encouraging accounts of improvement in big-city classrooms, the report states, this new analysis goes further by comparing large urban schools to state averages. The state averages include rural and suburban counterparts.
“Our approach stems from a concern for equity,” said Tom Loveless, senior fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy. “While it is always encouraging to see schools improving on state tests, if more affluent schools are improving even faster, that would raise disquieting questions about whether urban children are receiving an inferior education.”
Results were based on fourth grade reading and eighth grade math scores from state achievement tests in 2000 and 2007.
In 2000, Long Beach students performed significantly below the California state average. But by 2007, Long Beach performed well above the average for all students in the state. The study uses standard deviations to measure progress. In Long Beach’s case, the significant change in standard deviations was approximately equal to students improving from the 19th percentile to the 70th percentile in just seven years.
Established in 1992, the Brown Center on Education Policy conducts research and provides policy recommendations on topics in American education. The Brown Center is part of The Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions.