NAEP Test Results Show Achievement Gap Between General and Special Education Students Persists

We Are No Closer to Closing the Achievement Gap for Students with Disabilities

The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, were released last week with disappointing results across the board. 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores for students in nearly every demographic category have remained stagnant since the last time the test was administered in 2013, with only minor increases and decreases in scores for a few groups.

NAEP Student Scores in Reading and Math Drop With a Widening Gap Between General and special Education Students

The Advocacy Institute

And while stagnancy may be better than seeing significant drops in scores, it also means that massive achievement gaps between white and minority and general and special education students in this country persist.

Reading scores indicated a gap of more than 40 percent between general and special education students. Only 33 percent of 4th graders and 37 percent of 8th graders with disabilities performed at or above basic, compared with 74 and 81 percent of 4th and 8th grade general education students, respectively.

Scores in math follow a similar pattern, with students with disabilities fairing worse in the upper grades. 4th grade math scores revealed 54 percent of students with disabilities performing at basic or above compared with 85 percent of general education students, while only 32 percent of 8th graders with disabilities performed basic or above on math, compared with 76 percent of general education students.

And while more students with disabilities took the test this year compared with 2013, the plateauing scores reveal not only a persistent and massive achievement gap between general and special education students, but that we are no closer to closing the gap than we were two years ago.

To read more about the results, visit the NAEP’s website.

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