Report: Idaho ‘achievement gaps’ narrower than national average

The “achievement gap” between Idaho schools is much smaller than the national average, according to a White House report issued Monday.

The report — titled “Giving Every Kid a Fair Shot” — focuses on the bottom 5 percent of the states’ schools, and the gaps between these low-performing schools and their counterparts.

Here’s how the 2012-13 national and Idaho numbers stack up:

Math: In the nation’s lowest-performing grade schools and middle schools, only 29 percent of students perform at grade level. Nationally, 65 percent of students are at grade level — which adds up to a gap of 36 percentage points.

In Idaho’s low-performing schools, 61 percent of students still perform at grade level. The statewide average is 83 percent, so the achievement gap comes in at 22 percentage points.

Reading and language arts: In the nation’s lowest-performing schools, 36 percent of students are proficient. The national average is 67 percent; the achievement gap comes in at 31 percentage points.

The Idaho gap, again, is narrower. In low-performing schools, 71 percent of students are proficient. The statewide average of 90 percent comes in 19 percentage points higher.

One piece of the equation remains unavailable, however.

Idaho’s graduation rates were not included in the report — because Idaho did not report 2013 statistics based on the feds’ new method of calculating rates. Idaho was granted a one-year system, in part, because it was the last state in the union to launch a longitudinal student data system.

Nationally, the graduation gap is daunting. In the nation’s lowest-performing high schools, only 40 percent of students graduate. In all other high schools, the 2013 graduation rate was 87 percent.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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