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NAEP results confirm progress where CMSD reforms have focused



Tuesday's release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress confirms the advances that CMSD has already seen under The Cleveland Plan and supports the District’s choice of a course for further improvement. 

CMSD’s scores largely remained flat in the 2017 NAEP, popularly known as the Nation’s Report Card, but so did those of other large urban districts that voluntarily make their results public. 

“What we see for our District was not unexpected,” CEO Eric Gordon said. "Areas where we have focused our reforms continue to show progress, and we have already turned our attention to those that remain.” 

NAEP measures achievement in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math. 

CMSD maintained gains achieved in fourth-grade reading when the last NAEP was released two years ago, growth that ranked among the strongest in the nation. And this time the District saw growth in eighth-grade math. 

Gordon said the results support a trend also evident in CMSD’s last state report card: The District has made progress in early and high school grades, and, therefore, needs to bear down on the grades in the middle. 

"This reflects the interventions in place for K-3 literacy and the effectiveness of our new 6th- to 8th-grade math curriculum," Gordon said. "Our rising graduation rate is an indication that what we are doing in our high schools is also working." 

CMSD recently shifted its focus on redesigning high schools to one that focuses on K-8 redesign, starting with 13 existing schools. In addition, William Rainey Harper, opening this fall in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, will adopt an inquiry-based learning model, one of several being added this year. 

Six years into The Cleveland Plan, a blueprint for education reform in the city, the District will focus on K-5 math and grade 6-8 literacy this year, Gordon said. 

"The Cleveland Plan began with a redesign of the system itself,” he said. “That means changing how we hire, pay, evaluate and support staff, how to fund schools, increase their autonomy and hold them accountable for their results.” 

Urban districts that participate in in the National Assessment of Educational Progress are provided a common metric by which to assess their individual progress and their progress compared with select urban districts. 

While the scores that participating districts registered as a group remain flat, CMSD has raised its scores to levels that are comparable with places like Baltimore, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, which began their reform strategies earlier than CMSD.