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CEO calls NAEP a benchmark for recovery

After making notable progress, CMSD saw its scores decline on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress. But CEO Eric Gordon says the District is looking ahead, not behind.

“The scores confirm what we anticipated: The global pandemic had a severe impact on a city with one of the nation’s highest rates of poverty,” CEO Gordon said. “The results will serve as a benchmark or starting point as we continue recovery that is already under way.”

CMSD students took tests for what is popularly called the Nation’s Report Card early this year as the devastating Omicron strain of COVID-19 raged, and Cleveland was the hardest hit area in the nation. The results of the fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math tests were then compared with exams taken in 2019, before the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the District’s NAEP and state tests showed growth that outpaced that of districts throughout Ohio and across the country.

The Council of the Great City Schools commissioned a report, Mirrors or Windows, that highlighted CMSD’s progress on NAEP and called the District a “window of opportunity” for students. The council, the nation’s leading voice for urban education, represents 77 of the country’s largest school systems.

Education Week also picked up on the NAEP success, with a piece titled, “The Fastest-Improving City School Districts Aren’t the Ones You Might Expect.”

CMSD’s new State Report Card, which compares achievement year to year, shows the District has begun to recover. Cleveland ranked first among Ohio’s urban school systems for academic growth and was 12th in the state overall.

The District’s recovery plan includes the CMSD Summer Learning Experience, the addition of instructional time to the day during the school year and extra homework and tutoring help. CMSD also plans to roll out an online tutoring program with live teachers.

“We know we can and will catch up,” CEO Gordon said. “Our surveys show that the community expected a drop in test scores but has confidence that we will recover.”