Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Ignoring Poverty’s Effect on Urban Science Scores?

December 12, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

“Urban Students Fold Under Basic Science” (Nov. 29, 2006) reports that 10 urban districts were low scorers in science on a 2005 version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and suggests that national standards and teacher incentives may be possible solutions.

Urban districts also tend to be high-poverty districts; this fact was noted in the NAEP report, but not in your article. The relationship between poverty and test performance is probably the most firmly established result in educational research. NAEP science scores are no exception.

“The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2005 Trial Urban District Assessment of Grades 4 and 8,” the National Center for Education Statistics study cited, shows this. For 4th graders nationwide, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch averaged a score of 135, while those not eligible averaged 162. Results were similar for 8th graders. That’s a huge difference.

Statistical analyses contained in the report, in fact, led its authors to conclude that the “gaps in overall scores may be related, in part, to the greater percentages of low-performing, low-income students in the [urban] districts.” When low-income children in the 10 districts were compared with low-income children in the rest of the nation, differences in science scores were clearly reduced or were even nonexistent.

This suggests that rather than being so concerned with uniform standards, we should make dealing with poverty and providing more resources for schools in high-poverty areas higher priorities.

Stephen Krashen

Professor Emeritus

Rossier School of Education

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2006 edition of Education Week as Ignoring Poverty’s Effect On Urban Science Scores?

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read