Students with disabilities in Hillsborough County (Tampa), Fla., did markedly better than the national average of students with disabilities on the 2013 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.”
Hillsborough County and 20 other urban districts have their scores reported separately, as part of the Trial Urban District Assessment, or TUDA. The special analysis of urban district performance started in 2002. Overall, scores on the TUDA were stagnant compared to the last time the tests were administered, in 2011.
Candace Cortiella, the director of the Advocacy Institute, analyzed the results of the TUDA districts on her blog Our Kids Count. As she noted, Hillsborough’s performance was one bright spot in a set of scores that showed most students with disabilities in urban districts are scoring well below the the average of students with disabilities nationwide. And the achievement gaps between students with disabilities and their general education peers remains wide, both in urban districts and nationwide.
In Hillsborough County, 43 percent of students with disabilities scored basic or above in 4th grade reading, compared to 31 percent of students with disabilities nationwide. In 8th grade reading, about 51 percent of students with disabilities scored at the basic level or above; the nationwide percentage was 40 percent.
For 4th grade math, 69 percent of Hillsborough students with disabilities scored basic or above, compared to the national percentage of 56 percent among students with disabilities; in 8th grade math, 44 percent of Hillsborough students with disabilities achieved a basic score or above, compared to a national percentage of 34 percent.
Some districts scored particularly poorly, however, including Cleveland, Detroit, Fresno, Calif., Los Angeles and Milwaukee. In Detroit, for example, 87 percent of students with disabilities scored below basic in 4th grade math and 95 percent scored below basic in 8th grade math. In Cleveland, 96 percent of students with disabilities scored below basic in 4th grade reading, and 88 percent scored below basic in 8th grade reading.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.