L.A. Unified Students Gain Ground Among Urban School Districts

LOS ANGELES – Fourth-grade students in the Los Angeles Unified School District recorded the highest gain – four points— among 21 urban school systems since 2011, according to data just released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The assessments provide a common measurement of student progress across states and selected urban districts throughout the country. 

Also known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” the test is an ongoing, nationally representative assessment designed to evaluate what American students in grades four and eight know, and can do in a variety of subjects, including reading and science. Congress established the measure in 1969.

Students in grades four, eight, and 12 are assessed every other year in reading and mathematics. Since 2003, L.A. Unified has participated in the Trial Urban District Assessment, which allows for comparisons at the district level. Reading and mathematics scores for fourth and eighth graders are available from 2003 through 2013. 

Among eighth-graders, L.A. Unified ranked third among urban districts since 2011, recording another four-point gain. 

“I’m proud of the performance of our youth,” said Superintendent John Deasy.  “To see such amazing progress the past three years is testament to their commitment, as well as our extraordinary teaching and leadership. The work we’ve been doing in the midst of challenging economic circumstances convincingly demonstrates that poverty is not destiny.”

Other highlights include:
  •  Looking at reading scores since 2003, the District tied for highest gains compared with other urban districts – 15 points.
  • Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and economically disadvantaged students in the District had the highest gains in reading of all urban districts over the past 10 years. 
  • African-American and white fourth-grade students in L.A. Unified scored the highest gains in mathematics for their age group when compared to the other districts surveyed.  
  • Compared to 2003, mathematics scores in the District increased by 13 points, higher than the national average. 
Speaking about the District’s results specifically, Michael Casserly, executive director, the Council of the Great City Schools, said:

“These new results on the nation’s toughest test demonstrate that the school system has made some of the largest and most important academic gains with its students of any major city school district in the country.

“It is a tribute to the district’s leadership, staff, teachers, and students. The improvements are a sign of a school system on the move.” 


Contact: Tom Waldman - (213) 241-6766