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Hispanic Students Make Strides in Mathematics, Report Finds

Hispanic Students Makes Strides in Mathematics, Report Finds

A report released this week finds that Hispanic students are making strides when it comes to their progression in mathematics throughout the last decade.

These results also highlight Hispanic public schools in major cities including Boston, Charlotte, Houston and the District saying they have made some of the most consistent progress, according to an article on WashingtonPost.com.

“With Hispanic students accounting for nearly one in four of U.S. children and rapidly growing, their math achievement in school today foreshadows our national scores tomorrow,” said Natalia Pane, author of the report and senior vice president of research operations at Child Trends. “This is important because we know that students who are successful in mathematics are more likely to graduate from high school, enter college, and have better-paying jobs in the future.”

The Child Trends Hispanic Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center, the article said, “analyzed 10 years of data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, that U.S. students have taken every two years since the early 1990s. Also known as the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP is the country’s most consistent measure of K-12 progress.”

“Between 2003 and 2013, when the most recent NAEP tests were given, the average math scores for Hispanic students in U.S. public schools rose nine points in fourth grade and 13 points in eighth grade,” said The Washington Post. “NAEP is graded on a scale of 1 to 500; the gains realized by Hispanic students are roughly equivalent to one grade level.”

Hispanics attending public schools in major cities, the article said, “posted similar gains, with 10-point and 13-point increases in grades four and eight, respectively.”

"The states where Hispanic students made the biggest gains in fourth-grade math include Indiana, Hawaii, North Carolina and Florida, the article said. "In eighth grade, that group includes New Jersey, Texas and Maryland. States where Hispanics made the fewest gains include Utah, California, Connecticut, Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island and Nebraska.The vast majority of the nation’s Hispanic children in 2013 — more than 90 percent — were born in the United States. Most of those children had family connections to Mexico, and the rest were connected to Puerto Rico, followed by El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and other countries in Central America and South America."

“It’s really interesting what’s going on in the large cities,” Pane said. “Our large cities were able to keep pace when they’ve got such higher proportions of students coming from low-income families.”

The study, the article said, "did not examine the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students, which has been narrowing but still remains significant." The study didn't address factors regarding the climb of Hispanic test scores, but "offered a few theories."

According to Pane, the article said, "compared with a decade ago, many urban school districts in recent years are 'focused on using data more, increasing instructional time, reducing suspensions, developing programs to target English language acquisition.'"

"The recent transition by many school districts to the Common Core, national K-12 standards for math and reading, and professional training for teachers might also be having an effect," she said. “They’ve got maybe more rigorous standards and better teacher training."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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