RI-CAN key findings of NAEP scores shows reading rates flat, slight decline in math


Providence, R.I.— RI-CAN: The Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now released key findings of Rhode Island’s National Assessment of Educational Progress scores today. Analysis of the data reveal that while some scores remained flat, Rhode Island still has some of the widest achievement gaps in the country for black, Hispanic and low-income students.

Proficiency rates are lower in 2015 than they were in 2013 across most subjects and most subgroups, except in fourth-grade reading. Asian students in particular saw large proficiency gains in fourth-grade math (six percentage points), eighth-grade math (16 percentage points) and eighth grade reading (15 percentage points).

Other key findings include:

  • Hovering around 30 percentage points, proficiency gaps remain high across all grades and subjects for black, Hispanic and low-income students.
  • While many proficiency gaps have narrowed overall, these changes are due to white and non-low-income student proficiency rates dropping farther in relation to other subgroups.
  • White-black and white-Hispanic proficiency gaps in eighth-grade reading are wider than in 2013.
  • The white-Asian proficiency gap shrunk by 11 percentage points in fourth-grade math, with Asian student proficiency rates now only five percentage points behind white student rates (43 percent vs. 48 percent).
  • Across all subjects, overall student proficiency rates are 40% or lower.

“The NAEP results reinforce what we already know: that our students are still performing in the middle when it comes to core subjects. While it’s good to see improvements in fourth grade reading, we still have achievement gaps that are consistently way too high,” said RI-CAN Executive Director Christine Lopes Metcalfe. “Now is the time to completely reimagine education in our state to ensure that all of our students are set up to succeed.”

NAEP is also referred to as the nation’s report card and assesses reading and math for a randomly selected group of fourth and eighth grade students every other year. It is widely accepted to be the gold standard in student proficiency by providing a consistent measure of student achievement across states as they adopt new or varying standards.


Launched in 2010, RI-CAN: The Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now (pronounced rye-can) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for a high-quality education for all Rhode Island kids, regardless of their address. We help create learning environments that best meet every child’s need by focusing our work on starting earlier, expanding choices, aiming higher, cultivating talent and reaching everyone. Learn more at www.ri-can.org.

RI-CAN advocates for the success of every Rhode Island student, from pre-K through college and career. We improve policy to help all students thrive and share promising practices and stories to demonstrate that all kids CAN succeed. 


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