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More Iowa Students Proficient in Math and Reading

August 9, 2006

(DES MOINES, IOWA) - August 9, 2006 - A higher percentage of Iowa students across the board are testing proficient in both reading and mathematics, according to 2004-06 Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Iowa Tests of Educational Development test scores released today by the Iowa Department of Education.

"We are encouraged to see widespread growth among all groups of students," said Judy Jeffrey, director of the department. "This is a real compliment to educators statewide who have made very focused and targeted efforts to improve achievement in reading and mathematics."

Fourth grade students continued their consistent gains in both reading and math. In reading, 78.4 percent of students tested proficient. In mathematics 80.1 percent of the students were proficient. All groups of 4th grade students except American Indians showed higher rates of proficiency when compared to 2003-05 results.

Eighth grade students also continued their consistent gains in both reading and mathematics. In reading, 71.4 percent of students tested proficient, and in math, 74.8 percent of students were proficient. All 8th grade subgroups showed higher rates of proficiency compared to 2003-05.

Eleventh grade students performance is about the same overall as in the prior time period for both reading and math. The percent of students proficient in reading was 76.8 percent, and 78.5 percent in mathematics. The percent of students proficient in reading was essentially unchanged for African American students, up slightly for White students, and up for all other ethnicity subgroups. For mathematics, performance was unchanged or up for all subgroups except American Indian, which was down slightly.

Jeffrey said state and district initiatives to improve high school curriculum and provide support for teachers and students should help improve 11th grade proficiency rates overall, and specifically for students who are struggling.

"Several of the proficiency rates are still too low, and that remains a concern, particularly regarding high schoolers," Jeffrey said. "We are working with districts to implement math and literacy supports for students who are struggling. We'll continue to expand and monitor those programs with the goal to continue increase proficiency rates and narrow achievement gaps."

Download the following document for achievement charts and trends.

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