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NAEP's Trial Urban District Assessment Adds Six School Districts

By guest blogger Denisa R. Superville. Cross-posted from District Dossier.

Six urban school districts volunteered to join the National Assessment of Education Progress's Trial Urban District Assessment Program, bringing the number of participating districts in the program to 27, the National Assessment Governing Board announced Tuesday.

The districts are: Clark County, Nev.; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Guilford County, N.C.; Milwaukee, and Shelby County, Tenn., which includes the city of Memphis.

The districts will be included in the program next year. TUDA, which started in 2000, is a special part of the NAEP, also known as the nation's report card. TUDA collects and reports on 4th and 8th grade student performance in math and reading on the NAEP in select urban school districts. 

"We now have an ever-greater geographic representation in TUDA, with four more states included," said Terry Mazany, the chairman of the governing board. "This will provide the nation with an objective picture of the achievement spanning the diversity of our nation's students, recognizing that the majority of students in our nation's schools is now composed of minority populations."

Although the vote to add the new districts took place on Saturday, the expansion was announced on Tuesday, the same day that leaders from some urban school districts gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington to discuss how they use NAEP data to improve instruction. They also shared strategies behind improvements in districts like Chicago, Boston, Miami-Dade, Cleveland, and the District of Columbia.

On Tuesday, NAEP also released tools to allow users to dig deeper into the 2015 assessment data, including ways to compare student performance in TUDA districts with their states' performance and examine achievement gaps over time. 

TUDA, which started at the urging of Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, launched with five school districts.

Casserly said Tuesday that the districts wanted to demonstrate that they were fully committed to the highest academic standards for urban children, compare results with districts facing similar challenges, and gauge the progress and evaluate reforms underway in those districts in ways that could not be done under the 50-state assessment.

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