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Detroit schools score lowest in nation for reading, mathematics

Detroit students score lower than 26 other urban districts

Students at Detroit Public Schools Community District. (WDIV)
Students at Detroit Public Schools Community District. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) scored the lowest in the nation compared to 26 other urban districts for reading and mathematics at the fourth and eighth-grade levels. 

That's according to 2017 testing results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The Detroit schools also are one of four districts that had score decreases since 2015 for both grade 4 and grade 8 students. 

Detroit students scored substantially lower than the national average in mathematics and reading: 

  • In 2017, the average reading score of fourth-grade students in Detroit was 182. This was lower than the average score of 213 for public school students in large cities.
  • In 2017, the average mathematics score of fourth-grade students in Detroit was
    200. This was lower than the average score of 232 for public school students in large cities.
  • In 2017, the average reading score of eighth-grade students in Detroit was 235. This was lower than the average score of 258 for public school students in large cities.
  • In 2017, the average mathematics score of eighth-grade students in Detroit was 246. This was lower than the average score of 274 for public school students in large cities.

Moreover, only 4 percent of Detroit's fourth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Proficient mathematics level. Only 5 percent of those fourth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Proficient reading level.

Only 7 percent of Detroit's eighth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Proficient reading level. Five percent of the city's eighth-graders  performed at or above the NAEP Proficient mathematics level. 

Only Cleveland's eighth-graders scored as bad as Detroit's for reading level. 

View more results from the NAEP here

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has a track record of helping suffering school districts start trending in a better direction. In a 2017 interview, just a couple months after he accepted his new job in Detroit, Vitti said he knows there is no place that needs a public schools turnaround more than Detroit. He knows parents and students will need to be shown the Detroit schools offer quality education for any turnaround to be successful. 

Watch the full interview here: 


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