A new report released Thursday shows that students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools outperform students from most other nations in mathematics. The analysis, conducted by the American Institute for Research (AIR), shows that students in only five of the 24 comparison countries did better than CMS students in fourth grade and only nine of the 43 comparison countries did better in eighth grade.
In grade four, CMS students performed better, on average, than their peers in the U.S. as well as England, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Hungary, Cyprus, Republic of Moldova, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Armenia, Norway, Philippines, Islamic Republic of Iran, Tunisia and Morocco.
Only fourth grade math students in Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese-Taipei, Japan and Belgium outperformed CMS students in the analysis, which compares data from two highly respected assessments – the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.
At eighth grade, only math students in Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese-Taipei, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary and Estonia outperformed CMS students. CMS students also outperformed the average for countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Austin Independent School District is the only other public school system in the U.S. with a comparable record, out of the 11 major U.S. metropolitan areas studied.
According to the report, students in Charlotte, Austin, San Diego and New York City performed significantly better than the overall international average of 24 countries at grade four. At grade eight, only students in Charlotte and Austin performed above the international average of the 44 countries studied, including the United States.
The study also compared how school districts and large central cities compared to industrialized countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
CMS fourth graders, along with their peers in Austin and San Diego, performed above the OECD average in this comparison as well. In grade eight, only students in CMS and Austin performed similarly to the average of the 12 OECD countries that participated in the international study.
“At CMS, we set the bar high for our students and it shows,” says Peter C. Gorman, superintendent. “We believe academic rigor combined with a diverse environment offers our students the best training ground possible for leadership in a global workplace and society.”
While the report shows CMS students are globally competitive, the district still has more work to do, according to Gorman. “If we really want our kids to have every opportunity available them, we need to top this list,” says Gorman.
Gorman also noted that the achievement gap tied to poverty and ethnicity is still too wide in CMS as well as in other cities nationwide. “While this report confirms we’re headed in the right direction, it doesn’t mean we have all students performing at high levels, “says Gorman. “We have to keeping raising the bar – and closing the gap – for all students.”