Closing the Gap

New Orleans students are closing the achievement gap!

Some of the most persistent achievement gaps in New Orleans – between black and white, the poor and the well-off, those with and without special needs – are shrinking, and at a pace that is much faster than ever before.

  • This year, for the first time since Louisiana began keeping track, African-American students in New Orleans performed better than African-American students statewide.

  • New Orleans’ poor students and students with disabilities are also rapidly closing the performance gap compared to state performance.

According to The Education Trust, a national organization whose mission is to close achievement gaps, “This is really meaningful progress.”

Reversing the Gap:  African-American Students in New Orleans Outperforming Rest of the State

It wasn’t that long ago that New Orleans ranked last in Louisiana (68th out of 68 parishes) for black student performance. Since then, New Orleans has shown significant improvement, with the greatest gains occurring in the last four years.

Percent of Black Students Basic or Above  (Proficiency Goal)
All Grades, All Tests (E, M, S, SS)

These numbers include all African-American students in any OPSB or RSD school (traditional or charter) who took the state standardized tests this spring.

Historic Improvement in the Recovery School District

In the Recovery School District, the percentage of African-American students scoring at grade level (Basic or above) has increased by 25 points since 2007. (The OPSB advanced 19 percentage points since 2007.) That’s a 114% improvement in four years.

Recovery School District
Percent of Black Students Basic or Above  (Proficiency Goal)
All Grades, All Tests (E, M, S, SS)

Students With Disabilities Are Also Closing the Gap

Percent of Special Education Students Basic or Above
All Grades, All Tests (E, M, S, SS)

For more information on closing the achievement gap and public reaction to these remarkable gains, read these articles in The Times-Picayune.

New Orleans Public School Achievement Gap is Narrowing – August 7, 2011
School Reform Milestone in New Orleans: An Editorial – August 11, 2011

To view the original data from the Louisiana Department of Education, download this report:

New Orleans Subgroup Report for 1999-2011 (xls)

For more information on student performance overall, read this May 2011 Analysis from Educate Now!