Just under half (43%) of 3rd graders passed the state’s reading test in 2015, but only 30% of low-income students, 23% of black, and 26% of Hispanic students passed. Passing rates for white and Asian students were 45% and 52%, respectively. These disparities are not unique to our area: Throughout the nation, low-income students and students in urban districts do not perform at the level of more affluent students in suburban districts. Educational research has established that family income and mother's level of education are two of the strongest factors associated with student performance.
On middle level tests (5th grades), our region’s passing rates were slightly higher than the state in reading and lower in math. In 2015, 51% of students in the region passed the 5th grade reading exam, compared to 50% of students statewide. In 2015, 63% of students passed the 5th grade math exam, below the 66% statewide mark, but up from 38% in 2010.
Spending per student by districts in our region has increased 4% since 2005, after adjusting for inflation. In 2015, school districts spent about $9,200 per student, slightly below the state rate of $9,400.
In 2015, 90% of high school students graduated in our region, above the 88% statewide rate. Graduation rates for low-income students increased in many of the region’s school districts between 2011 and 2015.
Most school districts in the region had an average ACT score between 18 and 20, out of the highest possible score of 36. Average scores in the region were similar to the state average of 19. Since 2005, average scores declined between 1 and 2 percentage points in all school districts.
In 2012, 62% of high school graduates attended college in the fall semester after graduation, up 2 points since 2006. College participation was slightly lower statewide at 59% and increased 1 point over the same time period.