Indiana University

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2005

Hoosier students falling through the cracks

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Indiana University report cites alarming achievement gaps among K-12 students

Sept. 19, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- On the surface, Indiana schools can boast progress in a variety of important areas, including graduation rates, SAT and ACT scores and performances on the state's standardized achievement test, ISTEP. A closer look reveals alarming achievement gaps between the state's white and non-white students and between its poorest and wealthier students. Even more troublesome, the gaps get larger the longer these students remain in school.

Researchers at Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy today (Sept. 19) issued a challenge to a broad array of stakeholders to address this problem. While releasing a comprehensive special report about Indiana's achievement gaps, they called on state and local education leaders, legislators, business and industry, labor, clergy, parents and others to take concrete steps to help reduce and eliminate these disparities in academic achievement. Several of the report's recommendations speak specifically to the governor and Indiana's Education Roundtable, which will meet on Sept. 28.

"The good news is that Indiana's K-12 education system effectively serves a majority of our students. The bad news is that a significant number of minority and low income Hoosier students are not succeeding in their classrooms and are falling through the cracks. Addressing this problem must be the state's top education priority," said Terry Spradlin, associate director of CEEP. "While the state builds on its recent academic success and its broad K-12 reform initiatives, our leaders must act immediately in a targeted and cohesive manner to not only meet the federal accountability requirements of No Child Left Behind, but to ensure that another generation of children is not destined to fail."

CEEP's special report, "Is the Achievement Gap in Indiana Narrowing?" offers the most complete picture of Indiana's achievement gap since a state review in 2003. Using a variety of measures, CEEP researchers examined achievement gaps involving students' race/ethnicity, income, English proficiency and special education needs. The report can be viewed at

The key findings of the report include:

CEEP's observations and recommendations include the following:

CEEP promotes and supports rigorous program evaluation and policy research primarily, but not exclusively, for education, human services and non-profit organizations. Its research uses both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. To learn more about CEEP, go to

Terry Spradlin can be reached at 812-855-4438 and

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