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Colorado’s achievement gap in reading one of the largest in the nation

The gap in reading ability between Colorado’s low-income and affluent students is the seventh largest in the nation and growing, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report looks at fourth grade proficiency in reading nationwide, based on this year’s National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), released last November.

“Ensuring that all children, regardless of family income or location, can read by fourth grade is a focus that we need to maintain,” said said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

There was a 34 percentage point gap in numbers of students reading proficiently between Colorado’s high and low-income students. Just 21 percent of low-income students score proficient on the national reading exam.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • In Colorado, 59 percent of students tested were not reading proficiently. Nationally, that number was 66 percent.
  • Among low-income Colorado students, 79 percent were not proficient readers compared with 45 percent among their more affluent peers.
  • Colorado’s overall rate of fourth grade proficiency improved somewhat, growing six percent in the past decade. Other states like Maryland grew as much as 19 percent. Nearby New Mexico grew just two points.
  • The gap between low-income and high-income students in Colorado is growing. In the past decade, it has grown 31 percent.

For more details, read the full report here.

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