Reading Outcomes and Equity in Virginia

Sam Powers and Michele Claibourn

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“Education, then, beyond all other divides of human origin, is a great equalizer of conditions of men—the balance wheel of the social machinery.”

- Horace Mann

This Horace Mann quote encapsulates the ideal role of public education in the United States. However, the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole fall well short of this ideal. We use Virginia Department of Education data on the state's English Standards of Learning assessment to visually illuminate the significant gaps in reading proficiency rates in the Commonwealth -- between Black students as compared to their White peers, between economically disadvantaged students as compared to their more fortunate classmates, and between Hispanic students as compared to their non-Hispanic peers. Research shows that lack of reading proficiency has a long-lasting impact on future educational attainment, future earnings, and more. We seek to make this data easier to use for explorative purposes, as a call to action, and hopefully, as a manner by which localities can track progress in eliminating these gaps, and working towards the goal of reading proficiency for ALL students.

We provide multiple ways of viewing the data. Click to explore further.