DES MOINES, Iowa - More than 300 schools in Iowa are being identified for improvement plans under new report cards released by the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.
ESSA is the replacement for No Child Left Behind.
The program gives each school and district an overall score based on student growth based on several factors, with reading and math making up almost half of the score.
Underperforming schools are identified to get help from the state to improve.
34 Schools are identified as Comprehensive, meaning they are the lowest performing schools in the state.
Another 307 schools have groups of students in the lowest 5% in the state.
Each school will be required to develop a state-approved improvement plan and conduct a resource equity review to make sure low performing schools do not have fewer resources. Doing that will make those schools eligible state support programs and additional federal funding.
Overall, the report identifies large proficiency and growth gaps across the state between white students and minorities as well as for low-income students.
Among black students, only 49% tested proficient in reading and 46% in math compared to 81% and 82% for white students, respectively.
Growth among black students lagged behind as well at 41% for reading and 42% for math compared to 50% and 51% for white students, respectively.
Less dramatic but large gaps also exist between Hispanic, multi-racial, Native American, and Pacific Islander students compared to their white peers. Asian students were the exception, mirroring or, particularly in growth, surpassing white students.
Low-income students also lag behind in Iowa, according to the report at about 64% proficiency for reading and math, below the state average of 77% and 78%. Growth rates among low income students also lagged behind the state average.
Even more extreme is the gap between English Language Learners (students who do not speak English as their primary language) and students with disabilities. Proficiency scores for both groups fell below 40% in both math and reading.