Math and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States have gone down compared to 2017, according to numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
“Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest performing students are doing worse,” said NCES associate commissioner Peggy Carr.
The finding is based on data collected as part of the organization’s 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. NAEP is a congressionally-mandated project that looks at representatives samples of students from every state in the nation, from Washington, D.C., and from select large urban school districts.
This year’s study was administered to 600,000 students enrolled in public and Catholic schools. It found that a decline in reading scores compared to 2017 occurred in 17 states for fourth graders and in 31 states for eighth graders. The average drop was one point for fourth grade and three points for eighth grade.
“A 3-point decline for the country is substantial in as much as 31 states are driving it, large states, small states — and it's a very meaningful decline,” Carr said.
This decline was seen at all levels of achievement, meaning it was seen among students classified as high-achieving and low-achieving. The only exception was in the top-achieving group of fourth graders.
“Over the long term in reading, the lowest performing students — those readers who struggle the most — have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago,” Carr noted.
In math, fourth graders had a one-point increase while eighth graders had a one-point decrease compared to their peers in 2017.
Carr explained that, broken down, the data revealed differences between students of different performance and family income levels.
For example, the overall score decline for fourth graders was largely due to a decrease in the scores of lower-performing students in three of the four grade-subject combinations.
“The distributions are pulling apart, with the bottom dropping faster,” Carr said. “It's not clear what's happening here, but it is clear and it's consistent.”
(Continue Reading at thenewamerican.com)