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National Assessment of Educational Progress delivers bad news | IN 60 SECONDS


NAEP is called The Nation’s Report Card
because these test scores consistently measure student learning over time. 2019’s results were just released, and warrant three takeaways and a caution. First,
results were grim. Math scores were up a tick in fourth grade, but they dropped in
eighth grade, and both grades dropped in reading. Indeed, eighth grade reading
scores changed more than at any time in that test’s history, and in the wrong
direction. Second, these declines look worse against the backdrop of the past
decade. While NAEP scores mostly climbed from 1990 through 2010, performance
stagnated since, and 2015 saw widespread declines for the first time — until now.
Third, declines were driven by our lowest scoring students, and since high
performing students stayed flat, the gap between them is growing. A caution: After
this lousy report card, expect to see a number of articles offering pet
explanations for the poor showing. Truth is, there are simply too many factors
involved to know exactly why scores declined, but even if they can’t pinpoint
a cause, these results are a sobering reminder of where our students are. Are you more concerned with the declines on NAEP, or on the growing divide between
low- and high-performing students? Let us know in our poll. Also, let us know what
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