Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 7 News List

US students show scant progress in math and reading


The results of the US’ latest Nation’s Report Card are in and the news is not good.

Fourth-graders made no improvements in math or reading, while eighth-graders were flat in math and only slightly improved in reading, results released yesterday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed.

Overall, only about one-third of US eighth-graders are proficient in reading and math, along with about 40 percent of fourth-graders.

The figures are in line with recent trends. Students made big gains in the 1990s and early 2000s, but there have been no major improvements since then.

The results also showed that racial disparities persist. African-American students were outperformed by their white peers at both grade levels.

“There is still much work to be done to close achievement gaps and ensure that our young people are ready for success in college, careers and life,” Council of Chief State School Officers executive director Carissa Miller said. “It is clear we as a country must do better by all of our students, especially our lowest-performing kids.”

In the eighth grade, the average reading score was 267 out of 500, 1 point higher than in 2015, but 7 points higher than when the reading test was first administered in 1992.

For math, the average score was 283, similar to two years earlier.

US National Center for Education Statistics associate commissioner Peggy Carr said the increase for eighth-grade reading was due to improvement among higher-performing students.

Lower-performing students had similar results last year as in 2015.

The picture was different for fourth-graders. Low-performing students did worse in math and reading, while higher-performing students stayed at the same level.

The results were the first since the test was changed from paper to computer-based.

States that saw improvements in eighth-grade reading included California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Washington.

Meanwhile, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana and others saw lower results for fourth-grade math.

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