New results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), or Nation’s Report Card, show a slowing or drop of both fourth-grade and eighth-grade students scores for 2015. This is the first recorded decline in scores since the assessment started being administered in 1990.
The new results — on a scale of 0 to 500 — show two-point losses in eighth-grade math and reading and a one-point drop in fourth-grade math. Fourth-grade reading scores were statistically unchanged. National results show that 64 percent of fourth-graders and 66 percent of eighth-graders are not considered proficient in reading. In math, 60 percent of fourth-graders and 67 percent of eighth-graders are not considered proficient.
According to Washington Post reporter Emma Brown, “The tests again show large achievement gaps between the nation’s white and minority students as well as between poor and affluent children, an indication that the nation’s disadvantaged students are not gaining ground despite more than a decade of federal law designed to boost their achievement.”
NAEP is the only nation-wide assessment given in reading and math on a regular basis, so these scores serve as a gauge of national progress.
The report card results are being used to compare states on score levels, but these comparisons typically do not take into consideration impact of the amount of students who are non-native English speakers, race and socio-economic statuses, and the region of the schools (urban, suburban, or rural).
The real question becomes, is this a trend or is it just an anomaly? There is still more research needed in order to fully understand the results.
For a detailed analysis of results, see U.S. student Performance Slips on National Test