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NAEP Long-Term Trends in Reading & Math

The National Assessment of Academic Progress (NAEP) has tracked student performance since the early 1970s. This tracking helps reveal how one demographic group of students is doing compared to another demographic group, and has certainly helped America realize it has an achievement gap.

Data indicates the achievement gap is narrowing between white students and minority students, however studies such as this one from the Council on Foreign relations indicate we are still not doing enough to ensure the success of future generations.

Download or print your PDF copy of 2012 NAEP Long-Term Trends: Math
Download or print your PDF copy of 2012 NAEP Long-Term Trends: Reading

The Sad, Sad SAT Factor: How Long Do We Accept Dismal Scores?

“Does the expanded population of test takers explain the decline in reading and writing scores?”

The simple answer is no, it does not – despite the College Board’s continual insistence to the contrary. What these SAT scores, combined with the equally dismal ACT scores, confirm is that the majority of kids in this country are not ready for college, that more of our students are not being adequately served by their schools, and that a dangerous achievement gap still persists among ethnic groups.

When looking at the total scores of reading, math, and writing combined, white students have made no progress in the last six years, but continue to score higher than their African American and Hispanic peers whose scores have been in a steady decline since 2006. Conversely, the scores of Asian students have been steadily increasing. The average combined score for white students in 2012 (1578) is almost identical to their score in 2006 (1582). African American students’ scores have declined from 1291 in 2006 to 1273 in 2012 and the scores of Hispanic students went from 1371 in 2006 to 1350 in 2012.

We need to ask ourselves, how many more years of dismal test scores are we willing to accept? How many more kids are we willing to sacrifice to a bad education on the altar of the status quo? Because what we have been doing is clearly not working. Student achievement on college entrance exams remains stagnant and we continue to let this failure fester in our education system. Not only are we not preparing our kids for college and careers, but we are jeopardizing their future and the future of their country.

So how do we turn things around? We need reforms that expand educational choices, encourage innovation, and put power in the hands of parents

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How Long Do We Accept Dismal Test Scores

The Sad, Sad SAT Factor
by Fawn Johnson
National Journal
October 1, 2012

The College Board reported last week that 43 percent of college-bound students are academically ready for college. This means that less than half of those who took the test this year are likely to maintain a B- average or higher during their freshman year of college. The figure shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone involved in higher education. In community colleges, it isn’t unusual for three-quarters of the entering students to need some sort of catch-up course. Still, it’s a problem for a country that seems to be in agreement that an increase in college graduates would help grow the economy and shrink the poverty rate.

Let’s look at these numbers a little bit more closely. Math scores have remained stable over the last four years. That in itself is good news, since falling behind in high school math is the surest way to eliminate the most lucrative of college majors–the science, technology, and engineering fields that both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are encouraging. Moreover, educators are well aware that reading and writing is harder to teach and harder to test than math.

Writing scores have declined by four and five points respectively. That’s not good, but it could be worse. And the population of test takers is also expanding, largely in disadvantaged populations. The SAT test takers grew from 1.56 million in 2008 to 1.66 million this year, making 2012 the largest class of test takers in history. The number of test takers who qualify for a fee waiver has increased by 61 percent over four years. Almost half of the test takers this year were minorities (45 percent), up from 38 percent in 2008. The proportion of test takers who came from non-English speaking or

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NAEP Math Scores 2009

Download or print your PDF copy of NAEP Math Scores 2009

Achievement Gap Isn't Just Black And White

NPR’s “School’s Out: America’s Dropout Crisis” focuses on the nation’s dropout problem, recognizing that the crisis has a lifelong impact on far too many people, including our economy and our community, as dropouts earn significantly less than a high school or college graduate and are more likely to commit crimes, live in poverty, and become teen parents.

A recent NAEP study found that a significant gap remains between Hispanic and white achievement levels. Well aware of the dropout and achievement of Hispanic youngsters, the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO) hosted an education summit in Florida to examine how school choice options can help Hispanic students not only stay in school, but achieve at higher levels. By creating coalitions with parents, teachers, schools, faith-based organizations, and corporate America, HCREO has been able to educate, inform, and mobilize Hispanic parents.

Florida’s new education commissioner Gerard Robinson, formerly president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and Secretary of Education in Virginia, advocated in favor of all forms of choice for minority students from low-income families. Wonder what the NAACP thinks about that? The goal is to put the pressure on at a national level, which HCREO hopes to do with its Coalition to Ensure Educational Opportunities for Hispanic Children to Succeed.

Let’s hope they, and NPR, can shake the status quo to do just that.

New SAT Analysis: We’re Dropping Back

“Learning is like rowing upstream – to not advance is to drop back.” – Chinese proverb.

Well, get ready to go backward … again. Analysis of college-bound seniors’ 2011 SAT scores shows that student improvement is going nowhere, and that Hispanic and African-American students continue to face a wide achievement gap.

When you take into account this year’s SAT analysis and recent ACT scores, which reveal that only 25 percent of the 2011 class could meet the benchmarks for college readiness in all four core subjects, it’s no surprise that we’re dropping back.

The United States has slipped from 12th to 16th globally in college education attainment, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

How much more writing needs to be on the wall before we reach a consensus that how we continue to educate our kids is not working?

We’re not adequately preparing our K-12 students for college and therefore we’re falling behind other nations both educationally and economically. It’s time that we all step back, admit it’s not working, and then work to reform our education system to emphasize student achievement.

We, and especially our kids, need a system that puts students first and rallies against the backward trends evident in our education system.

Lack of Math Proficiency Underscores the Need for School Options

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
October 14, 2009

American students are not being properly prepared to succeed in the global workforce and demonstrate slower progress than ever before in math proficiency, according to an evaluation of test scores under the Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) released today.

“It is a national disgrace that America’s children are flat-lining when it comes to math performance,” said Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform (CER). “Year after year, the entrenched bureaucracies that control our nation’s public education system fail to address the math learning crisis in America. It is time for real reform. After all, how can we hope to compete in an increasingly globalized society when a grasp of basic education keystones is literally slipping through our students’ fingers?”

For the first time in the assessment’s history, fourth grade students showed no growth in math proficiency while eighth graders have shown only a slight uptick since 2003. Results also illuminate a continued achievement gap amongst ethnic groups, further showcasing a need for dramatic reform of America’s schools.

“We remain a nation gravely at risk of failure when it comes to educating every child – especially those in need,” says Jeanne Allen. “When nearly 60 percent of our kids are not proficient in math, we must not blink before embracing meaningful reforms like teacher merit pay, stronger charter laws, and higher standards. This is no longer a choice – it is a necessity.”

See also:
NAEP Math Scores 2009: National and State Statistical Highlights
NAEP Math Results Hold Bad News For NCLB, by Mark Schneider, The American Enterprise Institute

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