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A Nation Still At Risk? Results From The Latest NAEP

 

Read CER’s Statement on the 2019 Nation’s Report Card.

Presented here are past and present reflections on that path breaking report, along with critical analysis of the past administrations of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and trends of improvement, pockets of persistent stagnation and CER’s assessments and recommendations for the innovation needed to drive real change. Stay tuned for more analysis on the 2019 winners and losers on what is called the “Nation’s Report Card”.

NAEP & A NATION AT RISK

Nation at Risk – The Imperative for Educational Reform

A ‘Nation at Risk’ issued in 1983 was a national call to action. In 1983, the report declared that “the educational foundations of our society are being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

In the wake of the report, states scrambled to respond. They changed curriculum, adopted standards, lowered class size, increased salaries and funding, provided modest choices for parents not satisfied with their local public school…(over time they’d provide more); states did just about everything they thought would solve the problems. 

But how did that go? In 1998, a group of education reform leaders led by CER and former Education Secretary William J. Bennett, assembled to review 15 years of progress of the pathbreaking report that once declared US education to be “a rising tide

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Education Advocates React to Newly Released NAEP Scores

by Heather Kays
The Heartland Institute
April 29, 2015

The latest 8th grade U.S. history, civics, and geography results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released Wednesday, April 29, showed no significant change from the last assessment in 2010.

For 2014, the NAEP scores show only 18 percent of students scored proficient in U.S. history, 23 percent in civics, and 27 percent in geography.

Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom describes the NAEP scores released today as “bleak.”

“The scores weren’t particularly surprising,” said McCluskey. “We’ve known for quite some time that American students have pretty poor historical, geographical, and civic knowledge, and nothing has happened since 2010 that should have radically changed that. Indeed, the focus on mathematics and reading, to the possible detriment of history and civics, may have been amplified a bit with the move to Common Core standards, though since the advent of NCLB math and reading have been essentially the first and last words in school ‘success.’”

School Choice as a Solution

Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform says parents need additional educational options for their children if scores such as these are ever to improve.

“It’s appalling that not even 30 percent of our nation’s 8th graders are proficient in subjects like civics and history that are so fundamental to our nation’s founding and democracy,” said Kerwin. “If we don’t act now and take bold steps to empower parents and accelerate the pace at which they have access to opportunities that dramatically change their children’s learning outcomes, we will not be able to move our nation forward.”

Underachievement in the Middle Class

Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute Lance Izumi, says the unimpressive NAEP scores are an indication many parents believe their

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Dieting Lessons and Common Core

CER President Jeanne Allen’s full response to a thoughtful piece by Michael McShane titled Dispatches from a nervous Common Core observer (part 3 of 10): Can’t anything be called ‘Common Core Aligned?’ is found below. Please see AEI’s blog for original commentary.

I’m still back on the diet analogy Mike. To me, reading your analysis and the other commentary since Monday, it’s sounding a little bit more like the Atkins diet, and you know what happened to him right? (He allegedly died of a heart attack, after doing what I’m doing right now at my desk as I type — eating only protein!)

Here’s the skinny, so to speak. The Atkins diet is apparently the worst thing you can do to yourself, according to traditional nutritionists who want us to eat major portions of grain and carb-rich veggies every day. They have attacked the Atkins followers, like me, through Doctors, and health plans, and in their pushing of nutra-this or that in a bottle, can or in an IV. They say if we follow this one approach to dieting we will lack valuable nutrients, increase our cholesterol and unhelpful fats and probably risk the fate of the diet’s author. Meanwhile, millions of us who follow the Atkins diet in whole or in part do very well in keeping our fats down and our tummies tucked.

Sadly, the same orthodox view we see toward dieting by traditionalists is the attitude I’m seeing from my friends and colleagues toward those who are challenging the conventional wisdom on Common Core State Standards. I’m not sure I know the answer, but what I am confident of is that many reformers and leaders are all too quick to dismiss as heresy, radicalism, libertarianism or stupidity anyone who questions Common Core.

So I welcome your delving deep

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NAEP: More of the Same

Nation’s Report Card study reveals mega-states lagging national average despite modest gains

Less than 40 percent of our nation’s 4th and 8th graders are proficient in math and reading. A closer look at the 2011 results of the five states with the largest public school student populations reveals these mega-states generally do not perform better than the nation’s average, but there have been modest achievement gains.

The National Assessment of Education Progress http://nationsreportcard.gov/megastates/(NAEP) Mega-States report showcases student results in California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas. Collectively, these mega-states represent 40 percent of the nation’s public school students. This report analyzed math and reading scores from 1992 until 2011 and science scores over the last two tests. Four out of the five mega-states had scores higher than the U.S. average in at least one grade level and one subject. Only California performed worse than the nation’s average across the board.

Some states have had greater score gains since 1992 on the math and reading tests, but there’s still a long way to go in terms student comprehension and achievement. Florida showed the most gains in reading for 4th and 8th graders, with average score increases of 16 and eight, respectively, and tied for most gain on 4th grade math. Only Texas in 8th grade math had higher gains over time than Florida.

“This in-depth analysis of The Nation’s Report Card demonstrates the need for bold and aggressive change,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. “Complacency and mediocrity over the past two decades has starved our nation’s students of their basic rights to knowledge. It is time to accelerate the pace of reform. Our children and economic future depend on it.”

NAEP Science Results Nothing to Write Home About

The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science results show gains compared to 2009, but the scores are still “no cause for optimism.” Just thirty-two percent of eighth graders scored at or above proficient, a 2 percent increase from 2009. That means 68% of our nation’s eighth graders lack a basic understanding of physical, life, Earth, and space sciences.

“This performance won’t get us where we need to go to create the science-literate workforce we need,” Gerry Wheeler, interim executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, tells the Wall Street Journal.

This certainly doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that saw the 2011 NAEP math and reading scores.

The same message from Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, regarding reading and math results holds true for these science scores.

“Our nation’s students can’t afford for us to sit idly by while another year passes with relatively no improvements. The Nation’s Report Card demonstrates the status quo does not work. We must overhaul our educational system. We need revolutionary change, if we want to break free from the failing trends of the past and truly celebrate student achievement.”

“The longer we wait – the longer we let achievement flatline – the further we’ll find ourselves at the bottom of the list of powerful, even worth mentioning, economies.” Certainly something presidential hopefuls should be paying attention to, and talking about, during their campaigns.

NAEP Math Scores 2009

Download or print your PDF copy of NAEP Math Scores 2009

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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