NAEP: The Nation’s Report Card

UnknownThe National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of the latest test.  According to its website,  “The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.” Tests provide an objective measurement of students’ progress because the organization provides the same test booklets to every school throughout the country; furthermore, the tests are essentially the same with each administration.

Although NAEP does not provide information on individual students or schools, “It can report results by selected large urban districts. (These) results are based on representative samples of students at grades 4, 8, and 12 for the main assessments, or samples of students at ages 9, 13, or 17 years for the long-term trend assessment. These grades and ages were chosen because they represent critical junctures in academic achievement.”

Unlike a school report card, which most often includes grades based on a variety of assessment tools as well as the subjective opinion of teachers, these results are standardized and objective.  NAEP released the results of the 2013 tests on May 7, and the report is discouraging at best, and dismal at worst.  The report is quite comprehensive, so I will confine comments only to one sector.

Most of the country’s high school seniors, set to graduate within weeks, are unprepared for college or the work.  Only 38% of them scored at or above grade level in reading. These scores remain unchanged since the last test in 2009, but are actually lower than 1992 scores. The math scores are even worse: only 26% of 12th. grade students are at or above grade level. These scores are quite troubling, especially since high school graduation rates are at an all-time high. What do these results indicate about the level of instruction?

Will Common Core provide the framework for higher achievement? Will it serve to insert rigor into the curriculum? Time for deliberating is over. We’re facing a national crisis! Our nation will continue to languish with an uneducated and under-educated citizenry.  Parents and educators need to focus on our youth—No more excuses!

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