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Little Change in High School Reading and Math Skills

May 11, 2014
Plain English Version

Reading EnglishThe reading and math skills of high school seniors are tested every four years. The results of the latest test are in. Across the nation there has been no improvement since the tests began.

The test is called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

About 38 percent of the seniors read at an acceptable level called “proficiency.” There has been little change since the reading test began in 1992. Recent results for seniors who are reading at a satisfactory level:

  • 38 percent of all students
  • 47 percent of all Asians
  • 26 percent of all American Indians
  • 16 percent of all blacks
  • 23 percent of all Hispanics

The math test began in 2005.  Recent results for seniors whose mathematics are at a satisfactory level:

  • 26 percent of all students
  • 47 percent of all Asians
  • 12 percent of all American Indians
  • 7 percent of all blacks
  • 12 percent of all Hispanics

More than ten years ago the nation began a huge effort to improve reading and math scores and to lower the gap among groups. The effort does not seem to be paying off.

However, the graduation rates for high school students are higher than they have ever been. About 80 percent of all seniors graduate. Critics point to the number of students who have to take remedial courses upon entering college.

Some people say that NAEP does not work. They point to Common Core State Standards as a better path to follow.

Other experts say the test results only show that many students do not take the test seriously.

Whatever the cause or explanation, American education is adrift.

Source: The Washington Post                                                                                       May 7, 2014

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