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Math, reading scores slip for nation's school kids

Staff writer ▼ | October 29, 2015
Math scores slipped for fourth and eighth graders over the last two years, and reading grades were not much better, flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders, according to the 2015 Nation's Report Card.
Kids in school
Education   National Assessment of Educational Progress
The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP, were released Wednesday.

The report suggests students have a ways to go to demonstrate a solid grasp or mastery of their reading and math skills.

Only about a third of the nation's eighth-graders were at proficient or above in math and reading. Among fourth graders, the results were slightly better in reading and in math, about two in five scored proficient or above.

And the report found a continuing achievement gap between white and black students.

There were a few bright spots. The District of Columbia and Mississippi both saw substantial gains in reading and math.

Among the findings from the exam:

36 percent of fourth graders were at or above the proficient level in reading, about the same as 2013. Only 34 percent of eighth-grade students were proficient or better in reading, a two-point drop. But both measures were sharply higher than 1990 results.

40 percent of fourth-grade students were at or above proficiency in math this year. That's down two points from 2013, and marks the first decline for that measure since 1990. For eighth graders, only 33 percent of students were proficient or better in math, also a two-point decline.

Fourth-grade math scores were higher in the District of Columbia and Mississippi—up three points for each. In 16 states, scores dropped. They were flat in the rest. In eighth-grade math, there were no gains across the states, and 22 states had lower scores than in 2013.

For reading, scores were higher for fourth-graders in 13 states and jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia—up seven points. Mississippi and Louisiana were also higher, both states up six points. At the eighth-grade level, reading improved only in West Virginia, up three points from 2013.

There were no significant changes in the achievement gap for reading between white students and their black and Hispanic peers. But for math, there was a small narrowing in the gap between white fourth graders and their black peers. The average score for white students was 24 points higher, slightly smaller than the 26-point gap in 2013.


 

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