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National report card shows little to no progress

MARIA DANILOVA | 4/23/2018, 5:47 p.m.
The results of the latest nation’s report card are in and the news isn’t good, especially for Black students.
The Nations Report Card shows Texas students in the fourth grade scored the same as the national average in all areas, while eight-graders scored 28 percent – slightly less than the national average. Moreover, the report showed almost no improvement, especially for Black students. National Assessment of Educational Progress

WASHINGTON (AP) – The results of the latest nation’s report card are in and the news isn’t good, especially for Black students.

Fourth-graders made no improvements in math or reading, while eighth-graders’ scores were flat in math and only slightly improved in reading, according to results released Tuesday on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Overall, only roughly a third of American eighth-graders are proficient in reading and math along with about 40 percent of fourth-graders.

Texas students in the fourth grade scored the same as the national average in all areas, while eight-graders scored 28 percent – slightly less than the national average.

The figures are in line with recent trends. Students made big gains in the 1990s and early 2000s, but there have been no major improvements since then.

The results show that racial disparities persist. African American students were out-performed by their white peers at both grade levels.

“There is still much work to be done to close achievement gaps and ensure that our young people are ready for success in college, careers and life,” said Carissa Miller, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “It is clear we as a country must do better by all of our students, especially our lowest-performing kids.”

In eighth grade, the average reading score was 267 out of 500, 1 point higher than in 2015, and 7 points higher than when the reading test was first administered in 1992. For math, the average score was 282, similar to two years before.

In Texas, the average math score for fourth-grade students was 241, down one point from students tested 10 years ago. Eight grade students scored 282, four points lower than those taken in 2007. In reading – considered the foundation of education – the average score for fourth-grade students was 215, five points lower than those tested 10 years ago. Eight grade students scored 260, down one point from 2007.

Science and writing was not scored. Also, high school seniors were not tested for 2017. However, 2015 testing showed the achievement gap continuing to widen in reading between Black and White students.

Peggy Carr, associate commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics, said the increase for eighth-grade reading was due to improvement among higher-performing students. Lower-performing students had similar results in 2017 as in 2015.

However, for fourth-graders, low-performing students did worse in math and reading, while higher-performing students saw no change.

The results were the first since the test was changed from paper to computer-based.

States that saw improvements in eighth-grade reading included California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Washington. Meanwhile, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, among others, saw lower results for fourth-grade math.

Texas ranked No. 46 nationally in fourth grade reading and No. 42 for eight-graders. In math, fourth-graders ranked No. 27 and eighth graders ranked No. 16 nationally.

The NAEP project is conducted by the Commissioner of Education Statistics, who heads the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. The National Assessment Governing Board, appointed by the Secretary of Education but independent of the Department, sets policy for NAEP and is responsible for developing the framework and test specifications that serve as the blueprint for the assessments, according to the NCES.

Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.