The 2002 Brown Center Report on American Education, "How Well Are
American Students Learning?," sponsored by the Brookings Institution,
is organized into three separate sections. Here are some highlights
Reading and Math
The percentage of states that reported annual gains in
reading from 1999 to 2001 declined each year in grades 4, 5,
and 10. A few more states reported gains for 2001 in the 8th
grade than in 2000, however.
Since 1990, U.S. students have registered test-score gains
in several math areas, especially problem-solving, geometry,
and data analysis. But computation skills have been flat at
best, and there is some evidence that they have declined.
In grades 4, 5, 8, and 10, fewer states reported gains in
math scores in 2001 than in 2000.
Culture and Athletics
American students encounter two distractions in high school
that other nations minimize: part-time work and sports. A
survey of 562 U.S. and international students who participated
in foreign exchange programs found that more than one- third of
U.S. students work in jobs at least five hours a week, compared
with only 9 percent of their counterparts in other
Academically high-achieving athletic powerhouses are
located in relatively wealthy neighborhoods and serve
predominantly white, non-Hispanic populations.
Urban schools that are deemed athletic powerhouses score no
better or worse than schools that are not powerhouses and serve
Though more research is needed, the authors say, the
charter schools studied for the report scored significantly
below regular public schools on achievement tests.
Urban charter schools exhibit higher achievement than
suburban or rural charters.
Larger charters scored higher than smaller charters;
Charters already existing in 1999 scored higher than
charters opening their doors for the first time that year.