Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

NAEP Scores for 17-Year-Olds Flat Since 1970s

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 28, 2009 1 min read

The long-term trend data for the National Assessment of Educational Progress was released today and the news is not good for students in high school. Average scores have remained flat for 17-year-olds both in reading and math since the early 1970s, when the assessments were first given. The scores for 17-year-olds in reading, however, did increase by three points, to 286, from 2004 to 2008, which is considered significant. But the same was not true for 17-year-olds in math. The scores remained stagnant for that age group in math during that same period.

Written statements are starting to flow into my e-mail inbox in response to the NAEP data.

Update: A statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan doesn’t mention the stagnant scores among 17-year-olds at all. Here’s what he says:

We’re pleased to see some recent progress among all age groups in reading and among younger age groups in math. We’re also pleased to see achievement gaps shrinking in reading, but we still have a lot more work to do. Our focus on raising standards, increasing academic rigor and improving teacher quality are all steps in the right direction.

Here’s an excerpt from a statement by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House and Education Labor Committee:

In light of the staggeringly high dropout rate and growing threats to our nation’s competitiveness, closing the achievement gap and building world-class schools for all students must be a top priority. Overall, this report is further proof that we must do better. While it’s good news that younger students are making meaningful gains in reading and math, it’s deeply troubling that many high school students are not.

A statement from Andrew J. Coulson, the director of the the Cato Institute Center for Educational Freedom, is more strongly worded. I post an excerpt here:

The latest NAEP results reveal a productivity collapse unparalleled in any other sector of the economy. At the end of high school, students perform no better today than they did nearly 40 years ago, and yet we spend more than twice as much per pupil in real, inflation-adjusted terms. I can’t think of any other service that has gotten worse during my lifetime.

Update: Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner for the assessment division of the National Center for Education Statistics, is answering questions about the long-term trend results today at a “statchat.” The chat starts at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Questions can be submitted beforehand.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read