The U.S. Education Department reports that the high school graduation rate is at an all-time high at 80 percent. Four out of five students are successful in studies completion and graduate within four years. While these statistics sound like a reason for a standing ovation, they are overshadowed by the crisis that is sweeping the United States. While 80 percent of high school seniors receive a diploma, less than half of those are able to proficiently read or complete math problems.
The problem is that students are being passed on to the next grade when they should be held back, and then they are unable to complete grade-level work and keep up with their classmates.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the largest standardized test administered in the United States, reports that fewer than 40 percent of graduating seniors have mastered reading and math and are poorly equipped for college and real world life. These students who are passed to the next grade are at a serious disadvantage and have an increased chance of falling behind and dropping out of college.
Luckily, the problem isn’t going unnoticed. The chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, David Driscoll acknowledges the sobering scores. He points out that it is necessary to determine the performance level of high school seniors, and that the data obtained is useful. It can instill a sense of urgency throughout the U.S. education system to better prepare students for college and the real world.
While this isn’t new news to me, I do feel that this crisis is alarming. I agree with David Driscoll and feel that this data can be used to make improvements in education. All students should be able to proficiently read and do math problems prior to high school graduation.
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The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.