by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Academic performance continues to disappoint:
The average reading score for the nation’s twelfth-graders declined between 2015 and 2019 and there was no statistically significant change in twelfth-graders’ average mathematics score for the same time period, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as The Nation’s Report Card—released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
“The decline in twelfth-grade reading scores resembles the declines in fourth- and eighth-graders’ reading scores, where we saw the largest declines among the lowest-performing students,” said Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner of assessment at NCES. “There is an urgent need for research into this phenomenon, which we have now observed in multiple reading assessments, in the NAEP U.S. history assessment, in the NAEP geography assessment, and in some of our international assessments. This pattern of decline concentrated among lower-performing students—across grades and across subjects— is a troubling indication that too many students are falling behind.” (Emphasis added.)