Behind the Headline: U.S. Student Performance Slips on National Test

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U.S. Student Performance Slips on National Test
Washington Post | 10/28/15

Behind the Headline
Over the Long Term, NAEP Scores are Way, Way Up
Education Next blog | 10/26/15

Scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, were released this morning and the results were not good.

Scores for 4th and 8th graders declined in math. In reading, scores for 4th graders were stagnant and scores for 8th graders declined. This is the first time scores have declined since the federal government began administering the tests in 1990, notes Emma Brown in the Washington Post.

She writes

The year’s declines come amid a period of great tumult in American public education.

Recent demographic shifts mean that schools are grappling with the challenge of educating an increasing number of students who come from low-income families and are learning how to speak English. And in recent years, most states have adopted sweeping educational policy changes, including teacher evaluations tied to test scores and Common Core academic standards that have changed what and how students learn in the classroom.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan defended those policies in a call with reporters Tuesday, saying that massive changes in schools often lead to a temporary drop in test scores while teachers and students adjust. But the new standards and other policies, Duncan said, are poised to improve student achievement — and students’ lives — in the long term.

“Big change never happens overnight,” Duncan said. “I’m confident that over the next decade, if we stay committed to this change, we will see historic improvements.”


Earlier this week on the Ed Next blog:

Mike Petrilli noted that scores were rumored to be down and that one possible explanation might be the recession.

Chad Aldeman looked at long-term trends in NAEP scores.

A report by Matt Chingos looked at how state rankings by NAEP scores are affected by the demographics of different states.

—Education Next

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