MATH AND READING SCORES for fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States dropped since 2017, and the decrease in reading achievement has government researchers particularly concerned.
“Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest performing students are doing worse,” Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said during a press call Tuesday.
The 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress, also called NAEP or the Nation’s Report Card, was administered to more than 600,000 students enrolled in public schools and Catholic schools from every state and Washington, D.C., and also includes a break-out of student achievement in 27 large urban school districts.
Most notable were the score drops in reading, which occurred in 17 states with regard to fourth grade reading scores and in 31 states for eighth grade reading scores. On average, reading scores declined for fourth graders by 1 point and for eighth graders by 3 points compared to 2017.
“A 3-point decline for the country is substantial in as much as 31 states are driving it, large states, small states – and it’s a very meaningful decline,” Carr said.
The declines in reading at both grades were also seen at all levels of achievement, whether students were high- or low-achieving, with the exception of the highest achieving fourth graders.
“Over the long term in reading, the lowest performing students – those readers who struggle the most – have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago,” she said.