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Nation's Report Card Reveals Nationwide Decline in Math Achievement

Nation's Report Card Reveals Nationwide Decline in Math Achievement

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card, has released the average math and reading scores for the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders and has found that while reading scores have remained consistent since last year, math scores have significantly declined.

According to the report, only three states/jurisdictions improved in math while a more promising 13 improved in reading. No state/jurisdiction improved in both subjects.

When specifically looking at math scores, scores for fourth-graders declined in 16 states while remaining constant in 33; only three states improved.

For eighth-graders, 22 states saw a decline in math scores and 30 saw no change at all from last year; no states improved.

According to a statement from NAEP, the "assessment addressed five mathematical content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics and probability; and algebra”

In terms of defining proficient, “[f]ourth-grade students with scores in the Proficient range could likely divide a three-digit whole number by a one-digit whole number. Eighth-graders scoring in the Proficient range could likely translate a verbal statement into an equation”

In order to arrive at its findings, “[t]he results from the 2015 mathematics and reading assessments are based on representative samples of approximately 279,000 fourth-graders and 273,000 eighth-graders,” according to the NAEP’s site. 

Governing Board Vice Chair Lucille E. Davy, former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, warned against making grand assumptions from the decline in math scores.

Since many states and districts have made significant changes to math curriculum over the past two years, she says that it’s important to watch shifts in data over the next couple years to see how these scores are part of a greater trend.

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Read more about the report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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