Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 7, 2013

Nation’s Report Card: Math, reading scores up slightly

WASHINGTON — Sometimes the best isn’t good enough: Most American fourth and eighth graders still lack basic skills in math and science despite record high scores on a national exam.

Yes, today’s students are doing better than those who came before them. But the improvements have come at a snail’s pace.

The 2013 Nation’s Report Card released Thursday finds that the vast majority of the students still are not demonstrating solid academic performance in either math or reading. Stubborn gaps persist between the performances of white children and their Hispanic and African-American counterparts, who scored much lower.

Overall, just 42 percent of fourth-graders and 35 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above the proficient level in math. In reading, 35 percent of fourth- graders and 36 percent of eighth- graders hit that mark.

Still, as state and federal policies evolve in the post-No Child Left Behind era, the nation’s school kids are doing better today on the test than they did in the early 1990s, when such tracking started, with more improvement in math than in reading. Students of all races have shown improvement over the years.

The results come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is given every two years to a sample of fourth- and eighth-graders.

This year’s results, compared to results in 2011, show average incremental gains of about one or two points on a 500-point scale in math and reading in both grades, although the one-point gain in fourth grade reading was not considered statistically significant.

“Every two years, the gains tend to be small, but over the long run, they stack up,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Buckley said he was “heartened” by some of the results, “but there are also some areas where I’d hoped to see improvement where we didn’t.”

Today, President W. Bush’s landmark education law No Child Left Behind, which sought to close achievement gaps among racial groups and have every student doing math and reading at grade level by 2014, has essentially been dismantled.

After Congress failed to update the law before it was due for renewal in 2007, President Barack Obama allowed states to get waivers from it if they showed they have their own plans to prepare students. Most states took him up on the offer.

Meanwhile, a majority of states are rolling out Common Core State Standards with the goal of better preparing the nation’s students for college or a job. The states-led standards establish benchmarks for reading and math and replace goals that varied widely from state.

Academic scholars have long debated what effects the law and other state-led reforms have had on test scores.

This year, Tennessee and the District of Columbia, which have both launched high-profile efforts to strengthen education by improving teacher evaluations and by other measures, showed across-the-board growth on the test compared to 2011, likely stoking more debate. Only the Defense Department schools also saw gains in both grade levels and subjects.

In Hawaii, which has also seen a concentrated effort to improve teaching quality, scores also increased with the exception of fourth grade reading. In Iowa and Washington state, scores increased except in eighth-grade math.

The exam was given this year to about 377,000 fourth graders and 342,000 eighth-graders in public and private schools.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • BOSTON PERSEVERES Solemn tributes mark one-year anniversary of marathon attack

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two offers for former Footer Dye Works site

    Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority officials announced Tuesday that two proposals have been received for the development of the Footer Dye Works building.

    April 15, 2014

  • Legislation strengthens prison guard investigations

    Legislative efforts to improve prison security were overshadowed this year by marijuana and minimum wage bills, but supporters say they will help prevent another high-profile scandal like the Black Guerrilla Family case at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

    April 15, 2014

  • Maryland simplifies rules for domestic violence victims seeking issuance of protective orders

    People seeking protective orders for domestic violence should have an easier time proving the case for issuing an order after Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law that changes the standard of proof used in court.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mineral County students return to class Aug. 14

    The first bell of Mineral County’s 2014-2015 school year will ring on Aug. 14. That’s if the West Virginia Department of Education approves a calendar voted on by school system employees and approved unanimously by the Board of Education on Tuesday night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Talk with Tennant Talk with Tennant

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • PSC investigating five energy suppliers over high bill claims

    Winter electric bills hit many consumers hard, but most complaints to the Maryland Public Service Commission involved so-called variable rate contracts. While the contracts can result in savings, they can also hit consumers hard during times of high electrical demand.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cottontail sale Cottontail sale

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Latest warrant sweep results in 33 arrests

    The Cumberland Police Department’s Safe Streets latest warrant initiative resulted in 33 arrests last week with 36 warrants served.

    April 15, 2014

  • DANIEL RADKO Radko candidate for Mineral County Board of Education

    I am running for the Mineral County Board of Education. My goal is to continue to help students reach their potential. I have lived and worked my adult life in Mineral County as a special education teacher. My wife, Susan, is a community services manager in Mineral and Hampshire counties for the Department of Health and Human Services. We have two children; son Sean teaches social studies at Keyser High School and daughter Dr. Lindsay Knuth is an audiologist in Charlotte, N.C. We have a grandson Aidan who attends Keyser Primary School.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo