For the first time in nearly 50 years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress results showed that the reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell from 2012 to 2020.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed no change in the scores of 9-year-old students since 2012, according to the assessment, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. Among lower-performing students, scores declined in both the 9 and 13-year-old groups in both reading and mathematics.
“This was the first time in the almost 50-year history of the long-term trend assessments that we observed declines among 13-year-olds,” said National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr in a press release. “These performance drops are especially notable among lower-performing students, who no longer demonstrate competency in skills that students were able to do almost a decade ago in both subjects and age groups.”
Scores among higher-performing students did not change, and there was no significant change in reading scores based on race, ethnicity or gender when compared to 2012, according to the press release. Mathematics scores for 9-year-old girls dipped, while male scores were similar to 2012, creating a score gap between the two genders.
When compared to scores from the 1970s, the 2020 reading and mathematics scores were higher at all performance percentiles with the exception of the reading scores of the lowest-performing 13-year-old students, which were similar to 1971 scores, according to the press release.
There is no clear answer to explain the dip in scores, none of which are “impressive,” Carr told the U.S. News & World Report.
“All of these results are concerning, but the math results were particularly daunting, particularly for 13 year-olds,” she told U.S. News. “I asked them to go back and check because I wanted to make sure [the results were accurate]. I’ve been reporting these results for years – for decades – and I’ve never reported a slide like that.”
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