The latest data from the National Assessment of Education Progress, the biennial standardized test known as "The Nation’s Report Card," show that the achievement gap persists. Although student scores have improved across the board since the test was created in 1990—particularly in math—white students still score significantly higher than their black and Hispanic peers. And despite all of the education reform efforts aimed at improving test scores, overall student gains in reading and math are up only slightly since 2009.
Fourth grade reading scores stayed steady since 2009, while math marks increased 1 percent. Similarly, eighth graders scored about 1 percent higher in both reading and math compared to 2009. The results led Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss to quip, "Someone should be printing up a T-shirt about now that says: ‘My nation spent billions on testing and all I got was a 1-point gain.'"
When it comes to history, are you smarter than a fourth grader? The just-released results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress U.S. History 2010 Report Card show that of 30,000 students tested in 2010, only 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders, and 12 percent of seniors are proficient in American history. Federal officials celebrated a slight increase in scores for eighth graders since 2006, and scores for all grade levels are higher than they were in 1994, but only 2 percent of 12th graders correctly answered a question about Brown v. Board of Education, and only 9 percent of fourth graders could identify a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and give two reasons why he's important.