What the 'Nation's Report Card' Means for the Future of Education

Math and reading scores are mostly flat, and the achievement gap persists. What should education advocates do?

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.'"

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