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U.S. DOE Releases the ‘Nation’s Report Card Results for 12th Graders’

Grade 12 Reading Score Declines, Mathematics Score Unchanged on The Nation’s Report Card;
Scores decline for lower-performing students in both subjects since 2015

The average reading score for the nation’s twelfth-graders declined between 2015 and 2019 and there was no statistically significant change in twelfth-graders’ average mathematics score for the same time period, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as The Nation’s Report Card—released last week by the
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

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In comparison to 1992, reading scores in 2019 improved only for the highest-performing students—those at the 90th percentile. The score for twelfth-graders performing at the 75th percentile in 2019 was not measurably different from 1992. However, scores for lower- and middle-performing students (10th, 25th, and 50th percentiles) declined compared to 1992, with the largest decrease (20 points) seen among the lowest-performing students (10th percentile).

Though there was no statistically significant change in the overall average mathematics score since 2015, scores declined for lower-performing students (10th and 25th percentiles). Scores for students at the 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles were not measurably different compared to 2015. Compared to 2005, the earliest comparable point for mathematics scores at grade 12, there was no measurable difference in the overall score for twelfth-graders or in the scores for students at the 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles.

Scores for the highest-performing students (90th percentile) improved by 2 points compared to 2005. Read the full press release on the report here.

Read The Nation’s Report Card here.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released the following statement on the new reading and mathematics results for 12th grade students on The Nation’s Report Card:

“America is the greatest country on the face of the earth, and we should deliver our rising generation the greatest educational opportunities possible. Sadly, today’s results confirm America’s schools continue to fall far short, and continue to fail too many kids, especially the most disadvantaged. Being a high school graduate should mean something. But when 40% of these graduates are ‘below basic’ in math, and 30% are ‘below basic’ in reading, it’s hard to argue the education system is preparing them for what comes next.

“It’s particularly troubling to see the results for our lowest performing and most disadvantaged students getting worse. Education funding flows most heavily to these students’ schools, but these data make clear money to schools alone will not fix the problem. It’s a problem of approach.

“This Report Card should light a fire under America’s education leaders to pivot and try something new to avert another lost generation. Legislators of both parties should stop making excuses and start working with their governors and the White House right now to pass meaningful reforms that empower students and parents to take control of their education and their future.

“We must start to act like our national security hinges on fixing this, because it does. We must start to act like our economic growth hinges on fixing this, because it does. We must start to act like our very future hinges on solving this now, because it unquestionably does.”

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