Public school students across the United States posted record scores in math this year but their progress stalled in reading, according to results of nationwide testing released Tuesday.
In math, 40 percent of fourth-graders and 35 percent of eighth-graders scored at a level that was proficient or advanced, higher than at any time since National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) testing began 20 years ago.
In reading, 34 percent of fourth-graders and eighth-graders scored at a level that was proficient or advanced. That performance was unchanged for fourth-graders since the test was last given in 2009 but was slightly better for eighth-graders.
The tests, often referred to as the nation’s report card, also showed minimal progress in narrowing the achievement gap between white students and their black and Latino counterparts, despite nearly 10 years of federal law designed to close that margin.
“The modest increases in NAEP scores are reason for concern as much as optimism,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “While student achievement is up since 2009 in both grades in mathematics and in eighth-grade reading, it’s clear that achievement is not accelerating fast enough for our nation’s children to compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century.”