American high school seniors showed no improvement in their math and reading abilities in four years, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often known as the nation’s "report card."
Adding to the discouraging news, achievement gaps between demographic groups have not lessened. And while the 12th-grade math scores are at least slightly higher than they were in 2005 (the earliest scores available for math, due to changes in the test), the reading scores are actually lower than they were in 1992, when the reading score trend line begins.
The news is not all that surprising: While scores have been (mostly) inching up for younger students over the past few decades, gains for high-schoolers – and even for eighth-graders – have been much more elusive.
“Despite the highest high school graduation rate in our history, and despite growth in student achievement over time in elementary school and middle school, student achievement at the high school level has been flat in recent years. Just as troubling, achievement gaps among ethnic groups have not narrowed,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement, responding to the NAEP scores.