# Nation’s report card: Scores inch up

Reading and math scores inched up for fourth and eighth graders, according to the 2013 “nation’s report card” released today.  However, despite some progress by Latinos, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) showed no narrowing of racial and ethnic achievement gaps, notes the Christian Science Monitor.

Tennessee and the District of Columbia showed the most progress.

Tennessee and D.C. students made gains between 2011 and 2013 in both subjects and both grades. Fourth-graders in both Tennessee and D.C. scored 7 points better in 2013 on math than they did two years earlier, and eighth-graders in both scored 6 points better.

“All eight states that had implemented the state-crafted Common Core State Standards at the time of the 2013 NAEP assessment showed improvement in at least one of the Reading and/or Mathematics assessments from 2009 to 2013—and none of the eight states had a decline in scores,” noted Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement.

Performance remains low,  observed Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform (CER). “After decades of mediocrity, we celebrate today the fact that only 34 percent of our nation’s 8th graders can read at grade level and only 34 percent are proficient in math.

Dropout Nation also sees lots of room for improvement.

You can check out sample questions.  (Adjust for advanced, proficient or basic questions.)

Lisa sold 15 cups of lemonade on Saturday and twice as many on Sunday. Which expression represents the total number of cups of lemonade she sold on both days?

A. 15 + 15
B. 2 * 15
C. 15 + (2 * 15)
D. 2 * (15 + 15

I was an advanced math student in fourth grade. Our group worked from the sixth-grade book. We didn’t get to equations till . . . eighth grade?

Here’s a proficient-level question for eighth graders. We learned this in seventh grade.

A teacher drew this rectangle on a playground. Sam walked around the rectangle on the lines shown. How far did Sam walk?

A. 14 feet
B. 20 feet
C. 28 feet
D. 48 feet

1. lulu says:

We use Singapore math, and this year we’re halfway through the 5th grade book. Both of these are questions that might show up on the end-of-unit cumulative test. If the test actually uses an asterisk for a multiplication sign, my kid wouldn’t recognize it, though.

2. lgm says:

None of these were difficult for my child as a fourth grader. He did Singapore Math at home to overcome the low expectations and fuzzy language at school. He would not know the word “expression” but it would certainly not have stopped him from picking the right one.

I’d be more interested in these statistics if they’d disaggregate the data by English proficiency, mother’s education level, or residence time in U.S.

• Interesting notion:  use the INS and Border Patrol to raise the average school achievement.

3. Rob says:

Hmm… I notice the word “perimeter” is oddly missing from the second problem. Is mathematical vocabulary over in English class these days?