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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

A 'lost generation' of learning: Scores fall, gaps widen for 13-year-olds

America's 13-year-olds are moving backwards educationally, according to a new report on long term trends by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), writes Kevin Mahnken on The 74.

"The average 13-year-old’s understanding of math plummeting back to levels last seen in the 1990s; struggling readers scored lower than they did in 1971, when the test was first administered," he writes. The academic slump started in 2012 and got worse in the pandemic. Low achievers lost the most, especially in math. "Since 2012, students scoring at the 25th and 10th percentiles have tumbled by a truly stunning margin: 19 and 27 points, respectively," writes Mahnken. Racial and ethnic gaps also widened: Blacks and Hispanics, already behind, lost more than whites. (Asian Americans are way ahead of everyone else.) A survey on literacy had more bad news: 31 percent of the 13-year-olds “never or hardly ever” read for fun, up from 22 percent in 2012. Only 14 percent read on their own time “almost every day,” down from 27 percent in 2012.

Fewer students are taking pre-algebra or algebra, in part due to "equity" policies to delay access to advanced math.

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