NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Twelfth Grade Test Scores Not Improving

May 14, 2014

American twelfth graders showed zero improvement in federal test scores between 2009 and 2013, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Amidst concerns that the U.S. is failing to churn out college-ready graduates, results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed 38 percent of American twelfth graders scoring as proficient in reading and 26 percent as proficient in math, identical to the NAEP results from 2009.

"Too few students are achieving at a level to make our country competitive at an international level," said Cornelia Orr, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP.  Orr said that schools set such low expectations for high school graduates that students are emerging from high school inadequately prepared for further schooling: "Students get a mixed message -- students have a low bar to graduate from high school but it's not a high enough bar to really pursue a career actively when they leave."

NAEP scores are not the only tests indicating a lack of student improvement. 2013 SAT scores were at the same levels as in 2012. According to the College Board, which administers the SAT, only 43 percent of students were prepared for college-level work.

Source: Caroline Porter, "Federal Test Shows U.S. 12th-Graders Aren't Improving in Reading or Math," Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2014.


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