Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Nation’s Report Card’ Shows Little Progress in Reading

Last week brought the release of  the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results -- also known as the nation’s report card. The data measuring the performance of the country’s fourth and eighth-grade students showed some progress in math scores, but little improvement in reading scores.

In math, 2011 fourth-grade scores showed a one-point increase from the 2009 numbers and a 28-point increase from 1990. In reading, however, fourth-grade scores showed no increase since 2009, and rose only four points since 1992.

About one-third of students in reading and eighth-grade math and 40 percent of students in fourth-grade math were considered proficient.

The news was also mixed for minority groups. Although scores in math rose from 2009 to 2011 for Latino  students, the achievement gap was only narrowed among eighth-grade students.

In reading, scores for Latino students showed improvement in eighth grade from 2009 to 2011, but showed no significant gains among fourth-graders. The achievement gap in eighth-grade reading scores was also narrowed.

The report also includes other revealing findings:

  • The percent of students taking basic math classes was higher among black, Latino, and American Indian students.
  • The national average for all students was 220 in fourth-grade reading and 264 in eight-grade reading, compared to an average of 205 for Latino fourth-graders and 251 for Latino eighth-graders.
  • In math, the national average for all fourth-graders was 240 and for all eighth-graders was 283 , compared to an average of 229 for Latino fourth-graders and 269 for Latino eighth-graders.
  • Latino students in Montana scored the highest in eighth grade math in 2011, with an average score of 285. Latino eighth-graders in Alabama scored the lowest in math, with an average score of 255.
  • Maryland Latinos scored the highest in fourth grade math, with a 245 average; while Oregon scored the lowest in that group, with an average of 220.
  • In reading, Maryland had the highest state score among Latino fourth-graders with an average of 226; while Oregon ranked lowest with an average of 196. Among Latino eighth-graders, Kentucky scored the highest with a 264 average; the District of Columbia was at the bottom with an average of 239.
  • Fifty-four percent of Asian students said they were more likely to say they read almost every day, compared to 46 percent or less of other groups.