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Is It Time to Update NAEP?

On the most recent nationwide U.S. math test, known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP, an eighth grader might have been asked a question about stem-and-leaf plots (see the sample question in the graphic on this page or here).

Have no idea what those are? Probably the eighth grader didn’t either. It’s an old-fashioned way to depict data, one that isn’t used much anymore. The Common Core standards, used in more than 40 states, intentionally pared down the list of data representations that students should learn to ones that are commonly used in the real world, such as bar charts and time-series graphs, so that students could spend more time mastering them.