Declining NAEP scores demonstrate need to redefine public education via ESSA

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Declines in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores that show widening gaps reflect the failure of the requirements of the old NCLB in improving student learning. These results emphasize the need to redefine public education through the new federal law Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

With the implementation of Ohio's New Learning Standards, it was hoped that scores would improve. However, uneven implementation of the standards coupled with uneven and inconsistent professional development to help teachers enact the standards, proved to be problematic in assuring standards were implemented in a consistently reliable fashion.  

These results should be fuel for the discussion as OFT and its members enter into stakeholder conversations about how to transform public education by using opportunities created under the new federal law ESSA. OFT members need to raise their voices to establish principles in Ohio's plan that support student learning.

What did NAEP show? NAEP scores show that high school seniors have declined in math and are not progressing in reading. According to NAEP results, just one-third of 12th graders are academically ready for college. Scores show the gap is widening between the highest- and lowest-performing students.

Just 25 percent of 12th-graders performed proficiently or better in math. In reading, 37 percent of students were proficient or above. 

The average math score on the test last year was 152, dropping 1 point from 153 in 2013 which was the last administration of the test. Reading scores remained flat  from 2013 and down five points when the test was first administered in 1992. Further illustrating the gap widening is that reading scores increased by two points for the highest-performing students while down six points for the lowest-performing seniors. The math scores showed no difference over two years for the highest group of test-takers, but went down for students at the bottom.

Other findings:

  • The average math score was 152, on a 300-point scale. The average reading score was 287 on a 500-point scale.
  • No significant change was seen from 2013 in the average math score for any racial or ethnic groups. And it was the same for reading, with no real change seen from 2013 for any groups.
  • In math, the average score for English language learners was higher last year, up six points from 2013.

More resources on NAEP.