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June 08, 2011
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October 02, 2009
One of the great unanswered questions in American education policy is why the major gains we’ve seen on the Nation’s Report Card in the fourth and eighth grades evaporate once students reach the twelfth grade. The 2013 results, released yesterday, demonstrated this phenomenon yet again.
As with all NAEP results, nobody really knows why the scores are up, down, or flat. But when it comes to explaining the lack of meaningful progress at the high school level, here are the leading guesses:
Those stabs at an answer all serve to explain away our flat scores. But there’s also the possibility that we’re seeing evidence of significant educational problems—namely, the following:
Let me be clear (lest I am accused of mis-NAEP-ery): I don’t know which, if any, of these explanations are on target. Graduate students: This is an area ripe for study. And Arne Duncan: If you want to do something constructive with your remaining eighteen months in office, how about empaneling a commission of smart people to try to figure this out? Such a fundamental aspect of our educational system—stagnation at the high school level—should not remain a mystery forever.