Today brought the eagerly awaited release of the 2013 NAEP results for 12th grade math and reading, which include scores for the nation as a whole as well as eleven pilot states. (NAEP has not traditionally reported state-level data for 12th grade.) There’s no report visible at this time, but the data can be found on a workable online database. Frankly, the results are depressing. In both math and reading, scores remained unchanged from their dismal 2009 levels. That means a mere 26 percent of students are proficient in math, and a slightly-better-but-still-bleak 38 percent are proficient in reading—two percentage points lower than in 1992. Moreover, those scoring below basic levels in math and reading are 35 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Worse yet, achievement gaps between ethnic groups didn’t narrow. To cheer you up just a bit, however, four of the eleven pilot states saw gains in math scores, and two saw reading gains. Of course, that means the others didn’t. Bottom line: whatever good recent reforms may be doing in the earlier grades, they’re not yet paying off at the end of high school—especially for African American and Latino students. And that, obviously, is just for the kids who even make it to the end.

National Center for Education Statistics, The Nation's Report Card Grade 12: Reading and Mathematics 2012 (Washington, D.C.: National Assessment of Educational Progress, May 2014).

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