The Nation's Report Card: Is the U.S. Failing?

By Donlevy, Jim | International Journal of Instructional Media, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

The Nation's Report Card: Is the U.S. Failing?


Donlevy, Jim, International Journal of Instructional Media


INTRODUCTION

With all the energy directed to raising academic standards and performance levels in schools throughout the United States, one would expect to be seeing a rising trend line. Given the enormous resources being devoted to educational improvement, positive results should be evident. From former President George Bush's educational gathering of the nation's Governors in 1989 and the subsequent Goals 2000 initiative, to the No Child Left Behind Act inaugurated under the current administration, school reform and improvement have received astonishing levels of attention from every quarter. Local, state, national, public and private groups have weighed in on a great variety of educational issues including recommendations for change from academicians, attorneys, business groups, educators, legislators, parent groups, policymakers, politicians, professional organizations, school boards, state departments of education, students, think tanks, ad infinitum. One would think that after all this multi-year blustering, strong academic results would be at hand. But they are not.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is considered to be the nation's report card and has been conducted for more than three decades as part of a Congressional mandate. NAEP assessments are administered periodically in reading, math, science, writing, history, geography, and other subjects. Responsibility for conducting these assessments falls to the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

The most recent NAEP results for assessments of 12th grade reading and math are very sobering. They show that reading and math scores are not rising; in fact, they are declining. This article will review the results and discuss some associated issues and other significant trends.

THE NAEP RESULTS

The NAEP is considered a more reliable indicator of student performance than results on various state examinations, since the state exams vary considerably in levels of difficulty. Simply put, children scoring high on some state exams often score poorly on the NAEP, since the NAEP exams are more demanding.

The most recent NAEP results are for assessments conducted during 2005 in reading and math. A representative sample of more than 21,000 high school seniors from 900 schools throughout the United States participated. Student scores are considered Basic, Proficient or Advanced. According to the NAEP report (see p. 4-5), in reading:

* performance of 12th graders declined when compared to results of students in 1992, although there was no significant change since 2002;

* scores for Black students and White students declined when compared to the results of students in 1992; but there was no significant change in the performance gap;

* female students did better than males by a wider margin than in 1992;

* the largest declines were seen among the lower-performing students at the 10th percentile;

* the percentage of students scoring at or above Basic decreased from 80% in 1992 to 73% in 2005;

* the percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient decreased from 40% to 35%;

* the number of White students in the sample decreased from 74% to 67%; the number of Hispanics increased from 7% to 14%; the number of Black students declined from 15% to 13%.

For 2005, the mathematics assessment was based upon a revised framework that did not permit comparisons with earlier years. In math, the following NAEP results were reported (see p. 14 ff.):

* 61 % of students performed at or above the Basic level;

* 23% of students scored at or above Proficient;

* Asian/Pacific Islander students outperformed all other groups * White students, on average, scored 31 points higher than Black students and 31 points higher than Hispanic students;

* generally, male students outperformed female students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Nation's Report Card: Is the U.S. Failing?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.