Fourth and eighth grade students in the U.S. again showed no to little improvement in their average reading and mathematics scores, according to a report released this week, a decrease that correlates with the enactment of the Common Core.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a federally mandated exam given to a representative sample of fourth and eighth graders to assess national and state averages of reading and mathematics skill. According to the latest report released on Wednesday, fourth grade students dropped two points in reading since 2017, the year the test was lasted administered. Eighth grade students dropped four points.
Eighth grade students dropped by one point in mathematics since 2017, although fourth graders went up by one point.
The dips break an upward trend ongoing since the early nineties, when the test was first administered. Between 1990 and 2015, fourth grade students improved 27 points in math and in 6 in reading, while eighth grade students improved by 19 points in math and 5 in reading, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
One of the largest curriculum changes since then, the Common Core, was implemented in 2010 and fully enacted in 2015. Some are pointing to the Common Core as at least one reason U.S. schools have seen a dip in scores.
The Common Core is a set of national instructional and testing directives put into place in 2010 aimed at improving student achievement and preparing them for college. The Obama administration required all schools to have fully implemented Common Core by 2015.
The curriculum has been previously linked to faltering test scores.
“This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a statement. “Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers.”
The college testing organization ACT also released a report this week highlighting the lack of college readiness seen in 2019 high school graduates, who are the first high school class to have completed all four years of high school using the Common Core.
“Compared to last year, slightly higher percentages of students are showing little preparedness for college coursework,” the report said. “Thirty-six percent of 2019 graduates met none of the ACT Benchmarks, compared to 35 percent of students in 2018.”
It also noted that readiness levels in English, reading, math and science have all been decreasing since 2015.
“Every American family needs to open The Nation’s Report Card this year and think about what it means for their child and for our country’s future,” DeVos said. “The results are, frankly, devastating.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]