A Report Card on America’s Children
Schools will be releasing final grades for students soon. But how would you grade your schools? Student test scores from the federal government let us judge school performance nationwide – and the verdict is “needs improvement.”
Only one-third of American fourth graders are reading proficiently, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. That test, administered every two years by the federal government, shows similar underachievement in math.
These already dispiriting numbers hide even worse disparities by race and income. It’s bad enough that only 42 percent of white fourth-graders read proficiently, but the fact that only 16 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students are at that level is a catastrophe. And while we imagine education to be the great equalizer of class differences in America, the test scores show reading proficiency of only 18 percent among students from low-income families.
Yet most state governments aren’t doing enough for early education – if they’re even acknowledging the problem. While the federal test scores clearly show we’re underperforming in core skills, state assessments often show the opposite, publishing scores that show most students are doing just fine. In a Voices for America’s Children analysis of federal and state test scores, more than one-fourth of state assessments indicated that 80 percent or more students were proficient readers.
Learn more in Voices for America's Children's issue brief The Nation’s Report Card on Fourth Grade Reading 2011 vs. States’ Reports Show Inverse outcomes achievement; Gaps by Race and Income Persist Throughout the Country in the link below, along with various other briefs on fourth grade statistics and state-by-state data.
This summary and infographic were published by Voices for America's Children. They are reprinted here with permission.