Nation’s Report Card: 12th grade reading and math scores have not improved since 2015

Testing. Photo by Getty Images

In a national sample of students tested in 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — also known as The Nation’s Report Card — shows that average 12th grade math scores have been stagnant for at least five years.

As for reading, scores for 12th graders declined.

The NAEP is a broad, highly-regarded federal analysis that reports the condition of education in America, using a sample of students across the country. The tests are in a variety of academic subjects, from reading and math to civics and science.

It’s not the same as testing taken by students in individual states across the country.

For lower-performing students, particularly, the Nation’s Report Card found that 2019 scores in both math and reading were lower than in 2015.

Randi Weingarten, president of a nationwide teacher union called the American Federation of Teachers, commented on the trends in an October press release.

“What we see in this data snapshot, while disappointing, is not surprising: Our students—particularly in Black, brown and low-income communities—are still bearing the brunt of two decades of austerity, competition and test-based fixation that have failed to prioritize the needs of students, including the 90 percent of kids who attend public schools,” Weingarten said. “Our most vulnerable students are falling further behind across grades and subjects—an indication that they need our help, and more support.”

The most recent results for 12th graders show only about a quarter of students tested were considered proficient or higher in math, and 37 percent were considered proficient or higher in reading.

That doesn’t bode well for students across the country who should be able to meet key math and reading standards so they are prepared for college and work.