National Test Scores Barely Budge

Published November 25, 2013

Biennial results for the national test known as the Nation’s Report Card show U.S. students made statistically insignificant gains in fourth and eighth grade reading and math in 2013 tests.

The results place 32 percent of U.S. fourth graders at “below basic” in reading—meaning they are functionally illiterate. That is one point less than in 2011, the last time the test was given. Twenty-two percent of eighth graders also scored “below basic” in reading.

“It’s a disgrace and truly incomprehensible that after decades of mediocrity, we celebrate today the fact that only 34 percent of our nation’s eighth graders can read at grade level and only 34 percent are proficient in math,” said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform.

The states that made the most progress on the test, also called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, were Tennessee and Indiana. Florida led in reducing the racial achievement gap, which also stagnated nationwide. Even so, their gains were not statistically significant compared with many other states (the number varying by grade and subject).

“The stagnant results of NAEP should make us all much more uncomfortable perpetuating excuses,” Kerwin said. 

Image by Jack Amick.