By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/7/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
According to the "nation's report card," while many high school seniors intend to don their caps and gowns shortly to walk across the stage for their diplomas, many lack basic skills in reading and math. So much so, that they are unprepared for college and work.
Caps may fly -- and graduates may try -- but recent assessments find many entering the workplace after high school are highly unprepared.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The National Assessment of Educational Progress measured the reading and math skills of 92,000 high school seniors in 2013. The reading skills of those 12th-graders have remained unchanged since the last time the test was given in 2009. Even more important, they're lower than those of students in 1992.
When it comes to math, the results are also similarly disappointing. While scores were slightly better than in 2005, they too have been stagnant since 2009.
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David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees testing policy, finds these figures unacceptable.
"Achievement at this very critical point in a student's life must be improved to ensure success after high school," Driscoll said.
While high school graduation rates have reached an all-time high, Education Secretary Arne Duncan found the news troubling.
"We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as a nation, we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students," he said.
Achievement in the test is broken down into three levels: basic, proficient and advanced. "Basic" indicates partial mastery of the subject, "proficient" is grade-level performance, and "advanced" indicates superior work.
Seventy-four percent of students scored below the grade-appropriate level in math, compared with 26 percent of students who scored at or above grade level. Asian students and students whose parents went to college achieved the best math scores. Math scores for African-American students were the worst.
As for reading, just 38 percent of seniors scored at or above grade level and one-quarter of high school seniors are reading below grade level.
These figures surprisingly extended to the highest-performing students.
Test results also showed that the achievement gap between white students and their black and Hispanic counterparts remained stubbornly wide, despite more than a decade of federal efforts to close it.
Average math scores for black students have gone up since 2005, but the black-white gap in math has not narrowed. It remains a 30-point divide. Reading scores for black students did not improve at all. That gap widened by five points.
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