Pennsylvania students excel on Nation's Report Card

Posted on Monday, 11/11/2013 5:53 PM

Every two years since the early 1990s, American students have taken the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the Nation's Report Card as it is also known, according to The Washington Post. Based on fourth- and eighth-graders' 2013 scores, students have made progress in the areas of reading and mathematics since 2011. This was especially true of Pennsylvania pupils.

Signs of improvement
Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the improvements in students' average scores were small, but welcome. In reading, fourth-graders managed to go from a score of 221 in 2011 to 222 in 2013. Eighth-graders' scores jumped from 265 to 268 during the same time frame.

Meanwhile, fourth-graders' mathematics scores climbed from an average of 241 in 2011 to 242 in 2013. Eight-graders raised their scores from an average of 284 in 2011 to 285 in 2013.

From U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's perspective, what people are seeing is not so much "transformational change" as it is "modest progress," he said as quoted by the news source.

"Where we're seeing huge progress is where people have taken on really tough work … whether investing more in childhood education, adopting higher standards or having a laserlike focus on teacher effectiveness," Duncan said.

Progress in Pennsylvania
Scores from the Nation's Report Card revealed signs of long-term academic progress among students in the Keystone State. Tim Eller, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, told The Associated Press that the scores show that teachers, parents and students are committed to "high-quality educational programs in schools across the state."

Based on students' scores, fourth- and eighth-graders in Pennsylvania are performing slightly better than the national average in the area's of reading and mathematics. While this is excellent news for the state, a closer look at the results reveal that there is major room for improvement.

For example, just 42 percent of Pennsylvania eighth-graders scored at or above the proficient level in mathematics this year. The same was true of 44 percent of fourth-graders. Still, this was an improvement over 36 percent of fourth-graders who were considered at or above proficient in the subject in 2003.

Ultimately, educators in Pennsylvania and other states need to identify ways of raising students' academic performance, whether that means embracing new classroom resources, such as student software, or completely rethinking their approach to instruction.


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