Falling, Falling…..

In case you missed the recent report about American students’ math and reading scores, the news is not good. The National Assessment of Education Progress is a report card on the nation’s learning trends and it shows that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors scored below the basic level on the math test and more than 25 percent failed to meet the basic reading test.

It’s troubling to find in the report that reading scores were lower now than in 1992; the math scores cannot be readily compared with previous tests because the composition of the test was changes and updated to reflect current curriculum. One thing that jumped out at me is that the highest math scores in the country are in the Midwest. Maybe all those students in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois know that their future in manufacturing, one of the dominant sectors in the region, is tied to being skilled in math and science.

While the report showed that high school students’ grades are rising and they are taking more difficult courses, it’s not showing up on the tests. The report didn’t have a definitive answer for this poor performance. It’s not comforting to see these numbers and realize that these are the leaders of tomorrow’s business, finance,education, arts and government. We need an educational system that prepares youth for a highly competitive world but we don’t seem to have the formula for it. Hopefully this report will galvanize attention on these key benchmarks.

For a link to the report, click on the report above.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Richard Becker says:

    Results of the NAEP report does not surprise me, in the least. As a high school Industrial Education teacher ’66-’72, I expected it to happen due to changing concepts of education at the time. The education system that made U.S. business and industry prior to the mid ’60s, became the current schooling system that passes for education.

    As a result, I began my education reform efforts on a part time basis when I quit teaching in 72 and returned to industry, and it became full time when I retired in ’97 as an Autocad drafter.

    Instead of the traditional industrial arts “shop” classes to placate the malconents and non academically inclined students, I had the audacity to expect students to read, write and use math as academic skills the administration declared as not necessary for students “working with their hands in manual vocational skills”.

    My objective was the introduction of students to potential career options and academics required for success in a post-secondary program of their choice. I knew at the time that in the near future would come the CNC era, which came on the scene in 1977. American manufacturing was “obsolete smokestack industry” in the ’80s due to lack of an educated and skilled direct labor workforce. RHB