The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test given to American students every two years, showed an increasing disparity in math and science scores between the top-performing and the lowest-performing students.
Released on Tuesday, the 2017 NAEP averages for fourth- and eighth-graders, also known as the Nations Report Card, remained mostly unchanged from 2015 to 2017, with eighth-graders’ reading scores increasing modestly.
The data also show that the bottom 25 percent of students performed more poorly than they did in 2015, while the highest-performing students’ scores increased, according U.S. News & World Report.
“We are seeing troubling gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students,” former Michigan Gov. John Engler, chaimanr of the National Assessment Governing Board, told U.S. News & World Report. “We must do better for all children.”
According to the NAEP, 40 percent or fewer of fourth- and eighth-grade students were considered proficient in math or reading. The 2017 scores show a continuing downward trend that began in 2015, according to The Washington Post.
It’s a trend that some experts find troubling.
“We learned that the decline in scores we saw in 2015 was a real phenomenon, not a temporary blip,” Martin West, a Harvard University education professor, told the Post. “The progress that we’ve had in the first decade of this century has entirely stalled—and in fact we’ve lost a bit of ground.”
The testing also showed disparity among race and class, with white and Asian students outperforming black and Hispanic children, and children from higher-income families outperforming students from lower-income families. Private school students also fared better than public school students in the testing.