Although our nation’s worst readers have made some strides, over the past 17 years reading scores have stayed about the same for most students, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress sponsored by the American Institutes Research. The reading test, mandated by Congress, was given to 338,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students last spring. Here are a few highlights from the report:
o The average scores of fourth graders in the bottom 10 percent for reading increased by 16 points from 2000 to 2009.
o In contrast, the average scores of the nation’s best fourth-grade readers, those in the top 10 percent, rose by only 2 points during the same period.
o On average, 33 percent of fourth graders scored at or above the proficient level in the latest reading results.
o Math scores rose 20 points for eighth graders and 27 points for fourth graders from 1990 to 2009; But in the most recent period, from 2007 to 2009, math scores also failed to rise much.
Experts point to two plausible reasons for stagnant scores in reading: In children’s lives, reading time has been replaced with surfing the Internet, texting and watching television. Other experts fault weak curriculum, particularly as students move past elementary school into the upper grade levels, as the culprit to stagnant scores.
If students are to improve in reading ability and comprehension, they first must love to read. LifeBound’s books foster a joy of reading through personal awareness, learning and growth, and our programs are used in summer academies, advisory, and English and Social Studies classes. Each text addresses the developmental issues students encounter at each grade level, 5-12, and includes stories about real students who’ve overcome obstacles that our readers can identify with. For review copies, please contact the LifeBound office by calling toll free 1.877.737.8510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 25, 2010
New York Times
By SAM DILLON
The nation’s schoolchildren have made little or no progress in reading proficiency in recent years, according to results released Wednesday from the largest nationwide reading test. The scores continue a 17-year trend of sluggish achievement in reading that contrasts with substantial gains in mathematics during roughly the same period.
“The nation has done a really good job improving math skills,” said Mark Schneider, a vice president at the American Institutes for Research and a former official at the Education Department, which oversees the test, known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. “In contrast, we have made only marginal improvements in reading.”
Why math scores have improved so much faster than reading scores is much debated; the federal officials who produce the test say it is intended to identify changes in student achievement over time, not to identify causes.
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