Math and reading skills among students across the United States have improved negligibly since 2016, such is the gist of the National Assessment of Educational Progress recently made public by the Department of Education. The report, which was conducted by means of nationwide testing in 2017, indicates that only one third of students in the eighth grade can be considered to be at a proficient level in reading comprehension and mathematics.
For students to be considered fully proficient at their grade level, they must show what the Department of Education describes as solid academic performance. The exams administered for this national assessment were designed to test the analytical skills of American students in relation to real-world situations.
At the fourth grade level, students fared better. A little over 40 percent of fourth graders scored proficiently; however, this was hardly the case with students at the 12th grade level since only 25 percent of them were found to be proficient in math. Just before graduating from high school, 37 percent of American students are proficient in reading comprehension, a skill that is paramount in the modern workplace.
In terms of science knowledge, the test scores of both fourth and eighth graders showed less than 40 percent proficiency.
Betsy DeVos, the controversial Secretary of Education appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, stated that “America’s Report Card” shows a clear need for improvement across all grades in terms of reading and math skills, which have stagnated over the last few years. DeVos has been heavily criticized for apparent incompetence in handling her position.
When compared to other developed nations such as Germany, Japan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the U.S. is falling behind the educational curve. Even students in small Asian territories such as Macao tend to score substantially higher than their American counterparts, especially in standardized testing of math and science skills.