Math and reading test scores for the country’s 13-year-olds have dropped sharply in comparison to numbers from 2012, with some of the lowest-scoring test-takers falling the furthest behind.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that while 2020 average scores in reading and mathematics for 13-year-olds marked an improvement from the NAEP’s earliest results in the 1970s, scores had declined since 2012.

U.S. News and World Report reported that this was the first major score drop in the subjects since the NAEP began tracking long-term academic achievement trends in the 1970s. Perhaps even more troubling was the study’s finding that some of the most significant drops were from students in the lowest-performing percentiles.


In math, for example, scores dropped for 9-year-olds in the 10th and 25th percentiles, and scores fell for 13-year-olds in the 10th, 25th, and 50th percentiles. “None of these results are impressive,” Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner in the assessment division of the National Center for Education Statistics, said according to U.S. News and World Report.

“All of these results are concerning, but the math results were particularly daunting, particularly for 13 year-olds,” she added. “I asked them to go back and check because I wanted to make sure [the results were accurate]. I’ve been reporting these results for years — for decades — and I’ve never reported a slide like that.” READ MORE

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