Steve Jobs’ legacy? Across the board, scores drop in math and reading for U.S. students

Lauren Camera for U.S. News and World Report:

Math and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States dropped since 2017, and the decrease in reading achievement has government researchers particularly concerned.

The 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress, also called NAEP or the Nation’s Report Card, was administered to more than 600,000 students enrolled in public schools and Catholic schools from every state and Washington, D.C., and also includes a break-out of student achievement in 27 large urban school districts.

Most notable were the score drops in reading, which occurred in 17 states with regard to fourth grade reading scores and in 31 states for eighth grade reading scores. On average, reading scores declined for fourth graders by 1 point and for eighth graders by 3 points compared to 2017.

Students in the U.S. made significant progress in math and reading achievement from 1990 until 2015, when the first major dip in achievement scores occurred. During that time span, fourth grade students improved 27 points in math and 6 points in reading, and eighth grade students improved by 19 points in math and 5 points in reading. Since 2015, however, achievement scores have mostly flat-lined or decreased in both subjects and in both grades.

“Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest performing students are doing worse,” Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said during a press call Tuesday… “The assessment is designed to tell you what, not why,” she added. “Why is something the data cannot tell you.”

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll just leave this here:

The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2019:

Just in the past four years, we’ve seen dramatic shifts in online video viewing, smartphone ownership, and more… This large-scale study explores how kids age 8 to 18 in the U.S. use media across an array of activities and devices—including short-form, mobile-friendly platforms like YouTube — to see where they spend their time and what they enjoy most. Combined with the data from the 2015 report, the 2019 census gives us a clearer view of how young people’s media use has evolved over time.

The 2019 census found that young people are spending significant time on screens every day, with 8- to 12-year-olds now on them for an average of about five hours a day, and teens clocking about seven and a half hours of screen time daily—not including at school or for homework.

The jump in media use is also impacting other parts of young people’s lives. We know from previous research that a majority of teens sleep with their phones within reach, disrupting vital rest. This census shows that nearly a third of teens in this country say they read for pleasure less than once a month, if at all. And access to tech continues to age down, with the number of 8-year-olds with phones growing from 11% in 2015 to 19% today.

Smartphone ownership has grown substantially over the past four years among all ages, increasing from 24% of all 8- to 12-year-olds in 2015 to 41% today, and from 67% to 84% among 13- to 18-year-olds.

Tweens from higher-income homes use an hour and 50 minutes less screen media per day than those from lower-income house- holds (3:59 vs. 5:49, as shown in Figure F). The difference among teens is similar (an hour and 43 minutes a day, from 6:49 among higher-income households to 8:32 among lower-income homes). We can’t say from the data in this report why this disparity occurs, or whether it has any effect on young people, either positive or negative. But we can affirm that this disparity does exist, and is fairly substantial.


        1. The truth that what has changed in that time is that ‘Trump is president, and the education department, which conservatives warn=t shut down, has stopped supporting a lot of programs, and cut budgets across the field.

          You can’t blame liberals for this. It’s directly in Trumps arena.

          1. Gross oversimplification and negligent conclusions of guilty accusations against the president.

            FACT: The U.S.spends over TWICE as much in education than the rest of the G8 nations combined for over 20 years and consistently the U.S. has the lowest test scores. You can’t blame that on a duplicative programs wasting money. Education funding is THE most wasteful expenditure when you consider “return on investment” ROI.

            FACT: Teachers have the highest paychecks in history along with the best benefits package and number of holidays and summer days off work the envy of every worker in every profession.

            FACT: Teachers in the U.S. have the greatest resources, buildings, computers, to name a few envied around the world.

            No, Dd has a point of one party teacher rule dominated by labor unions of the same party at every turn fighting education reforms and defending underperforming teachers for decades.

            They now teach political correctness and could not care less about teaching critical thinking and basic skills. The more students underperform the more teachers pass them on to the next grade and could not care less.

            I would equally blame the teachers and parents over Jobs and the President…

            1. FACT: The U.S.spends over TWICE as much in education than the rest of the G8 nations combined for over 20 years”

              Listed below are the actual figures for annual expenditures per full-time student equivalent in 2015 (typical of the last couple of decades). These came directly from the U.S. Center for Educational Statistics (part of Mr. Trump’s government) in May 2019.


              USA $12,800
              UK $11,400
              Canada $12,791
              Germany $11,100
              Japan $10,200
              France $10,000
              Italy $9100
              (Russia not reporting)

              Total for non-US G7 nations:
              $64,591 (plus Russia for G8)

              Things are pretty dire when a product of the American educational system thinks that $12,800 is over TWICE as much as $64,591.

              If you want a second source, the World Bank ranks the United States behind the UK, France, and Canada in educational expenditures as a percentage of GDP, with Germany almost tied. Japan has comparatively few children and Italy has a lot of parochial schools.


              If you are too lazy to do any research, at least refrain from making things up.

        2. When Dd can’t use facts, he resorts to insults and out-of-context quotes to fill the silence.

          Dd will be sad to know that conservatives don’t actually score higher than liberals on average if you look at College Board data on a state-by-state basis.

          Average SAT scores:

          Minnesota (“blue state”): 1284 — also with the highest avg Math component score, 648
          California (“blue state”): 1065
          New York (“blue state”): 1064

          US average: 1059

          Idaho (“red state”): 993
          Oklahoma (“red state”): 963
          West Virginia (“red state”): 943

          Of course most people with brains realize that local school quality, community engagement, and parenting are big factors and in the purple real world, there are high performing students (and parents and teachers) of all political persuasions. When it comes to mathematics, it’s practically impossible to see why political affiliation would make any difference in understanding the subject matter. But to assholes like Dd, all things are political. I will leave it to him to explain to us all how so many low-tax paradise red-voting states have fallen through the cracks with DRAMATICALLY below average performance while the northern and coastal states that he disparages with every opportunity rank very well on average.

          I fully expect a personal insult from Dd for daring to burst his bubble with facts.

            1. But to assholes like Goeb, all things are political — AND Goeb’s opinionation here is void of reference or fact. In a word: troll.

              Since you have nothing to refute the facts that were presented to you, we will tally your lack of debate as agreement that Dd is completely wrong about mathematical ability of his chosen political nemesis. This round is over.

            2. As lawyers say, “When you have the facts and not the law, pound the facts. When you have the law and not the facts, pound the law. When you don’t have the law or the facts, pound the table.” Those who never have either the law or facts, like you know who, are always pounding the table. It’s sad, really.

            1. Happy to oblige, Dd. 👍🏻

              Sure you figured out the immediate Libtard responses to my post followed Mike blowing the Democrat Dog whistle. I could not care less or give them the time of day spouting FAKE NEWS..

              Relying on FAKE FACTS and FAKE BIASED MEDIA is so obvious and the sad part is they don’t see it and believe unreliable sources.

              Pity the insulting condescending fools…

            2. As Vizzini observed in The Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!” Somebody who posted a “fact” above that was completely made up calls a factual post with cited sources “Fake Facts.” Another illustration that some folks have learned to prefer convenient falsehoods to unwelcome truths, and have lost the ability to tell the difference. C.S. Lewis asked, “Whatever are they teaching them in these schools?” I wonder.

    1. “Students in the U.S. made significant progress in math and reading achievement from 1990 until 2015”

      Yup, that’s the liberals’ doing right there, over two and a half decades.

      “Math and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States dropped since 2017”

      Guess who became president in 2017. It’s no wonder math and reading skills are down, when 1/3 of American voters still support him, meaning they implicitly think education and intelligence is a liberal conspiracy against their Dear Leader.

    2. Conservatives in Texas create school curriculum across the country. They are the ones who have been “destroying our education system step by step for decades”, largely fueled by Christian idiocy.

      1. It doesn’t help when the person who is responsible for public education in America never attended a public school, never sent her children to public school, never worked as a teacher or administrator in even a private school, and has been expressing hostility towards public education for decades.

  1. This is The Republican Legacy. Thank Trump who steals the money from the schools with the Billionaire Nancy De$hitVoss. DO NOT FUCKING BLAME STEVE ABOUT THIS! 🤬🤬🤬🤬

    1. Whether he meant to or not, Steve Jobs created the greatest device ever for consuming mass media, better than the TV because it offers the illusion of choice. Mass media is inherently hostile to cultural traditions, values, and institutions and discourages thinking while encouraging mindless consuming. There’s a reason that people have called TV’s “devil boxes” from the beginning.

      What’s the latest, most heavily promoted product from the company claiming to be at the crossroads of technology and the liberal arts? A new computer for classrooms? A revolutionary assistive device for the disabled? A better way to tap into thousands of years of knowledge stored in books? NO! It’s Apple TV+ ! Turn your brain off and tune in!

      1. And yet the upper 20% continue to move up. And yes they will be using all of the high end programs and devices available and they won’t look back, by the way right now any person under the age of 30 that knows how to use Revit, Navis and Autocad well can get a job at any Fire Protection, Plumbing, HVAC or Electrical company in the US with on the job training included with the pay check and this has been true for last 15 years.

  2. As we’ve become increasingly focused on results and outcomes, so to have we increasingly focused on teaching students what to learn. We’ve forgotten that we need to begin with teaching children how to learn. It’s a very natural, and unfortunate, side effect of making our education system more and more data driven. Teaching students how to learn for the first two years of their education does not generate supposed “data” for those two years. The data comes years later, which is unacceptable to those who look only at the numbers and want them through the whole process.

    1. It’s not difficult. Steve is responsible for the screens. Poor parenting is responsible for the screen addiction. The screen addiction is responsible for math and reading scores declining.

  3. The disparity in tween use between higher and lower income families is obvious. Higher income families are more focused on achievement (and more likely to have tutors and a parent at home to motivate better studying habits) and have more opportunities outside the home in better schools – particularly in sports (both school-related and club teams, and a broader range of offerings in better schools, including hockey, crew, lacrosse, etc.) and other extra-curricular activities (particularly music programs, robotics clubs, etc.). Rich people make rich kids more likely to be rich people.

  4. this isn’t Job’s legacy, it’s Obama’s (coughcommoncorecough). Charter schools don’t help. This is actually a serious issue that we are going to have to confront at some point. iPads, even computers, are not good for education. Google weaseled their way in, and we are beginning to see the results. silicon Valley should probably keep their hands of of this, as with so many other things.

  5. Good Information. Thank you for sharing this excellent research report that Math and reading scores are dropped in USA students. We all know that Previously USA students are made significant progress in math and reading achievement from 1990, but nowadays both scores are dropped for the fourth- and eighth-graders. Anyways, I am a final year student of New York State University who is interested in learning from the online educational platform like this website where I can get many mathematical questions and answers that can help to solve my academic math problems and enhance my mathematical knowledge.

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