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:
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.