Reading and Math Scores Changed Barely At All This Year

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


New NAEP test scores are out for grades 4 and 8. Because the NAEP is such a trusted low-stakes test, you’re going to hear a lot about what these new scores “mean.” Maybe even from me! But here’s the one thing you need to know before you read anyone telling you that these scores prove that standardized tests are good (or bad) or that Arne Duncan is an idiot (or a hero) or that teachers unions are a mess (or a godsend): the change in test scores was tiny.

Over the long term, NAEP scores in both math and reading have increased steadily and substantially. However, they’ve always bounced around by a few points both up and down in every cycle. This isn’t to say that the 2015 scores are meaningless, but you should pay no attention to any sensational declarations from any side in the ed wars. This year’s scores are a downward blip, something we’ve seen before. It will be many years before we know for sure if they’re anything more than that.

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate