Less than half of 12th-graders can read or do math proficiently

How can a nation achieve technology breakthroughs when less than half of high school graduates can read or do math? The potential of the nation is being wasted. You mean this is news? Try testing the Senate and Congress.

By Libby Nelson
7 May 2014

The high school graduation rate might be at an all-time high, but less than half of American high school seniors are proficient in reading and math, according to new data released by the Education Department on Wednesday.

There is little good news in the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Just 26 percent of 12th-grade students scored as proficient or better in mathematics in 2013. In reading, 38 percent were proficient or better. And there has been no improvement in 12th-graders' scores since 2009, the last time students took the tests.

A nationally representative sample of fourth graders, eighth graders and twelfth graders periodically take the standardized tests in reading, math and other subjects. The results are sometimes called the "Nation's Report Card."

Scores released in December showed that fourth-grade and eighth-grade students have slowly improved their performance in reading and math, even though less than half of them score as proficient in those subjects. But Wednesday's data show high school seniors haven't even made incremental progress.

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