The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) released two new reports this week. The first, a 138-page report from NCES's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), presents long-term trends in the performance of nine-, thirteen-, and seventeen-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science. The NAEP has administered assessments in these three areas since the early seventies (1969 for seventeen-year-olds in science), and this report summarizes the findings, including overall national trends, trends analyzed by student subgroup (e.g., ethnicity, gender, parents's level of education), and data on experiences at school and home that may have an impact on achievement (e.g., classroom equipment, television watching). Generally speaking, the NAEP reports that math and science performance declined in the 1970s but increased during the 1980s and early 1990s, remaining mostly stable since then. Students made modest gains in reading, and improved most clearly across the assessment years in mathematics.


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