A striking number of high-school seniors aren’t prepared for college maths and reading


The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of “The Nation’s Report Card

in 12th-grade mathematics and reading on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal


And the results showed that only 37% of test takers were prepared for maths and reading in college. That number was down slightly from 39% in maths and 38% in reading in 2013, the last time the test was administered.

Additionally, 25% of students scored at-or-above proficient in maths, and 37% scored at-or-above proficient in reading.

NAEP is administered by the National Center on Education Statistics and the US Department of Education. As the largest nationally administered exam in a number of key subjects — including maths, reading, history, science — it’s a highly informative tool to track to progress of the nation’s students toward increasing proficiency.

“In our era of incredibly volatile state and local testing practices, it is our North Star,” Andrew Ho, a member of NAEP’s bipartisan governing board, told NPR.

The exam, which was given to more than 30,000 public and private high-school students across the nation, is often hailed as a strong indicator of student achievement levels.

But the dismal 37% metric seems to be at odds with the nationwide high-school graduation rate, which was 82% in 2015.

While its impossible to definitively say what’s driving that discrepancy, Ho offered two possible explanations. The “more charitable view” was that high-school graduation requirements take into consideration much more than just maths and reading.

But, acknowledging that more may be at play with the large gap between graduation rates and college readiness as measured by NAEP, Ho presented another option.

“If you get right down to it, the reading and maths required by NAEP, the ACT, the SAT, colleges and careers is much greater than what high schools are saying is sufficient,” Ho said.

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