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Statistics About Education in America

Our children are not reading at grade level.

Reading proficiency among fourth grade studentsview full-size

The literacy rates among fourth grade students in America are sobering. In a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one out of three students scored "below basic" on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Reading Test. Among these low performing students, 49 percent come from low-income families. Even more alarming is the fact that more than 67 percent of all US fourth graders scored "below proficient," meaning they are not reading at grade level.

Reading proficiency among middle and high school students isn't much better. On the 2009 NAEP Reading Test, about 26 percent of eighth graders and 27 percent of twelfth graders scored below the "basic" level, and only 32 percent of eighth graders and 38 percent of twelfth graders are at or above grade level.

 

Compared to other countries, we fail in math and science.

International math performance statisticsview full-size

In the growing global marketplace, students will need to excel in both math and science to compete internationally as engineers, scientists, physicians, and creative entrepreneurs. Yet, in an assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 15-year-olds in the U.S. placed 25th out of 30 countries in math performance and 21st in science performance.

 

Despite decades of efforts, our test scores are not improving.

In April 2009, Education Week reported that average math and reading scores for 17-year-olds in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests have remained stagnant since the 1970s. And according to The Journal, fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores "have barely budged since 1992," despite policy and investment focused on improving overall student achievement.

 

Want more information...

If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into where your particular state ranks on education laws and policies, check out the State Policy Report Card. We hope this interactive site helps to reveal more about what states are doing to improve the nation’s public education system so that it serves all students well and puts each and every one of them on a path toward success.