Results from the 2017 edition of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released today. Known as the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP serves as an every-other-year audit on national education outcomes and as a check against state test results. The 2017 4th and 8th grade math and reading scores show Arizona largely sustained the big gains from 2015 and most of the steady gains from the last decade. This is nothing to sniff at. Arizona’s gains on the 2015 test were among the best of the country, so maintaining those gains is worth cheering, and it underscores the hard work of our teachers, which has yielded such positive results.
Also worthy of celebration are the 8th grade math scores for African-American students, which appear to be the best in the country. There is an area of concern, though. There was a decline in overall 4th grade math. Education wonks will be digging into the reasons behind the dip and what can be done about it. We should absorb all lessons learned for the sake of our students.
Though we will spend the coming days diving deeper into the results, we are encouraged that hard-fought gains were sustained over the two-year period. Performance over time is key for large educational systems and important to our overall competitiveness.
Closing the Achievement Gap is important to our state’s and nation’s future. Diversity is Arizona’s greatest strength. To see subgroups improving is a critical piece of our state’s educational puzzle and a focus of the business community’s education agenda.
As additional insights are gleaned from the 2017 NAEP, we look forward to sharing more good news.