The nation’s report card shows, once again, that U.S. students are struggling at the middle school level and not posting much needed gains in literacy. The results come just six months after the National Assessment of Education Progress or NAEP, exams showed U.S. students also lagging in math.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the Wall Street Journal in an interview on Thursday that the U.S. will have to tackle “the tough reading challenges in middle school,” to improve results. He found some good news, though: he said in a press release that the reading achievement of students in the largest cities has increased over time, and that both Atlanta and Los Angeles had experienced increases in fourth and eighth-grade.
The exam is given every two years to students across the U.S. New York City’s fourth-graders showed some gains, but eighth-graders are still struggling.
Atlanta, it turns out, had the fastest reading gains of any city, boosting scores 14 points in both the fourth and eighth-grade since 2002.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called the results “a mixed bag,” on Thursday but said there is a lot to learn from the districts that posted gains. “Districts such as Atlanta are making progress because they use a strong curriculum, and teachers are getting the right resources, training opportunities and the time to work with their colleagues and students,” she said in a statement.
The most discouraging news came from Detroit, where the public school students scores were the worst in the U.S.