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 U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans - Link to ED.gov Home Page

Performance Highlights | Goal 2:
Improve student achievement

This pie chart shows the amount of FY 2005 expenditures that support Goal 2, and the amount that support all other goals.  48.4 percent of expenditures support Goal 2, and 51.6 percent of expenditures support other goals.

Along with local school teachers and parents, state education leaders, business leaders, everyday U.S. citizens, and students themselves, the Department's goal is to improve educational achievement. The No Child Left Behind Act sets as a national goal that all students achieve proficiency in reading and mathematics by SY 2013-14. Goal 2 focuses on improvements in early reading instruction, middle school mathematics instruction, high school proficiency, and teacher quality.

Key Results for Goal 2

  • Nine-year-old students' average reading scores on the 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress Long-Term Trend Assessment were higher than in any previous assessment year; Hispanic, black, and white 9-year-old students' average reading scores increased between 1999 and 2004 by 12, 15, and 5 points, respectively.
  • The Department has committed to making available to the public state high school graduation rates calculated by a standard measure with state-submitted graduation rates. Standardizing graduation rates is the first step in data-driven high school reform.

Area of Focus

In 2004 and 2005, the Department clearly stated that we are committed to high school reform. We held two national summits in as many years to support the Preparing America's Future High School Initiative. But high school reform encounters seemingly intractable problems: high school students say they are unengaged and unchallenged in school; in some groups, as few as half of students graduate; and graduates sometimes find themselves unprepared when they go to college.

High school reform remains an important area of focus for the Department in 2006 as President Bush requested $1.9 billion for high school reform in his FY 2006 budget proposal. Programmatically, the Department is proposing High School Intervention, a new formula grant program designed to help local educational agencies meet the needs of at-risk high school students. Additionally, the budget proposal would increase support for Striving Readers, support the development of assessments for all high school students in reading and mathematics, accelerate mathematics learning through competitive grants under the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program, increase student access to the Advanced Placement program, and increase the number of states implementing the State Scholars program.