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The results from the newest Report Card are in and the news is outstanding. Three years ago, our country made a commitment that no child would be left behind. The 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long-Term Trends in Academic Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, has been administered using the same exact test in reading and mathematics for over 30 years. The 2004 Report Card is evidence that No Child Left Behind is working and is helping to raise the achievement of young students of every race and from every type of family background. And the achievement gap that has persisted for decades in the younger years between minorities and whites has shrunk to its smallest size in history.
No Child Left Behind is Working
Progress on the Report Card before 1999 was incremental, with student achievement changing a couple of points at a time in either direction. In the last five years, our nation's kidsand minority students in particularhave made some of the greatest gains in the report's history with the score jumping an unprecedented seven points to 219, by far the highest score ever. In fact, more than half of the progress in reading seen in the Report Card's 30-plus year history was made in the last five years. For example:
America's nine-year-olds are posting the best scores in reading and math in the history of this report, which dates back to 1971 for reading and 1973 for math.
Over the last five years, white, African-American, and Hispanic 13-year-olds have made significant gains in math.
Thirteen-year-olds earned the highest math scores the test has ever recorded.
More 9- and 13-year-olds said they are reading more than 20 pages a day.
African-American Achievement on the Rise
With NCLB, we became the first nation to ever promise a quality education for all students and today we're seeing the results of that promise as African-American elementary school students posted all-time best scores in both reading and math.
Reading scores for African-American 9-year olds reached an all-time high, up an impressive 14 points since 1999 and 30 points better than 1971.
Math scores for African-American 9-year olds reached an all-time high, up an impressive 13 points since 1999 and 34 points better than 1973.
Math scores for African-American 13-year olds reached an all-time high, up an impressive 11 points since 1999 and 34 points better than 1973.
The achievement gap between white and African-American students in reading is at an all-time low.
Hispanic Achievement on the Rise
We're also seeing the results of the NCLB promise in increased achievement by Hispanic students:
Reading scores for Hispanic 9-year olds reached an all-time high, an increase of 12 points since 1999 and 22 points better than 1975.
Math scores for Hispanic 9-year olds reached an all-time high, up 17 points since 1999 and 28 points better than 1973.
Math scores for Hispanic 13-year olds reached an all-time high, up six points since 1999 and 26 points better than 1973.
The achievement gap between white and Hispanic 9-year-olds students in math reached an all-time low.
America's Achievement Gap is Closing
This year's Report Card shows achievement is rising across the country at the same time that America's achievement gap is also closing. Nine-year-old minority students have done especially well in the last five years.
The achievement gap between white and African-American students in reading is the smallest it's ever been.
Since the Report Card was first issued, African-American and Hispanic students have made impressive gains in reading and in math.
These gains were made as our country's population became increasingly diverse. As our schools have enrolled more and more minority students, these students have scored increasingly better in reading and in math.
We still have work to do, especially in our nation's high schools.
We are at the beginning of the mission and certainly have room for improvement, particularly at the high school level. We must support older students with the same can-do attitude that helped their younger peers.
For 17-year-olds, reading and math scores have remained flat since the early 1970s.
Full results of the Long-Term Trend NAEP can be found at: nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard