Reston, Va. - October 30, 2019 - The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) views the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scores as somewhat disappointing but not all that surprising.
In 2019, average mathematics scores for the nation's students were 1 point higher at grade 4 and 1 point lower at grade 8 than in 2017. NAEP, also known as The Nation's Report Card, has informed the public about what American students learn and know for the past 50 years.
“When we step back and look at the stagnation in growth in mathematics learning over the last 20 years compared with the significant gains from the previous 20 years, we have to ask, 'What has changed?'” said NCTM President Robert Berry. “At the policy level we made a significant move away from specific funding for mathematics teaching that was provided by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act. This, coupled with policy changes focused on high-stakes testing for every student every year, has reduced - not increased - student learning and has adversely affected student success.”
Berry continued, “Providing each and every student with access to high-quality mathematics curriculum, instruction, and expectations is core to our educational system. These results should cause us to question whether we are providing our nation's mathematics educators with the support they need to help our students reach their greatest mathematical potential. We continue to see learning time dominated with test preparation rather than rigorous and engaging instruction.”
In April 2018, NCTM released Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations to engage all individuals with a stake in high school mathematics to have conversations about improving math education. Catalyzing Change identifies and addresses critical challenges in high school math to ensure all students have access to a high-quality mathematics education. NCTM will continue to address these issues in two upcoming publications - Catalyzing Change in Early Childhood and Elementary Mathematics and Catalyzing Change in Middle School Mathematics - both to be released next year.
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