Enrollments are continuing to grow, and more students are taking courses in advanced science and mathematics–yet problems persist in performance and participation, according to “The Condition of Education 2001,” released May 30 by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). While Secretary of Education Rod Paige noted some positive trends in the report, he cautioned, “The ‘Condition of Education’ tells us concretely that we are far from where we need to be in terms of student performance. We are failing to close the persistent achievement and attainment gaps–and we lag behind other developed nations in mathematics and science achievement.” The 59 indicators contained in the report convey the most up-to-date information about enrollment, outcomes, context, and support for education. The annual report also indicates how the United States compares with its international colleagues. This year’s focus is on first-generation college students and factors that increase their likelihood of entering college and achieving educational success. Comparisons of student performance both over time and internationally raise concerns about how well the American educational system is keeping up with other economically developed countries, especially at the secondary level. In addition, gaps remain in academic performance and educational participation among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. NCES prepared “The Condition of Education” in response to a congressional mandate to document current conditions and trends in American education. The full text of the report is available online, and a free copy can be ordered by calling (877) 4ED-PUBS.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/