“The gains are not huge, but they’re gains,” he said. “Something’s going on in reading. That’s a good thing.”

NCLB prods schools to improve test scores each year, so every student can read and do math on grade level by the year 2014. It holds schools accountable for progress among each group of kids, including those who have disabilities or are learning English.

The law was due for a rewrite in 2007, but the effort stalled in Congress. The Obama administration and Congress are gearing up now to make another attempt.

The House Education and Labor Committee chairman, Democratic Rep. George Miller of California, called it “deeply troubling” that high school students did not show improvement in math.

“We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all students, at every age, in every state, get a world-class education that fully prepares them for college and careers,” Miller said in a statement.

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, was even more emphatic in his reaction.

“For our high school students, these are mainframe computer results in a laptop world,” Wise said. “Happily, student gains are still being made in the elementary and middle schools, but if our high schools were cell phones, these NAEP results are a massive cry of: ‘Can you hear me now?'”

He continued: “In our modern, knowledge-based economy, far more of our high school students need to perform well. I don’t know anyone who wants to hire a worker in 2009 with a 1971 performance level.”

The long-term trend report issued April 28 was based on a nationally representative sample of more than 26,000 public and private school students. It tracks student progress in reading since 1971 and in math since 1973.

Because it is aligned with older tests, the long-term trend might give a more conservative picture of how kids are doing. It is separate from the main NAEP assessments, which are given in nine subjects and have shown greater progress in math scores.

Links:

National Assessment of Educational Progress

Alliance for Excellent Education

U.S. Department of Education

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Math Intervention resource center. U.S. students are lagging behind their peers in other countries in math achievement, fortunately education companies are responding with solutions. Go to: Math Intervention