Alexander on 2011 NAEP Scores for Math and Reading: “We Can and Must Do Better, and We Should Start by Fixing No Child Left Behind”

Says State and Local Leaders Need “Flexibility in Creating an Environment Where Students Can Learn”

Posted on November 1, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), former U.S. Secretary of Education, released the following statement about today’s report on American 4th and 8th grade students’ achievement in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released by the National Assessment Governing Board:

“This report delivers the disappointing news that despite minor gains over the past two years, only a third of our middle school students are proficient in reading and not many more are proficient in math – we can and must do better. We should start by fixing No Child Left Behind to allow state and local leaders the flexibility to create an environment where students can learn what they need to know to succeed in college and in careers.”

The NAEP math assessment for 2011 measures “students’ knowledge and skills in mathematics and students’ ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations” across five content areas, including: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra. The NAEP reading assessment for 2011 measures students’ reading comprehension across two types of texts: literary and informational.

The 2011 results show that 66 percent of 4th and 8th graders continue to be below proficient in reading, while 60 percent of 4th graders and 65 percent of 8th graders continue to be below proficient in Math. Furthermore, there have been no significant improvements towards closing the achievement gap between White and Black students in either subject.  

Sen. Alexander is currently working to fix No Child Left Behind. He introduced a series of bills in September, and supported passing out of committee a bipartisan bill to which he will offer five amendments. Read more about those bills and the amendments he is offering here

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