Alexander: “Hard-Working Tennessee Teachers, Parents, Governor Deserve the Credit” for State’s Top Rank in Student Improvement in Math, Reading

Posted on November 7, 2013


Results on “nation’s report card” released today show TN 4th and 8th graders outperforming every other state in math and reading improvement


“There couldn’t be any more important news for Tennessee, in terms of the future of our state.”– Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON, Nov.7 – Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised Tennessee’s performance in new nationwide test results for 4th and 8th graders that find Tennessee was the only state where students made significant improvements in both reading and math at both grade levels, and Tennessee students also made larger gains than students in any other state in three of the four tests administered

Alexander said: “Credit for this remarkable achievement goes to Tennessee’s hard-working teachers, parents, and governor. There couldn’t be any more important news for Tennessee, in terms of the future of our state.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly called the “nation’s report card,” tests the nation’s students on math and reading in grades 4 and 8 and today released results for the nation and each state.

The NAEP math assessment for 2013 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 2013 measures students’ reading comprehension across two types of texts: literary and informational.


National results show student achievement in math and reading at both grade levels improved only slightly since 2011, and there have been no significant improvements towards closing the achievement gap between White and Black students or White and Hispanic students in either subject. Among 8th graders, 64 percent are not proficient in math and 64 percent are not proficient in reading.  Among 4th graders, 68 percent are not proficient in math and 65 percent are not proficient in reading.

Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate education committee, added: “The national results deliver the disappointing news that only about a third of fourth graders are proficient in reading and math, and middle school students aren’t doing much better. The best way to help our 50 million children in 100,000 public schools learn what they need to know and be able to do is to fix that responsibility squarely where it belongs—on parents, teachers, communities and states.”

Alexander, who previously served as Secretary of Education and as president of the University of Tennessee, this year introduced a proposal to fix No Child Left Behind that emphasizes state and local decision-making. “It puts Washington out of the business of deciding whether local schools are succeeding or failing,” Alexander said. “It rejects the federal mandates that create a national school board, prohibiting the Education Secretary from prescribing standards or accountability systems for states.”

Alexander introduced the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act” with senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

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