Humility and Courage
- Published: Tuesday, 24 April 2018 09:38
Fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States have made little to no gains in math and reading since 2015.
While the average reading scores for eighth-graders increased compared with 2015, there were no changes for reading at fourth grade or for math at either grade, according to results from the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress, also called NAEP or The Nation's Report Card.
Moreover, the latest results reveal a disturbing trend in which the country's poorest-performing students scored worse in both subjects than they did in 2015, while the highest-performing students posted increases, reflecting a growing gap between those at the top and bottom of the achievement spectrum.
"I'm pleased that eighth-grade reading scores improved slightly but remain disappointed that only about one-third of America's fourth- and eighth-grade students read at the NAEP Proficient level," said former Gov. John Engler of Michigan, the chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which along with the National Center on Education Statistics, the Department of Education's research arm, administers the test.
"We are seeing troubling gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students," he said. "We must do better for all children."
To be sure, results varied considerably among states and the 27 large urban school districts that volunteered to have their scores individually analyzed and included in the 2017 Trial Urban District Assessment, which was also released Tuesday and is known as TUDA.
When it comes to breaking down NAEP scores by state, this year Florida was the stand-out.
Preschool is most likely to help low-income children if their classmates come from a range of family incomes, according to a new study.
The new research contradicts the current strategy in most states of targeting public preschool only to low-income kids. That approach is based on the results of many earlier studies that have found attending preschool helps kids from disadvantaged backgrounds start kindergarten on a stronger academic footing. The benefits for higher income children are less pronounced. That is why most states and the federal government choose to spend taxpayer dollars on “targeted” preschool programs open only to low-income families.
But the new study, just updated in December by Dartmouth College economist Elizabeth Cascio, finds that universal programs have a significant positive effect on the reading scores of poor kids, while targeted programs do not. The effect on math scores is also positive but not statistically significant, Cascio said.
School leaders consistently identify high costs and shrinking budgets as a top barrier to implementing new technology tools and programs.
And while budget woes won’t improve overnight, schools and districts can boost their available funds with grants that are targeted to different areas of need.
Want to support science teachers or encourage engineering? Do you need to promote STEM learning opportunities? Or maybe you want to extend opportunities for partnerships between K-12 and the science community.
Look no further. We’ve got 7 grant opportunities to meet various levels of funding needs.
1. NSTA’s Distinguished Teaching Awards program honors NSTA members who are teachers that have made extraordinary contributions to the field of science teaching. Deadline: Dec. 17, 2018
2. The Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers provides selected K–12 teachers (up to 25) in their first five years of teaching with funds to attend the annual National Conference on Science Education. Award recipients will be mentored, tracked, and provided with continuing opportunities for meaningful involvement with NSTA and its activities. To be eligible, a teacher must be within the first five years full-time at the time of application and be an NSTA member in good standing; to the extent possible, recipients must have been a student member of NSTA as a preservice teacher. Deadline: Dec. 17, 2018
3. The DiscoverE Collaboration Grants program facilitates collaboration within the engineering community to engage youth, particularly underserved K-12 students, with hands-on learning experiences and events that inspire an interest and understanding of engineering. Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
When Kim Van Duzer, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, had a chance to follow her students from third to fourth grade the next school year, she jumped at the opportunity.