New Reports Show 12-Grade Reading Scores the Lowest Since 1992
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Assessment Governing Board, and education leaders have released two 12th-grade reports from The Nation’s Report Card showing that 12th-grade reading scores are the lowest since 1992 and less than one-fourth of students score at or above the proficient level.
NAM President John Engler warned that current achievement scores are disheartening, and act as further evidence of the increasing need to reform the nation’s high schools. Industry needs young people who can adapt to today’s high-tech workplaces, he said, but the skills needed to compete in those workplaces are the ones that today’s graduates are having the hardest time achieving–math, reading, and science.
The two reports–“The Nation’s Report Card: 12th-Grade Reading and Mathematics 2005” and “The Nation’s Report Card: America’s High School Graduates”–show that while, on average, high school graduates are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades during high school, it hasn’t translated to better achievement scores on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), according to The Nation’s Report Card.
Engler expressed pointed concern over the fact that the average 12-grade reading score was the lowest since 1992, and that less than one-quarter of 12th graders scored at or above the proficient level in math. He points out that the disappointing scores echo the “skills gap” manufacturers are facing–in short, an unprecedented and unmet demand for workers with the manufacturing know-how needed to succeed.
In the global marketplace, said Engler, the American economy and way of life hinges on the country’s ability to remain competitive through smart minds, skilled workers, and innovative thinkers. All Americans should feel concerned if the education system isn’t providing students with these skills.
On a positive note, Engler added that business has long understood that what gets measured gets better.
The 2005 NAEP assessments in reading and math were administered by the National Center for Education Statistics to a nationally representative sample of over 21,000 high school seniors in 900 schools. Information from high school transcripts also was collected for 26,000 graduates from about 640 public schools and 80 private schools.
NAM is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country.