Texas fourth graders taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math test this year scored an average of 244, a three-point increase over the 241 average for Texas fourth graders in 2017. Their average score on the reading NAEP bumped up one point to 216 from 215 two years ago.
But Texas eighth graders saw their average math and reading scores drop. The average math score slipped from 282 in 2017 to 280 this year, and the average reading score fell from 260 in 2017 to 256 this year.
Statewide reading performance in fourth and eighth grade remains below the national average.
“We should be proud of the performance of our fourth grade students in mathematics, especially the leading position of our African American students,” Education Commissioner Mike Morath said. “We still have work to do so our fourth grade achievements in mathematics extend through eighth grade and beyond. In reading, our students have great promise, but our system has much room for improvement.”
Morath said the recent enactment of House Bill 3, the new school finance law, provides the groundwork for reading improvements, including an expansion of reading academies for teachers and principals, a focus on the science of teaching reading and a major investment in quality pre-K.
Nationally, average reading scores on the NAEP assessment, often called “The Nation’s Report Card,” were lower for both fourth and eighth graders than they were in 2017, while average math scores were higher by one point for fourth graders and lower by one point for eighth graders.
Across the country, both math and reading scores for students in the lower-performing percentiles in both fourth and eighth grade were lower, compared to 10 years ago, while scores for higher performers increased.
“The fact that students who need to make the most academic progress are instead making no progress or are falling further behind is extremely troubling,” said Tonya Matthews, vice chair of the National Assessment Governing Board and an associate provost at Wayne State University in Detroit. “We need to see all students make progress if we are going to achieve our shared goals of an equitable society where everyone can contribute to our knowledge-based economy.”