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4/14/2018 12:31:00 PM
Eighth-grade reading skills show a slight rise in Indiana

Brittani Howell, Herald-Times

While most states showed little change in their scores on the “nation’s report card,” Indiana showed a slight increase in scores for eighth-grade reading in this year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress data.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, tests a representative sample of students in every state in the U.S. It is the only national exam that tests all states with the same standards for reading and mathematics, and is often called the “nation’s report card,” used by federal and state leaders to track students’ overall performance and the effects of education policies. The test is given every two years, and there is no breakdown by schools or school districts; it only offers statewide data.

In Indiana, the average score for fourth-grade students on the mathematics exam was 247 on a 500-point scale, a one-point difference from the 2015 score of 248. The NAEP does not consider that a statistically significant change in performance, though it is higher than the national average of 239 for fourth-graders nationwide. The reading scores for fourth-grade students were similar: not statistically different from the 2015 scores, but higher than the national average by a few points.

Scores for Indiana’s eighth-graders told a slightly different story. While math scores remained similar to those in 2015, reading scores saw a slight bump from 268 in 2015 to 272 in 2017. Indiana is one of only 10 states that showed a higher reading score than the previous test.

For Lucille Davy, that slight rise is encouraging. But looking at only two years from the test’s history isn’t particularly useful, said the former commissioner of education for New Jersey and peer reviewer for states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans.

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