WASHINGTON (October 28, 2015) — Results from the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are sobering. Nationally, performance in fourth-grade math as well as in eighth-grade math and reading has declined since 2013.

Most troubling, these data mark the first consistent deviation from the slow but steady gains the nation has seen for low-income students and students of color over the past 20 years:

  • Since the 1990s, low-income students’ fourth- and eighth-grade math scores have risen with every NAEP administration; between 2013 and 2015, however, their scores fell in both grades.
  • Between 2013 and 2015, eighth-grade reading and math scores fell for African American students, the first time on record that scores have fallen among African American eighth-graders.
  • Over time, Latino students’ reading and math scores have risen in all four grades and subjects, with no significant drops. Between 2013 and 2015, scores fell significantly in eighth-grade reading and were flat in all other grades and subjects.

With fewer than 1 in 4 low-income students and students of color reaching the proficient or advanced levels, the nation cannot afford anything less than accelerated improvement for these groups, who now make up the majority of our K-12 student body.

“Today’s results serve as yet another wake-up call that we must strengthen our nation’s commitment to improve the education of all children, particularly low-income students and students of color who are most likely to be underserved by their schools,” said Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development at The Education Trust. “While there are plausible reasons for the declines in achievement, any stall in progress is a pause that students, especially those starting out behind, can’t afford.”

Read the article and check out NAEP results at