Labor Market Information: Win-Win Network Community of Practice

High School Test Scores in 8 Subjects (NEW)

Posted by LMI Win-Win Network - On December 18, 2013 (EST)

Unemployment Rates 1890-2012

High School Test Scores in 8 Subjects

Test score trends are discouraging for high school students in 8 subjects, some tracked for 4 decades. Since consistent national tests are only sporadically conducted for adults, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests of 17-year-olds and seniors are one of the best sources on the skills and knowledge that adults likely possess.  The U.S. Employment and Training Administration has assembled NAEP 1969-2012 tests results for high school students in reading and writing; math and science; and history, economics, civics, and geography.

For the full analysis, see High School Test Scores in 8 Subjects.

Due to changing test content, it’s only possible to compare results from any point in the past until the near-present in 6 of the 8 subjects: math, reading, history, civics, geography, and economics (for science and writing, recent comparisons can only be made for 1996-2005 and 1998-2007, respectively). Among the 8 subjects, only 2 (U.S. history and writing) show statistically-significant rising test scores over a recent period of comparable data — and these increases have been tiny. Moreover, writing trends for the preceding period (1984-94) show a decline, suggesting that the long-term trend is not positive. Math, reading, and economics show no trend toward improvement, and science, geography and civics show declines (only statistically significant for science and geography, although longer-term results suggest a large, significant drop in civics performance over the 1969-2010 period). Unfortunately NAEP discontinued its three-decade science trend tests after 1999, during which a relatively large decline occurred.

ETA’s analysis includes the precise test scores and years of comparable data for each subject; which changes have been statistically significant; and Internet links to the underlying studies.


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Modified On : December 18, 2013
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