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High schools are chasing graduation and not knowledge

Staff writer |
For most groups of students — including students of color and low-income students — 12th-grade NAEP scores have declined or stagnated in both reading and math since 2013.

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Aas new data from the “Nation’s Report Card” show, high schools have not prepared students for the goal that their parents have for them and the goal that they have for themselves — which is to go to college and earn a degree.

Results from the 2015 12th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that education system has a long way to go in ensuring that all students — especially low-income students and students of color — receive the learning opportunities they need.

Math scores are higher than they were a decade ago, with the biggest increases for low-income and Latino students. In reading, scores are higher than they were a decade ago for low-income and Latino students, but show no improvement for black and Native students.

Only about 1 in 4 low-income, Latino, and Native 12th-graders — and 1 in 6 black students — scored at the proficient level in reading in 2015, as compared with closer to half of white and higher income students, respectively.

In math, only 11 percent of low-income 12th-graders scored at the proficient level, compared with 32 percent of higher income students.

Fewer than 1 in 10 black and Native students scored proficient in math, as compared with 30 percent of white students.

“Simply put, high schools are treating graduation as the end goal for too many low-income students and students of color, rather than ensuring that all students have access to learning opportunities that will prepare them for college and the workplace,” said Daria Hall, vice president for Government Affairs and Communications at The Education Trust.

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