WASHINGTON, DC – Announced this morning, the results of the 2009 twelfth-grade reading and math assessments from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—The Nation’s Report Card—indicate that only 38 percent of the nation’s twelfth graders read at a proficient level, while 26 percent read below the most basic level. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement.
“A high school diploma needs to be both paper … and preparation. But as today’s results from The Nation’s Report Card show, far too many students are being handed the paper but not showing the proficiency.
“The high school seniors included in this report are on the verge of graduation and perhaps college enrollment, but according to the report, 62 percent leave high school without the reading and comprehension skills needed to succeed in college or a career.
“Without these skills, many entering college students will have to take remedial courses during their freshman year and will face long odds in their pursuit of a college degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students who enroll in remedial reading courses are three times more likely to drop out of college before earning their bachelor’s degree, compared to students who take no remedial courses.
“Unfortunately, today’s results were not surprising. According to the 2008 NAEP Long-Term Trend Report Card, the average reading score for seventeen-year-olds is unchanged since 1971. This long-term trend, combined with today’s results for high school seniors, indicates that the federal government needs a new strategy to meet the literacy needs of the nation’s older students.
“If you end up in the emergency room with an EKG that shows this kind of flat line, someone would be trying to shock you back to life. The federal government needs to take the same immediate action for the nation’s older students.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit www.all4ed.com.