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Statement from Deborah Delisle, President and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education, on Twelfth-Grade National Assessment for Educational Progress Scores

For Release: October 29, 2020

Contact: Dorie Turner Nolt, 404.861.1127,

Washington, DC—”The new twelfth-grade results on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) are alarming for a national economy that largely requires education beyond high school, particularly given that struggling students saw declines in math and reading. What’s even more concerning is that students took these tests before the pandemic shut down schools in March and led to many districts relying on virtual learning this fall. This means we may see even larger declines in student achievement down the road. At the same time, unlike the fourth- and eighth-grade NAEP data, these results offer only a national snapshot, not state-by-state results. There is a lot we don’t know about what’s working and what isn’t in communities across the country. We need to invest in better state-specific data for the twelfth-grade NAEP and, most importantly, we need a COVID-19 relief bill that halts the downward slide in student achievement because of the pandemic. Our kids need our support more than ever before.”


Deborah S. Delisle is the president and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education and served as the U.S. assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education from 2012 to 2015.

The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.