AP, USA Today overstated math scores since No Child Left Behind became lawOctober 21, 2005 5:06 PM EDT ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN & ANDREW SEIFTER
While both noted that reading scores were "mixed," an October 19 Associated Press article and an October 20 USA Today editorial overstated the modest improvement in math scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students since President Bush's No Child Left Behind education policy was put in place in 2003. The results were documented in the newly released report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national "report card" produced by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.
The AP reported: "Across the country, math scores were up in grades four and eight." Similarly, USA Today described the math results as "a promising uptick." But while acknowledging that reading scores have been "mixed" since No Child Left Behind was passed in 2003 -- they have barely improved among fourth-graders and have declined among eighth-graders -- neither the AP nor USA Today noted that the NAEP also found that even the growth in math scores has slowed since Bush's education policy was put into law.
By contrast, an October 20 Washington Post article noted: "The strongest results nationally were in math, but growth was slower over the past two years than it had been over the previous three." An October 20 Christian Science Monitor report noted that, considered together, the reading and math scores "show that progress slowed between 2003 and 2005, when the No Child Left Behind law was most fully implemented."
Math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, respectively, from the NAEP report:
Reading scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, respectively, from the NAEP report: