INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s fourth graders scored higher on the nation’s benchmark standardized tests in math and English than their peers in most other states, but minority and poor students in Indiana are still lagging behind.
Indiana eighth-graders, on average, also improved their scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Education Thursday.
On the NAEP tests, administered to a sampling of students in every state across the nation, Indiana fourth graders saw a 5-point jump in their test results over 2011.
The state’s eighth graders saw a more modest increase. But barely one-third of those eighth-grade students scored “proficient” on the NAEP math and English tests.Indiana’s modestly rising marks reflect progress made by students around the nation, but U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan said the pace of progress isn’t fast enough.
“We’re not seeing transformational change but modest progress,” Duncan said, in a call to reporters Wednesday during a preview of the test results.
The NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, is seen as a reliable gauge of K-12 academic progress since it’s given to a large cross-section of students. The test has been administered to public and private school students by the U.S. Department of Education every two years since the 1990s.
An Indiana high school teacher who sits on the NAEP board said the state’s upward trend over the last 13 years is encouraging, but he also echoed Duncan’s concerns about the modest nature of the gains.
“Scores have increased since 1990 with the 2013 average scores for both grade levels being higher than all previous years,” said Dale Nowlin, who teaches math at Columbus North High School. “There has been a significant shift in the positive direction for all achievement levels.”