Difficult Lessons

What do national test scores say about students?

Public schools got their report cards last week with the release of national reading and math test scores. A look at what the results say about student skills--and No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bush's three-year-old education initiative:

Are students scoring higher? Yes and no. The results of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress were the first since broad implementation of No Child Left Behind. On a 500-point scale, fourth-graders improved on average by 1 point in math and 3 points in reading over 2003's results. Eighth-graders scored 1 point higher in math but 1 point lower in reading.

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