Education: Report Card for Americans

Most parents view academic achievement in individual terms—that is, how their kids stack up against their immediate classmates. In fact, the U.S. has done little to determine the knowledge levels of entire age groups across the nation. What, for instance, do American nine-year-olds really know about math? What do they not know? Where are 13-year-olds most deficient in literature, say, or social studies?

Meeting in Denver last week, the Education Commission of the States supplied some preliminary answers by releasing the first results of an ambitious project called the National Assessment of Educational...

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