Recently, the latest edition of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) revealed that Louisiana is the nation’s leading state in improving fourth-grade reading, according to this news release from the Louisiana Department of Education.
The Nation’s Report Card, which is also known as the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), is an exam that has been assessing 4th and 8th graders in reading and mathematics since 1990. Though the NAEP had been suspended since 2019 due to the global pandemic, it is still seen as the gold standard of student assessments, and it is recognized as the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what the students of the United States of America “know and can do in various subject areas.”
The Report Card, which was recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), revealed thatLouisiana fourth-graders showed improvement in reading growth, ranking Number One in the nation for 2022 improvement in 4th grade reading scale scores and proficiency rates. In all four NAEP grades and subjects, the improvements shown by Louisiana students outpaced national trends. According to the NCES, the fourth graders in Louisiana have outperformed the national average by a significant margin; they accomplished this despite some major challenges, such as the recent global pandemic and two back-to-back hurricane seasons.
Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education, spoke on the state’s achievement by saying, “I want to thank our teachers for their efforts through the pandemic and multiple hurricanes. This is not a ‘jump for joy’ moment because we still want to get better; however, they show our strategy for academic recovery and acceleration is working. We shouldn’t chase shiny things and get distracted in Louisiana. Let’s focus on fundamentals like reading and math, supporting educators, and empowering parents.”
The impressive reading scores can be attributed to the fact that in the last few years, Louisiana has put into place a number of policy decisions in an effort to combat the state’s long-standing literacy crisis. For example, in 2011 55% of 4th graders passed basic and above on the NAEP. Eight years later those numbers remained exactly the same, yet this year’s results show that 57% of Louisiana 4th graders are passing basic or above in reading.
The Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Jenna Chaisson, attributed the progress in reading by saying, “the progress our 4th graders made in reading is a testament to Louisiana’s educators for embracing our fundamental shift in how we teach students to read. We’ve set ambitious goals for our children and these results are a step in the right direction.”
When looking at the results of the National Report Card for the country as a whole and when singling out Louisiana,the results demonstrate a significant impact of the pandemic on students over the past couple of years. The disruptions to education were further exacerbated in Louisiana by Hurricanes Laura and Ida.
When compared to the 2019 data, Louisiana’s 4th grade reading improved by 2 points while the national average declined by 3 points. In 8th grade reading, Louisiana saw around the same level of scores as it did in 2019 with a 2-point decline compared to a 3-point decline nationally. In 4th grade math, Louisiana saw a 2-point decline compared to a 5-point decline nationally. In 8th grade math, Louisiana saw a 6-point decline compared to an 8-point decline nationally. NAEP results are used by teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers in order to assess progress and develop solutions to improve education in the United States.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is responsible for administering the NAEP program. They are a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) sets policy for the NAEP program.
For more education-related information, click here.