Reading Proficiency for Boys Is Dropping, Including in New Jersey

This is a chart, courtesy of The 74, which shows how American students’ proficiency in math has stagnated and proficiency in reading has sharply dropped based on the “gold standard” test called National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):

The drop in literacy rates are particularly pronounced for boys, low-income students, and students of color.

Emily Solari, University of Virginia education professor: “What this demonstrates is a system-wide failure to teach our children how to read and comprehend text.”

Scott Norton, deputy executive director of programs at the Council of Chief State School Officers: ““The results in 12th-grade reading, like those released last year for fourth and eighth graders, further underline the urgent need to improve literacy skills for all students. It is particularly troubling that scores over the last two decades have dropped the most sharply for the lowest-performing students and students of color.”

New Jersey is following the trend, with a 10 point difference in reading proficiency between boys and girls.

For a refresher, here are trends in NJ”S proficiency gaps between Black and white students based on 2019 NAEP scores:

  • 4th grade reading: 27 point achievement gap between white and black students, with no change from 2017-2019.
  • 4th grade math: 27 point achievement gap between white and black students in 2017; 23 point achievement gap in 2019.
  • 8th grade reading: 28 point achievement gap between white and black students in 2017; 31 point gap in 2019.
  • 8th grade math: 34 point gap between white and black students in 2017; 38 point gap in 2019.
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