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Progress in Reading Scores?

Earlier this month the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress report on 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores were released by the U.S. National Center for Educational Statistics. Reading scores continued to show no progress.

Here’s a quick survey of reactions around the web on the issue.

The Atlanta Constitution cites comments from former Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll, who is on the National Assessment Governing Board.

Driscoll notes that twenty years ago reading scores were higher than math scores. Now a “flip” has occurred, and math scores are higher.

…the flip reflects the success of math instruction, which is almost exclusively taught in math classes in schools. It is different for reading proficiency, which is a product of how much students read outside school and how much reading they do across curriculum, not just in reading and English/Language Arts classes, he said.

The Christian Science Monitor reported:

At the announcement of the results, Doris Hicks, a member of the governing board and principal of a New Orleans charter school, spoke about the reading results, saying that she saw the flat performance as “losing ground.”

“We need to emphasize higher-order thinking skills when it comes to reading,” Ms. Hicks said, pushing comprehension over simple regurgitation.

In the past year, we here at Merit Software have made great strides toward improving reading instruction. We are optimistic about the future.

Less than one year ago, our first web-based reading program was launched. The program, Reading Skill Builder, is a comprehension and assessment tool for students reading at a 3rd through 8th grade level. It is, along with other Merit web-based language arts programs, routinely used in schools every day.

Our new web-based products incorporate the latest in educational pedagogy, including the use of context-clues, textural evidence support, plus academic vocabulary exercises.

In addition, teacher-training offerings have been greatly expanded. We encourage educators to let us help them set up their learners’ accounts and show them, quickly, how to get the most out of their Merit online products.