The long-term trend assessment by the National Assessment of Education Progress shows improvement for Hispanic students since the 1970s.
U.S. students scored higher in reading and mathematics than their counterparts did 40 years ago, according to The Nation's Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012 , with Hispanic and female students showing particular progress.
The Nation's Report Card has tracked changes in the academic achievement of 9-, 13- and 17-year-olds since the 1970s, as assessed by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).
The NAEP's long-term trend assessment measures basic reading and mathematics skills to gauge how American students' performance changes over time.
"There are considerable bright spots, including remarkable improvement among black and Hispanic students and great strides for girls in mathematics," David Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the administration of NAEP assessments, said in a statement.
Notably, scores improved among Hispanic students compared to their predecessors. Nine-year-old Hispanic students in 2012 scored an average of 25 points higher in reading and 32 points higher in mathematics than their counterparts in the 1970s. At age 17, Hispanic students' average scores rose 21 points in reading and 17 points in mathematics.
Although score gaps remain between non-Hispanic whites and other ethnic and racial groups, those gaps are generally smaller than they were 40 years ago, and female students on average at all ages are scoring better in mathematics than they were four decades ago.
Among other findings:
-- Students who read for fun at least once a week scored higher on average than those who read for fun only a few times a year
-- Twice as many 13-year-olds are taking algebra, and three times as many 17-year-olds are taking pre-calculus or calculus
-- More students are in a grade below the one typical for their age as in 1970.
The Nation's Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012 is available at www.nationsreportcard.gov.
The NAEP is a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Its nonpartisan board includes governors, state lawmakers, educators and members of the general public.
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