New Report: Still learning – reading beyond grade three

Posted by on March 30, 2009

A snapshot of American literacy

In a research précis on reading development in American schools, The Center for Public Education examines “Reading beyond grade three” in its At-a-glance series. Students who are strong readers by the end of third grade still need more advanced reading skills to succeed in middle and high school, and progress in reading achievement appears to stall in the upper grades. In 2004, average reading scores for nine-year-olds on the Long Term National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) rose to their highest level in the 33-year history of the assessment (11 points). For thirteen-year-olds, scores rose only four points between 1971 and 2004, and average scores for 17-year-olds stayed virtually the same. At each grade level, white students outperformed their black and Hispanic classmates by more than two grades. The synopsis also indicates that some American adults lack even the most basic reading skills. In 2003, five percent of U.S. adults were not literate in English, about 11 million adults nationwide. On the positive side, just seven of 44 countries — including three Canadian provinces — outperformed U.S. fourth graders in 2006 in literacy.
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