Results from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress show that Kansas scores dropped in most areas since 2013, state education officials announced Wednesday.
The decreases echo a downward trend in scores nationwide on the NAEP exam, also known as the Nation’s Report Card.
Kansas scores on the fourth-grade math exam showed one of the biggest drops in the country, falling six points since 2013. Kansas students scored slightly higher than the national average on fourth-grade math.
The average math score among Kansas eighth-graders also was lower than 2013.
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Kansas students scored slightly lower than 2013 in fourth-grade reading. Average scores in eighth-grade reading were flat compared to 2013.
“We don’t like what we see,” said Randy Watson, state education commissioner, in a written statement.
“Right now we don’t know why we decreased, but we take it seriously, and we’re going to address it,” Watson said. “We’re going to dig into the NAEP data and find out how we as an agency can offer support to our school districts and the teachers of math and reading.”
Watson was in Wichita this week to announce a new vision for education in Kansas, which says the state “leads the world in the success of each student.”
Watson said Kansas schools need to remain focused on academics but also should emphasize soft skills such as perseverance, persistence, work ethic and communication.
“We want to be about the whole child and not just the test results,” he said Wednesday.
Gov. Sam Brownback issued a statement following the test scores’ release, saying they “reflect the need for real education reform to benefit our students.
“Today’s results confirm a trend showing that even though education funding has increased by more than $1 billion over the past decade, NAEP scores have remained largely flat,” Brownback said.
“While our Kansas schools remain above the national average, we can and should do more. …To do that, we must work to get more dollars into the classroom and into the infrastructure our teachers need to improve student performance, particularly in math.”
Contributing: Bryan Lowry of The Eagle