October 28, 2015 · Portland Press Herald

Maine students continued to score above the national average in math and reading on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress test, despite a slight drop in state results since 2013, according to data released Thursday.

“Today’s NAEP results confirm that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that our young people are ready for success in college, careers and life,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The decline in Maine results on this year’s test, referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card,” reflects national trends, according to Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the federal National Center for Education Statistics.

Average fourth- and eighth-grade math scores declined nationwide for the first time since the test began, she said. Eighth-grade reading scores also declined, to 265 from 268 of a possible 500 points.

“We don’t yet know if this is a trend downward,” said Carr, who said it would take additional years of scores to reveal a pattern. “We need to exercise caution until we see the results from the 2017 assessment.”

Bill Bushaw, the executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP test, noted that many schools nationwide are undergoing “significant changes.” In Maine, recent education reforms include adopting new Common Core standards, adopting new state assessments and shifting to a proficiency-based graduation model.

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