State shows largest gains on Nation’s Report Card

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s 4th grade students led the country in reading growth, according to The Nation’s Report Card, released on Oct. 24 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In the first national assessments since the global pandemic and two historic hurricane seasons disrupted Louisiana classrooms, Louisiana was a leader in the nation exceeding national trends.

“I want to thank our teachers for their efforts through the pandemic and multiple hurricanes,” said Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education. “This is not a ‘jump for joy’ moment because we still want to get better; however, they show our strategy for academic recovery and acceleration is working.”

Over the last two years, Louisiana has implemented a number of policy decisions to curb the state’s long-standing literacy crisis. In 2011, 55 percent of Louisiana 4th graders scored basic or above on NAEP. Eight years later that number was exactly the same. This year’s results show that 57 percent of Louisiana 4th graders are now scoring basic or above in reading.

“The progress our 4th graders made in reading is a testament to Louisiana’s educators for embracing our fundamental shift in how we teach students to read,” said Dr. Jenna Chiasson, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. “We’ve set ambitious goals for our children and these results are a step in the right direction.”

Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the nation for 2022 improvement in 4th grade reading scale scores and proficiency rates. Louisiana’s improvement outpaced national trends in all four NAEP grades and subjects.

“We shouldn’t chase shiny things and get distracted in Louisiana,” said Dr. Brumley. “Let’s focus on fundamentals like reading and math, supporting educators, and empowering parents.”

Results nationally and in Louisiana demonstrate the pandemic’s impact on students over the last couple of years. The disruptions to education were further exacerbated in Louisiana by hurricanes such as Laura and Ida. In comparison to 2019, Louisiana’s 4th grade reading improved by 2 points while the national average declined by 3 points. In 8th grade reading, Louisiana’s score remained about the same compared to a 3-point decline nationally. In 4th grade math, Louisiana saw a 2-point decline compared to a 5-point decline nationally. In 8th grade math, Louisiana saw a 6-point decline compared to an 8-point decline nationally.

For the second consecutive year, Louisiana school systems are developing their Louisiana Comeback plan. Last school year’s data, system plans, and a financial dashboard can be found at louisianacomeback.com. School system proposals focusing on attendance, well-being, recovery, acceleration, and professional learning for the present school year are under review by the Department.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as The Nation’s Report Card—assesses 4th and 8th graders in reading and math. It had been suspended since 2019 due to the global pandemic. It is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas and is frequently referred to as the “gold standard” of student assessments.

The NAEP mathematics and reading assessments in grades 4 and 8 have been conducted every two years since 2003. The 2022 mathematics and reading assessments were administered between January and March 2022. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States. Standard assessment administration practices are implemented to provide a common measure of student achievement.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is charged by Congress with administering the NAEP program. The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) sets policy for the NAEP program.