Last week, the National Assessment Governing Board and National Center for Education Statistics released results from the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Often referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card,” these results provide a bi-annual barometer on how states and the country as a whole are performing in the classroom. This year’s results are particularly noteworthy because they are from the final NAEP administered before implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In this sense, these results reflect a boundary in the timeline of education policy, demarcating the end of the NCLB era and the beginning of the ESSA era.
The release itself and the early commentary on the results so far has largely highlighted the overall flat trend lines among the nation’s schoolchildren. Though the early NCLB era did see some improvements in student achievement, it appears that this progress has largely stalled during the latter half of the period. Moreover, a dip in performance in the 2015 assessment has persisted in the current results, suggesting it was no statistical anomaly.