As employers emphasize their need for employees knowledgeable in mathematics, test results show that math scores in the United States have dipped for the first time since 1990. “That doesn’t mean we should completely freak out,” said Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education policy group in Washington. “This could be a one-time variation, and maybe we’ll see things come back next time. But if it were the beginning of a new trend, it would be quite disappointing and disturbing.” Analysts report that the dip could be emblematic of increasing diversity in public school systems, a phenomenon outgoing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised as mutually beneficial. Lower scores were primarily seen in fourth and eighth grade; the average fourth-grade math score this year was 240 on a scale of 500, down from 242 in 2013, the last time the federal assessment results were released. The average eighth-grade math score was 282, down from 285 two years ago.
Contributor: Phoebe Roe