← Back

NAEP Results: Takeaways and a Blueprint to Move Forward

September 20, 2022 Teach to One

For over a century, the US education system has been based on the model of a single teacher instructing a group of same-age students, with instruction primarily being delivered through a textbook. In the late 19th century, this approach was considered the most efficient way of preparing a factory-ready workforce to perform repetitive tasks, follow directions, and apply basic numeracy and literacy skills.

While there has been a lot of evidence that the factory model no longer serves all kids, there have been few alternatives at scale. Fortunately, the National Assessment of Education Progress’ latest report has sparked a bigger conversation on the shortcomings of our education system, how much the pandemic has made things worse, and what needs to happen next. Our very own Joel Rose shares a few important takeaways that we believe are worth highlighting:

1. Achievement in math was problematic long before the pandemic. While school closures and remote learning undoubtedly made things worse, the goal should not be getting back to pre-pandemic levels. 

2. Proficiency rates historically decline from the 4th to the 8th to the 12th grades because math is cumulative. As students miss out on fundamental concepts in one year, it makes it more difficult for them to succeed in subsequent years. 

3. Federal and state educational policies incentivize the teaching of grade-level content regardless of students’ prior knowledge. This makes it even harder in math for many students to catch up and get ahead because they have key learning gaps from prior years that remain unaddressed.

Concerted action is what it will take to move our education system to a student-centered model, and expanding the conversation is an important early step. We discussed strategies and recommendations alongside a group of experts in our online event, Out of the Box: How Innovative Learning Models Can Transform K-12 Education. The event took place on October 13th and shared a new report that we hope serves as a helpful blueprint for one way to move forward.