Iowa Stagnant on Education Scores

The Nation’s Report card, the National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP), was released to the public this week. The results for Iowa? There’s not much to report. Iowa has not increased nor decreased its scores to any large degree. For the most part, Iowa remains in the middle of the pack…average.

The headlines accompanying the report’s release around the country show that, nationally, scores are up. The students in the US raised their reading and math scores over 2009’s testing. But Iowa was not a part of that increase. In math, scores in 18 states were higher than in 2009 in 4th and 8th grades. But Iowa was not one of those states. Scores in math in some states showed a closing in the achievement gap. But Iowa was not one. And in reading, scores were higher in 12 states than in 2009. But again, Iowa was not one.

What may be more telling of Iowa’s results is the long-term comparisons as the test reaches 20 years of data collection. Found in the press release that accompanied the report, Chairman of the NAEP, David Driscoll, mentioned Iowa several times, but they weren’t positive mentions. He notes that as overall progress has been substantial over two decades, “at the other end of the list of score increases [in 4th grade math], Iowa and Maine have gained just 13 points,” compared to the highest achievers gaining 32, 30, 28, and 27 respectively. In 8th grade math, Iowa had the smallest gain in the nation at just 2 points. In reading “several other states have stood virtually still – notably, Iowa…”

He summed it up well in one simple paragraph: “Clearly, NAEP shows that some states have moved ahead strongly over the past two decades. Others have gained much less than the nation as a whole, and their relative standing has slipped, which has become a concern of state leaders, particularly in Iowa.”

Click to see: Iowa’s rankings