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TABLE K–12-5 Trends in Average NAEP Mathematics Scale Scores for Students Ages 9, 13, and 17: 1973-2004

NOTE: *Significantly different from 2004.

SOURCE: National Assessment Governing Board. National Assessment of Educational Progress 2004: Trends in Academic Progress Three Decades of Student Performance in Reading and Mathematics. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education, July 14, 2005.

achievement gap separating Black and Latino students from European-American students narrowed during that period (see Figure K–12-2). However, a recent assessment by the Program for International Student Assessment found that US 15-year-olds are near the bottom of all countries in their ability to solve practical problems requiring mathematical understanding. Additionally, testing for the last 30 years has shown that although scores among 9- and 13-year-olds have increased, scores for 17-year-olds have remained stagnant (see Table K–12-5) and there is a gender gap (see K–12-6).

Perhaps the hardest trend to document is a sense of disillusionment with careers based on science and technology.4 Fewer children respond posi-


Committee for Economic Development, Research and Policy Committee. Learning for the Future: Changing the Culture of Math and Science Education to Ensure a Competitive Workforce. New York: Committee for Economic Development, 2003.

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