Don’t change NAEP

Until now, the National Assessment of Educational Progress has rightly been called the nation’s report card.  By focusing on measuring reading comprehension, NAEP provides invaluable feedback.  But a proposal threatens to undermine its value (“A Feel-Good Report Card Won’t Help Children, City Journal, Oct. 13).

The proposal argues that greater emphasis needs to be placed on the role that socioeconomic factors play in the development of reading skills.  I don’t doubt that these are important to understand, but I submit that they are overemphasized.  Charter schools that enroll almost all Black and Hispanic students produce impressive results about the ability of their students to read.  These schools do not place undue emphasis on socioeconomic factors.  Instead, they rely on tried-and-true instruction.

If the purpose of education is to prepare students to read the language they will encounter after graduation, then anything that deviates from that approach shortchanges them.  Let’s not tinker with what so far has been highly successful.

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