Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1114reportcard14.html

Nation's Report Card

Here's a sampling of math questions asked of fourth-graders on the Nation's Report Card:

1 Peter wrote down a pattern of A's and B's that repeats in groups of 3. Here is the beginning of his pattern with some of the letters erased.

Fill in the missing letters: AB _ A _ B_ _ _.

2 Carla has 12 boxes that each weigh the same amount. What would be a quick way for her to find the total weight of the 12 boxes?

A. Add 12 to the weight of one of the boxes

B. Subtract 12 from the weight of one of the boxes

C. Divide the weight of one of the boxes by 12

D. Multiply the weight of one of the boxes by 12

3 Six students bought exactly enough pens to share equally among themselves. Which of the following could be the number of pens they bought?

A. 46

B. 48

C. 50

D. 52

4 Carl has 3 empty egg cartons and 34 eggs. If each carton holds 12 eggs, how many more eggs are needed to fill all 3 cartons?

A. 2

B. 3

C. 4

D. 6

5 How much change will John get back from $5 if he buys 2 notebooks that cost $1.80 each?

A. $1.40

B. $2.40

C. $3.20

D. $3.60


1. The correct sequence is ABBABBABB.

2. D

3. B

4. A

5. A

Source: National Center for Assessment of Educational Progress.

Arizona 4th-, 8th-graders lag U.S. in math, reading
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 14, 2003
Maggie Galehouse
12:00 AM

Arizona students are foundering in the bottom third of the nation in reading and mathematics at the same time that students across the country are earning record high scores in math.

The Nation's Report Card on reading and math, released Thursday, tested a sampling of fourth- and eighth-graders in every state. It offers an apples-to-apples comparison of academic performance, because students in each state are tested on the same material.

Arizona students did not meet national averages in reading or math. Only 25 percent of fourth-graders and 21 percent of eighth-graders performed at or above a proficient level in math. In reading, 23 percent of fourth-graders and 25 percent of eighth-graders reached a proficient level.

State schools chief Tom Horne says there are other tests, including the Stanford 9 and Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards, that are more important.

"On the Stanford 9, a widely used national test, Arizona students performed above average," Horne said. "On this test, they did not. The problem is that students are being tested on things they haven't been taught."

Horne has requested that the State Board of Education align Arizona standards with national ones. If that happens, Horne said, "we'll see the students doing better."

But parents say it will take more than a standards shift.


'Value education'


To improve test scores, Arizona must lower class sizes and increase teacher pay, said Joan Agostinelli, a leader in the Scottsdale Parent Council, the largest districtwide parent group in Scottsdale.

"I would like to see Arizona value education enough to really put the resources behind it," she said. "Money matters. It's not the only thing, but it does matter."

Others say that teachers are not miracle workers and that parents who want to see test scores improve should consider how much time they spend in their children's classrooms.

"I think it comes down to parents supporting and reinforcing what children have learned," said Miki Smith, president of the PTO at Alma Elementary in Mesa. "Teachers only have these kids for nine months, eight hours a day; parents have them all the rest of the time."

The Nation's Report Card has become particularly important under new federal guidelines to improve test scores of all students, regardless of race, income or English proficiency.

Schools that receive federal Title I funding, which is designed to boost student achievement in low-income areas, are now required to take part in the tests every two years.

These national tests, created by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, will influence the quality and content of state tests.

This year, students in almost every state showed substantial gains in math, but reading scores remained flat.

Test results are also broken down by gender, race and income. For example, at both fourth and eighth grades, Anglo students' scores were about 27 points higher than Hispanic students' scores across the country.


Not a surprise


Reading teachers in Arizona are not surprised.

"We need to do a better job with learners of English as a second language," said Vivian Hunt, a reading teacher at Apache Elementary in Peoria. "This is a special population in Arizona. If we do this, our scores will rise."

Wire services contributed to this article.