National Report Card: Scores lower for some states in 2020 compared to 2012

Neosho Middle School Math Class
©KOAM News

JOPLIN/NEOSHO, Mo. – The National Assessment of Educational Progress has released the latest national report card, and scores, are down in some states.

The N.A.E.P. monitors the academic performance of 9, 13, and 17-year-old students with long-term trend assessments.

The report card has a maximum score of 500 and ranks students proficiency in math, science, and reading. The national average was 240. Missouri’s score is 238 and is down in reading compared to 2012, but around the same for math and science. The Kansas score is 239, and is also down in reading. Oklahoma’s score is 237, but the state is up in science.


The N.S.E.P. has not yet released specific district data, but local districts have their own monitoring in place for student performance. We spoke with the Neosho and Joplin school districts about the trends they’re seeing.

Since district numbers aren’t currently available from the N.A.E.P., we asked the Joplin and Neosho school districts about state standardized testing results. Joplin saw a decrease in those test scores, which Superintendent Dr. Melinda Moss attributes to a couple of things, the abrupt end of the school year in 2020, and the chaos of the 2020/2021 school year. “Last year was frequently disrupted with isolations, quarantines, we had more students migrate to virtual education, we had hybrid schedules, we had a lot of things that, to me, really, at the end of the day emphasized the importance of regular attendance and it emphasizes the importance of in-person instruction.”

Down the road in Neosho, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Nathan Manley says they actually saw a bump in their test scores. Manley says keeping kids in school is one of the best ways to keep scores going in a positive direction. “That starts with their safety and well-being, them having some consistency everyday, being provided the best education possible, so when we take that out of the equation, it leaves a lot up in the air and you’re just not sure what’s going to happen, because we know it’s important for them to be here.”

Both districts have implemented changes that aren’t focusing on standardized test scores as much as they’re focusing on student progress. Dr. Moss says “We’re checking our student’s progress and we’re checking their growth, and while proficiency rates are important, and that’s what you see with state assessments, it’s that growth target and if a student is behind, what is their expected growth in order to catch up and are we growing our students academically.” Manley adds “We certainly met and talked about what standards and objectives were most important, how we were going to look at those, how we were going to teach them, and that’s been a big piece and when students aren’t able to meet that we try to give them additional time and support to get there.”


Oklahoma Overview

Missouri Overview

Kansas Overview