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U.S. schools are failing... and getting worse

sad college grad
David Kam | Getty Images

Despite parents spending more and more money on their kid's education, the latest results of the Nation's Report Card show most high school seniors aren't college or career ready. About 32,000 12th grade students participated in the 2015 study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress to assess the nation's progress in mathematics and reading. The results were not good. The 2015 national average score in math was 152 on a 0-300 scale, and that was lower compared than the average score in 2013. The score in reading barely moved.

In 2015, only about 37% of those 12th graders performed at or above the proficient achievement level in reading. In math, 25% of those students performed at or above the proficient level. Also, there was no significant change from 2013 in the average math score for any racial or ethnic group.

Among the key findings, the percentages of students performing at or above proficient varied by student group. The scores for lower achieving students, those in the 10th and 25th percentiles, were lower in 2015 compared to 2013. But the scores did not fall for higher achieving students, those in the 75th and 90th percentile, compared to 2013.

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Measuring achievement levels, the percentage of 12th grade students performing at or above proficient was not significantly different in 2015 compared with 2013. In math, 25% of students were at or above the proficient achievement level, compared with 26% in 2013. In reading, 37% were at the proficient level, slightly below 38% in 2013.

Meanwhile, the percentage of students performing below the basic level of achievement was higher compared with 2013. About 38% of students were below the basic level in math, up from 35% in 2013. Reading also lagged, 28% of students were below the basic achievement level, up from 25% in 2013.

So, how college ready are America's students? NAEP estimates just 37% of students have the math and reading skills to make them ready for college. And the higher achievers are doing better while the lower achievers are doing worse.