Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"The Nation's Report Card: Economics 2012"

Economic literacy is vital for functioning effectively in today’s society. Both knowledge of economic concepts and ideas and the ability to apply basic economic analysis to solve everyday problems are necessary for an individual to function as a productive member of society—as a worker, a saver, an investor, a consumer, or an active citizen. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) monitors students’ attainment of these skills and knowledge with its twelfth-grade economics assessment.

First administered in 2006, the NAEP economics assessment measures twelfth-graders’ understanding of a wide range of topics in three main content areas: market economy, national economy, and international economy. This report, "The Nation's Report Card: Economics 2012," provides results of the economics assessment in 2012 based on a nationally representative sample of nearly 11,000 twelfth-graders. Results from 2012 are compared with those from 2006 to investigate whether our nation’s high school seniors are becoming increasingly literate in economics.

Economics scores increased for some lower performing student groups, even though the overall average score for twelfth-graders did not change significantly. Compared to 2006:

• Hispanic students scored higher, and a larger percentage performed at or above Basic.
• Students with parents who did not finish high school scored higher.
• Lower performing students made gains.

National results for a representative sample of students at grade 12 are reported as average scale scores and as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Scores are also reported at selected percentiles, showing changes in the performances of lower, middle, and higher performing students. The report includes results for student groups defined by various demographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, and level of parental education), as well as sample assessment questions with examples of student responses. Results from the 2012 assessment are compared to those from 2006. The Technical Notes provide information on NAEP samples and school and student participation rates.

In comparison to 2006, there was no significant change in the overall average score for twelfth-graders. Lower performing students (those at the 10th and 25th percentiles), however, did make gains, as did Hispanic students and students with parents who did not finish high school. There were no significant changes in the score gaps of White-Black, White-Hispanic, and White-Asian/Pacific Islander students from 2006 to 2012. In addition, there was no change in the score gap between male and female students. The percentage of twelfth-grade students performing at or above the Proficient level in 2012 was 42 percent.

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