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National assessment results reflect ineffectiveness of US education reform policies, professor says

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

LAWRENCE — Results of the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress were released Tuesday, showing American fourth- and eighth-graders made little to no gains in reading and math since the last round of assessments in 2015. Among the results, students at the country’s lowest-performing schools scored worse than they did in the previous assessments, while those at the highest-scoring institutions showed increases.

Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss the assessments, results and what they mean. He can discuss the outcomes, the gap between low- and high-achieving schools, assessment, the educational “achievement gap,” what the results mean for American education, comparison to other countries’ schools and related topics.

“The results are disappointing but not surprising. They add to the evidence that the reform policies America has been pursuing are wrongly headed and unlikely to address the challenges the nation faces,” Zhao said.

Zhao is an internationally recognized education scholar who has conducted research on education policy, methods and outcomes. He has authored more than 20 books, including “Reach For Greatness: Personalizable Education for All,” “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World” and “Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization” as well as more than 100 journal articles, including pieces that explore the side effects of educational practices as well as arguing that the “achievement gap” cannot be closed, and instead efforts should be placed on helping each student reach his or her full potential.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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