Giving Compass' Take:

• The Hechinger Report discusses the results of a recent education test that shows growing achievement gaps in schools, along with stagnant progress in math and reading (with a few exceptions).

• What are nonprofit initiatives doing to close the alarming disparity in performances? And which states seem to be in the most dire shape? New Mexico and Louisiana are near the bottom of average test scores in fourth-grade math.

• Here's how personalized learning can lead to more education equality.

The average performance of the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders mostly held steady in math and reading from 2015 to 2017, now marking a decade of stalled educational progress, according to the results of a test released recently. The one exception was eighth-grade reading, with the average score rising by one point between 2015 and 2017.

Since the biennial test, called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP, was first administered in the early 1990s, student achievement, particularly in math, steadily improved until the late 2000s, then flatlined. Reading scores also stagnated. In 2015, scores dipped in math among both fourth- and eighth-graders, and these math scores did not bounce back with the 2017 test. Average students’ scores remain well below what test overseers consider to be “proficient” for each grade level. In reading, 37 percent of fourth-graders and 36 percent of eighth-graders were proficient. In math, 40 percent of fourth-graders and 33 percent of eighth-graders hit this threshold.

Test administrators do not provide explanations for student performance, but scholars and policymakers have been arguing over the root causes of stagnation for years. Some blame the 2008 recession and the resulting drop in public funding for schools and increase in poverty among students.

Read the full article about national test scores and stagnation by Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report.