4th and 8th Graders' Math and Reading Scores Rising, but so are Teen Births
The nation's fourth and eighth graders scored higher in reading and math than they did during their last national assessment according to annual report, but not all findings were positive.
Akinso: The nation's fourth and eighth graders scored higher in reading and mathematics than they did during their last national assessment.
Alexander: This year, the things that are getting better included, first of all, reading and math scores for children in this country in the 4th grade and again in the 8th grade.
Akinso: Dr. Duane Alexander is the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Alexander: This is particularly exciting finding because it suggest that we are effectively translating some of our research findings and how better to teach reading and math skills to children into practice in the schools.
Akinso: Not all of the findings were positive. This year's federal report also saw an increase in teenage births. The birth rate among adolescent girls ages 15 to 17 increased, from 21 live births for every 1,000 girls in 2005, to 22 per 1,000 in 2006.
Dr. Alexander explains some of the risks and possible complications associated with teenage births.
Alexander: Teens having babies disadvantage both themselves and their infant. They're more likely to drop out of high school and never complete it, have difficulty getting jobs in the future, and live a life in poverty. And their children are less likely to do well. Their kids are more likely to be born prematurely and have these things that are associated with that.
Akinso: Dr. Alexander says another trend shown on the report was an increase in low birthweight infants.
Alexander: That's gone up again this year from 8.2 percent of all births to 8.3 percent. We don't know quite why this is happening.Akinso: Although not all the reasons for the increase are known, Dr. Alexander says infertility therapies, delayed childbearing and an increase in multiple births may be contributing factors. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. For more information, visit www.childstats.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Duane Alexander
Topic: low birthweight infants, Teen Births,
Math, and Reading, Teens, Kids